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  1. #1
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    Broncos' Graham a building block

    Here's a good read on Graham from the Post. I do wonder how many passes will be thrown his way and how many fans will complain if he doesn't put up 60+ receptions this year.
    http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_6744537

    Broncos' Graham a building block

    Receiver role overlooked in tight end's production
    By Mike Klis

    So this is why the New England Patriots stopped throwing the ball to Daniel Graham.

    Now that his first preseason with the Broncos is finished, Colorado's football fans have a better understanding why Graham's pass-catching totals shrunk in recent years.

    The man is too good a blocker, cursed by his own versatility.

    "Any tight end wants the ball," Graham said. "But I've always felt that because of my blocking abilities, it's had an effect on me in the passing game. Plus, I've always been a player who will do what they ask me to do."

    The preseason stats say Graham had two catches in three games. Both were for first downs that led to scores. The first was a beauty - a body- twisting correction on a tipped pass for a 21-yard gain against the Dallas Cowboys. The second was an 11-yard catch in traffic during the Broncos' successful two-minute drive against the Cleveland Browns.
    "He's definitely not just a run blocker," said Nate Jackson, one of the Broncos' backup tight ends. "He's got soft hands, he's deceptively fast and he runs good routes. He's a really good athlete."

    There is another stat, though, that isn't made available to the public. Blocking stats. The Broncos' coaching staff keeps close track of blocks, and not just in games. Since training camp opened a month ago, the Broncos estimate Graham has missed one block.

    That's one missed assignment through two-a-day practices and three preseason games, all of which are filmed and dissected by the coaching staff. That one missed block?

    "I don't remember it," Graham said.

    Supposedly, it was during a practice against the Cowboys two weeks ago in Irving, Texas. No doubt, the Cowboys blitzed. With Graham putting the strong in the strong side of the offensive line, the Broncos' first-string offense rushed for 43 yards on six carries against San Francisco and 66 yards on 15 carries while using backup tailbacks against Cleveland.

    As a starter, Graham won't play in the Broncos' final preseason game, Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals at Invesco Field at Mile High, so to sum up his first preseason in Denver, he has had two catches and one lousy missed block.

    Maybe if he pulled a Shannon Sharpe and slacked up on his blocking, Graham might get more catches.

    "I won't do that," Graham said. "Blocking's part of my game."

    Colorado football fans remember a not-so- distant time when pass catching was a more prominent part of Graham's game. In fact, as a senior at the University of the Colorado, Graham was the top receiving tight end in the nation.

    Numero uno. The best.

    He led the country with 753 receiving yards and six touchdown catches, and his 51 receptions finished second. He came out of college running the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and earned the John Mackey Award.

    John Mackey was a tight end who caught passes. After the Patriots selected Graham in the first round of the 2002 draft, they threw him the ball for a few years. Then they fell in love with watching him knock those supposedly ferocious pass-rushing defensive ends and outside linebackers on their keisters.

    Next thing fantasy football players knew, Graham disappeared into the Patriots' underappreciated group of Super Bowl champion players. If the Patriots needed a tight end to run a route, they could always send out Ben Watson.

    "The more glamorous tight end guys are those who catch the ball and score a lot of touchdowns," said Tom Mills, Graham's agent. "And Dan has done that, maybe not as much as some other guys, but he hasn't complained about that. He's so proficient as a blocker that on some of the more obvious passing situations, instead of going out on patterns, he was back there taking on defensive ends. He's always had a meaningful role in the passing game, but sometimes he's been acting like an offensive tackle as opposed to a receiving threat."

    When Graham became a free agent in March, though, the Broncos did not give him a tight end-record contract with the idea of getting a one-dimensional player in return. For starters, the Broncos will get some of that $15 million guaranteed money back in sheer number of plays. On offense, the Broncos figure to have just seven players participate in every down - quarterback Jay Cutler, the five offensive linemen and Graham, their two-way tight end.

    Travis Henry will need the occasional blow at running back. There are short-yardage packages that will send wide receivers Javon Walker and Brandon Marshall to the sidelines.

    But regardless of whether it's third-and-1 or third-and-15, or the play calls for a pass or run, the Broncos will want Graham to be part of it.

    "A guy like that you don't want to take off the field," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "The only reason he didn't catch much in New England is they have a guy in Watson who's a freak of nature."

    Graham didn't catch many passes in his first preseason with the Broncos, either, but that doesn't mean he won't set a career high with 40 receptions during the regular season. All it means is the Broncos found out for themselves why New England became enamored with keeping him in to block.
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  2. #2
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    I've also read this post in the Denver Post (BTW thanks for sharing Jav)...

    yeah... I think Graham is a good acquisition... He is an awesome blocker (Jay or Travis won't denied) and he does know how to catch the ball... IMO he is a complete TE... I think Shanahan will use him not only as a blocker (though he will block a lot)... But don't expect him to have Sharpe's numbers...

    And I like the guy's spirit: he's dedicated to his team... Welcome to Broncoland Daniel!
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  3. #3
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    Awesome! I was wondering about some actual stats on Graham's blocking. Wonder if his Patriot #'s are available somewhere? If you listen to the casual ramblings of commentators during the games, you get the feeling thier talking out their...I mean...not backing up thier assumptions with stats... Thanks for the read (again) Jav.
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  4. #4
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    I love how he said "Plus, I've always been a player who will do what they ask me to do."
    This shows that he's not a greedy player.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javalon View Post
    Here's a good read on Graham from the Post. I do wonder how many passes will be thrown his way and how many fans will complain if he doesn't put up 60+ receptions this year.
    I will consider any catches he gets a bonus. For me, I am hoping to see him help upgrade our run and pass blocking. Help keep those rushing ends from getting to Jay before he has time to get the ball out. Help create holes for Henry.

    If he adds 30, 40, 70, whatever catches, well that's a bonus in my mind.
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  6. #6
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    If you go back and watch last years playoff game between the Chargers and New England, you will see that Graham in the reason Merriman was never around in that game. I have heard that as a conspiracy theory as to why we brought him in, and it isn't a bad one. If you watch in the preseason games, he did kill some blitzes. I can't say it was all him, but it seemed that our o-line really held up well. I will give Graham some of the credit for that since we don't have all of our starters and that has been a worry.

  7. #7
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    Dan Graham with no doubt, is a devastating blocker for a TE. I do believe though that he gets short changed. This guy can catch and is highly athletic, even though you did'nt see it much in NE. I look back at the catch he had against ATL a couple of years back when he took it to the house for a 45 yard touchdown, ending the day with 119 yards on 5 receptions. This was typical DG form when he was up in Boulder (just ask Nebraska fans), kudos to the Broncos for ante-ing up and bringing home a guy that has "dominated" at every level he has been at!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhns View Post
    If you go back and watch last years playoff game between the Chargers and New England, you will see that Graham in the reason Merriman was never around in that game. I have heard that as a conspiracy theory as to why we brought him in, and it isn't a bad one. If you watch in the preseason games, he did kill some blitzes. I can't say it was all him, but it seemed that our o-line really held up well. I will give Graham some of the credit for that since we don't have all of our starters and that has been a worry.
    I don't think it's a conspiracy; it's smart! You strengthen your own team while weakening another AFC contender. Nothing wrong with that!

    I just hope Graham doesn't get frustrated if he came here thinking he'd be receiving a lot more but then still gets used the same as in New England. I believe blocking tight ends are quite undervalued in todays stats-driven league. Graham should be an awesome pick-up just for his blocking and his ability to receive is gravy.

    Now let's just get our O-line healthy and develop our blocking chemistry again...
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  9. #9
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    I posted this same article but cant seem to find it....

    And I posted it early this morning hmmmmmmmmmmmm....
    http://forums.denverbroncos.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=31018&dateline=138207  1129

  10. #10
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    thanks for article
    BACK TO THE SUPERBOWL

  11. #11
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    How did mine just disappear?
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 24SuperChamp View Post
    How did mine just disappear?
    Yours was a duplicate so it was deleted. The one posted first is usually kept.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javalon View Post
    Yours was a duplicate so it was deleted. The one posted first is usually kept.
    Oh ok. I posted it this morning at like 8 AM.

    I checked for it and didn't see it.....
    http://forums.denverbroncos.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=31018&dateline=138207  1129

  14. #14
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    i, too, think he's a complete TE. people sometimes confuse best TE for the one who can catch the most touchdowns. i'd rather have graham than most pass catching TEs in the league who let average linebackers and ends blitz on them, or aren't even factored into the blocking scheme and have to act as a decoy every play.

    graham and scheffler = perfect combo, and possibly the best in the league
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javalon View Post
    I don't think it's a conspiracy; it's smart! You strengthen your own team while weakening another AFC contender. Nothing wrong with that!

    I just hope Graham doesn't get frustrated if he came here thinking he'd be receiving a lot more but then still gets used the same as in New England. I believe blocking tight ends are quite undervalued in todays stats-driven league. Graham should be an awesome pick-up just for his blocking and his ability to receive is gravy.

    Now let's just get our O-line healthy and develop our blocking chemistry again...
    Anyway he has a better contract than he had with the Pats... That means something...

    I think Shanahan will try to give hom the ball a bit but I'm sure Graham knows that he has to block... He's a heck of a blocker and we could use his soft hands in some situations...
    BTW, as Henry is not a real receiving RB, is it possible that Shanny would involve more his 2 TE's in the passing game?
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