Around the NFL  

 

Rodgers enjoyed connecting with Graham on 8-yard TD

Print

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said earlier in the week that he is developing rapport with tight end Jimmy Graham.

Six plays into the Packers' first offensive possession Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the duo showcased the budding chemistry when Rodgers found Graham on an 8-yard scoring strike at the 11:58 mark of the first quarter.

"Jimmy ran a nice route and he's a big target," Rodgers told reporters after the game, via the Packers' official website. "So, it was fun to get that."

The 6-foot-7, 265-pound Graham provides Rodgers an imposing target and matchup problems for defenses, especially in the red zone.

But Rodgers quickly pointed out there is more to Graham than just his ability to be a threat when the Packers get close to the end zone.

"Well, he can do it all over the field," Rodgers told reporters after the game, via the team's website. "I don't think he was used a ton the past couple of years as much in the middle of the field, but he's an incredible athlete. He's got a wide, wide catch radius and there's a lot of things he can do. So, it's exciting to be able to have a guy like that."

Graham, who joined the Packers on a three-year, $30 million deal in March, wasn't the focal point of the Seattle Seahawks' passing game over the past three seasons, totaling 170 catches for 2,048 yards and 18 touchdowns.

The production represented a stark contrast to Graham's five seasons with the New Orleans Saints, where he amassed 4,752 yards and 51 touchdowns on 386 catches.

Rodgers completed 2 of 4 passes for 35 yards and a touchdown on seven snaps in Thursday night's 51-34 win over the Steelers, while Graham played just 11 snaps, recording just the touchdown grab.

And on a night when the other Packers tight ends enjoyed a solid outing, Thursday provided a wake-up call to defenses that Graham could very well return to elite production with Rodgers, who returns from last season's broken collarbone.

"We tried to feature Jimmy there a little bit with a couple calls," coach Mike McCarthy told reporters during his postgame press conference, via the Packers website. "I was pleased with (Rodgers') time on the field."

Print