Friday, November 1, 2013

Rex: Graham has speed of receiver, size of lineman


Two weeks ago, Rex Ryan had to gameplan for tight end Rob Gronkowski. This week, he's prepping to face Jimmy Graham.

You know, just your typical 1a and 1b, in no particular order.

"Oh man, they’re both outstanding," Ryan said Thursday, via "Gronk is probably a little more physical down the field than Graham. Graham has probably a little more speed than Gronk, but both of them, I’m not saying it’s impossible to cover them, but sometimes it looks like that."

Jets safety Antonio Allen did a more-than-serviceable job covering Gronkowski, the New England Patriots' big man. Gronk did catch eight passes for 114 yards, but he was targeted 17 times and went without a touchdown.

It was Allen, instead, who scored a touchdown while covering Gronkowski, returning an interception on Tom Brady in the third quarter. The play jumpstarted the Jets to a comeback victory.

Graham is taller and faster than Gronk, so the Jets might approach him a little differently when they host the New Orleans Saints' go-to guy Sunday.

That may mean putting their top cover guy, cornerback Antonio Cromartie, on Graham.

"I think size- and skill-wise, yeah, I think [Cromartie] could handle," Ryan said. "But [Graham] is a unique cat now. Graham has the speed of a receiver, the size of an offensive tackle, so it’s a huge challenge for anybody that’s asked to do that."

Graham spent a little time this season nursing a foot injury, but he's amassed 40 catches for 630 yards and eight touchdowns.

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