Scott Cordischi On Sports: Gronk of Graham?
Thursday, August 09, 2012
For all of the hype surrounding the quarterback duo of Tom Brady and Drew Brees in Foxboro this week, not enough attention was paid to a pair of other top-notch players at a certain position.
While Brady and Brees represent two of the absolute best signal-callers the NFL has to offer, so too does Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham at the tight end position.
Unfortunately for that duo, playing tight end isn’t nearly as glamorous as playing quarterback in the NFL, although these two guys are certainly doing their best to command the attention of anyone and everyone who follows football.
Both men look as if they were taken from central casting. Each stands 6’-6” in height. Each weighs in the neighborhood of 265 pounds and neither appear to have even an ounce of body fat on their young frames.
Gronkowski is 23 years old and was a second round draft pick by the Patriots out of Arizona in 2010. Graham is 25 and was selected by New Orleand in the third round of that same 2010 draft out of the University of Miami.
Both were Pro-Bowlers last season putting up un-Godly numbers. Gronk caught 90 passed for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns. Those last two numbers set new records for tight ends in the league.
Graham, like Gronk, also put up absurd numbers grabbing 99 passes for 1,310 yards and 11 TD’s.
To say that these two are favorite targets for their respective future Hall of Fame quarterbacks would be an understatement. And their NFL careers are only beginning.
While Gronkowski seems to attract the spotlight a bit more than his Saints’ counterpart, the similarities between the two are striking. And both may very well be revolutionizing the tight end position that they play.
-While most of the fan attention has been on the offense in Foxboro this week, there have been some defensive players who have had their moments. Pats’ safety Patrick Chung and rookie defensive end Chandler Jones are each having strong camps for a defensive unit that has a lot of improving to do.
-Let’s see, Jon Lester lost Tuesday night and Josh Beckett got lit up by Texas on Wednesday. This has pretty much been the pattern all year long for the Red Sox. And this is somehow supposed to be Bobby Valentine’s fault?
-Speaking of the Sox, it’s a good thing that we have the summer Olympics to entertain us. It’s a nice bridge to the start of the football season and allows us all to avoid the torture that is watching the 2012 Boston Red Sox play games.
-Considering his age (36) and the length of time it is taking him to recover from his heel injury, you can understand why the Red Sox are taking it year by year with Big Papi.
-I’ll miss seeing Michael Phelps competing in the Olympics.
-He hasn’t won a major since 2008 going 0-for-13 since, but you have to wonder if Tiger Woods can break that streak this weekend at the PGA Championship in Kiawah Island, South Carolina?
-I’d hate to be Bill Belichick and have to decide which wide receivers to keep and which to cut. Some think that Brady-favorite Deion Branch could be on the outside looking in.
-There was quite a loud ovation at Fenway Park Tuesday night when they showed the results of the women’s gymnastics floor exercise at the Olympics where Needham’s Aly Raisman captured the gold. Moments later, however, those cheers turned to loud boos when they displayed the medal count for the summer games on the widescreen at Fenway which showed China leading the United States by three.
-If you’re looking for a good laugh, google or youtube “call me maybe Harvard baseball team.” The Crimson nine did a funny choreographed spoof on the #1 song in the country “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen.
-The Boston Globe and Sports Hub’s Tony Massarotti had a great stat the other day which emphasizes how consistently mediocre the 2012 Boston Red Sox have been. It goes like this: if you look at the team’s first 110 games this season and break it up into five equal 22-game segments, you will find that the Red Sox went 11-11 in each of the five 22-game segments. That means they were 11-11, 22-22, 33-33, 44-44 and 55-55 this season. So what would make anyone think that they are capable of playing .700 baseball down the stretch to get into the postseason?
-Kudos to Texas Rangers’ closer Joe Nathan who signed autographs for every last fan seeking one by the Texas dugout Tuesday night at Fenway. That included my 8-year old son Jack who had his “Rangers” hat from his little league team on.
-Good luck to good guy Scott Zolak as he embarks on his new career as Patriots radio color analyst along side Gil Santos. I have no doubt that he will do a great job!
-Until the NFL can get the real refs back on the field, don’t expect to see a lot of Tom Brady and other star quarterbacks on the field this preseason.
-But if you are a Pats fan wondering what to keep an eye on during these four preseason games, here’s a quick check list: offensive line, wide receiver, running back and rookies Chandler Jones and Don’t’a Hightower on defense.
-Kudos to Olympic medalist Elizabeth Beisel who received a well-deserved hero’s welcome in North Kingstown Wednesday upon her return from London. Hundreds of people showed up to show their appreciation for the swimming star.
-You read it here first a few weeks ago that the Colonial Athletic Association was putting pressure on the University of Rhode Island to remain in the conference as a football member and the university is apparently considering the possibility. However, given the reality of the commitment to the program by the school, they would be wise to continue with their current plan to join the Northeast Conference in football beginning next fall.
-There’s a new book out entitled “Spygate – The Untold Story” authored by Bryan O’Leary which is a counter narrative to the NFL’s stance that Bill Belichick’s practice of filming opponents sidelines did not affect the outcome of any games the Patriots played last decade. It is sure to add fuel to the fire of those who either dislike or are jealous of New England’s gridiron success since 2001.
-If you’re looking for a couple of “stay-cation” things to do with your kids before they go back to school, you may want to do what I did last week. Take them to Water Country in Portsmouth, NH and Canobie Lake Park in Salem, NH. I bet your kids will have as good of a time as mine did and that you’ll enjoy it too. I certainly did!