Jimmy Graham weighs in on female referees and Kenny Vaccaro's aggressive style
Metairie, La. - The Saints' seventh practice of training camp was moved indoors and closed to the public but featured one subject which drew lots of attention.
The following is Jimmy Graham's media session afterward, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
Sarah Thomas and the other female official are out here today. From a player's perspective, what do you think of something like that? There is obviously a large amount of media covering this?
"The only difference today for us was all of the cameras. Usually there aren't this many cameras, but for us there is no difference. All I know is she is wearing black and white and she's got a hat and a whistle so I have to be real nice to her. I can't tell at all (in terms of how she does her job as opposed to a male official) and she is very helpful at explaining calls and giving us examples. For me, it was no different. "
Are you confident that something will get worked out with possibly extending your contract before the season starts or are you not really dwelling on that?
"I haven't really thought about it. I'm in day seven of camp and I'm just trying to stay alive here, but for me contract wise, I haven't really paid any attention to it. (I'm) just trying to focus on that first game against Atlanta and making sure that I take care of my body and I'm ready to go."
What have you noticed about the approach on offense? How has that shifted a little bit towards having a more of an effective running game? What other things have you noticed so far?
"Well like you said, run game (is an emphasis). Even in meetings just the explanation of what we're doing, how we're doing it, the explanation of different checks that we're doing is more in depth and out here every day, nine on seven has been pretty aggressive. So definitely focusing on the run game and I think having Drew (Brees) here this whole offseason helped out a lot as far as our passing game. Unlike last year, that's when (training camp) we were trying to iron out some of the things and now to have him here this whole offseason, I feel like we're ahead of where we were."
Speaking of the run game, has Benjamin Watson given you an pointers because he is noted as an outstanding run blocker? Just talk about being the complete tight end especially in the running game.
"Ben Watson is a beast. He looks like he is 19 years old and he's definitely helped me as far as telling me to stay low. One of my bigger issues is I'm so tall, but I'm going to do anything that this team asks me to do. If they want me to go out there and run block and hit someone off of the ball that's what I'm going to do. It doesn't matter as long as it's going to help us win. I've been working on that this whole offseason as always and I'll be ready for my turn."
What is your view on Kenny Vaccaro?
"He's a good player. He's aggressive which is good at the safety position. He's been doing very well and been showing what he has and I'm excited to see his progress. I'm excited to see him in a game."
You're okay with the aggressiveness out here?
"Yes, just as long as he's not aggressive with me, we'll be fine (laughter). "