In our latest Seahawks mailbag are questions about Darrell Bevell, Jimmy Graham and the receiver and tight end positions.
Time to start, uh, tackling some of the questions for our latest Seahawks mailbag (I asked for questions earlier this week via Twitter at @bcondotta and I’m happy to take more).
Q: @SeaTonez84 asked: Is it possible (Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell) Bevell may be on the hot seat, or is Pete (Carroll) sticking with him for the long run?
A: There is no hot seat for Bevell — or, certainly no more than there ever is for any coach — and Carroll is definitely sticking with him for the long run. While I’m sure this is a question in reference to the final play call, recall that it’s Carroll who has taken the full responsibility for calling for a pass there. Carroll also knows that Bevell has overseen a Seattle offense that, for all the apparent consternation out there about it, has ranked among the best in franchise history the last few seasons — each of the last three seasons rank among the top seven in points scored in Seahawks history. When it comes to evaluating his coaches, Carroll is a loyal and big-picture guy. One play won’t change that.
Q: @jrg6887 asked: How much of #88’s (Jimmy Graham’s) capabilities/packages (will the Seahawks) withhold (in the) preseason given we have a severe O-line v d-line mismatch v STL week 1?
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A: That’s an interesting assessment of week one that I’d doubt Tom Cable agrees with, though there is no question that the Seahawks have had their issues with the Rams up front the last few years. As for Graham, I’m sure the Seahawks will keep some things under wraps in the preseason, but I doubt it’ll be solely for the Rams but just because there’s no point in showing the world everything in the preseason. That said, there’s a pretty lengthy history of how Graham has been used previously and there are only so many different plays and schemes out there. Graham’s valuable because he’s such a tough mismatch even if the other team knows what it is coming. Ultimately, it won’t really be about scheme that will make Graham successful in Seattle, but Graham just winning a lot of one-on-one matchups (though I will grant that there will obviously need to be some emphasis on scheming well enough to make sure he gets enough of those opportunities).
Q: @Rice8181 asks: What will the receiver and tight end depth charts look line in week one? Please include (Paul ) Richardson. Will Chris Matthews push down Jermaine Kearse to a third spot?
A: If you go with just two receivers, then I’d still go with Doug Baldwin and Kearse being the two starters for the opening game. They are the two most experienced and proven receivers on the team and also excel at a really underrated aspect of the game that is hugely important to the coaches — blocking. That’s one reason you rarely saw those two come off the field last season. Teams obviously often run three-receiver sets. And if what we saw in OTAs and mini-caps is any indication, then the starting 3-WR sets would well include Baldwin, Kearse and Matthews. Tyler Lockett projects as Baldwin’s backup, with the other spots sort of a jumble at the moment. But as of now, I’d go with Kevin Norwood and Ricardo Lockette as the other backups. As you note, Richardson could well being the year on the PUP list. If he’s healthy by opening day, I’d put him on the second unit. As for the Kearse and Matthews, there’s no question that what Matthews did in the Super Bowl creates a lot of excitement going forward. But Kearse is one of the team’s most versatile receivers and as noted, also excels at blocking. For now, I think he holds on to a role as being more of an every down receiver.
As for tight ends, Graham and Luke Willson project as the starter and primary backup. Cooper Helfet, Anthony McCoy and RaShaun Allen are battling for the other spots. As of now, I’d put them in that order. But the Helfet/McCoy battle for the third spot looms as really intriguing. A key for McCoy will be showing he is healthy after missing the last two seasons with Achilles injuries. McCoy looked good in OTAs and mini-camp.