Seahawks coaches say tight end Jimmy Graham should become a bigger part of the offense now that he is able to play a full game.
Until the day when Jimmy Graham catches passes and scores touchdowns at the same rate he did in New Orleans there will likely be debate about how he is being used in Seattle.
The reality is, given Seattle’s commitment to its run game, Graham may never put up similar numbers to his Saints’ heyday.
But expect Graham to be used more heavily going forward now that he has shown he is healthy, said coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell (a point I also made in a story earlier this week).
Graham played 17 snaps the first week against Miami then got 55 against the Rams Sunday.
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Carroll and Bevell each said that now that they now Graham can handle a full workload he will also become a bigger part of the gameplan.
“Jimmy is going to be a big factor for us,” Carroll said. “He played (55) plays last week, and that means he’s playing a regular amount of football. Now that he’s back in there, we can’t keep him out of the forefront. He’s just that good of a player. The week before, he played 12 (officially 17). So this was a big jump for him, and I think he, as well as the coaches, think it’s back to normal now. He’ll play a lot. He’ll be a big factor that we can count on. Going into that game, we weren’t sure if he’d be able to hold on to it. He did a marvelous job, so we’re ready to go with him.”
Said Bevell: “He went from, what was it, 12 plays to 55 plays or something like that. That was big for us, for us to be able to see him handle all that, handle the stamina. He caught a ball at the end of the first game, then I think he got three this game. He’ll continue to grow with us and be able to get more opportunities.”
And that could mean that in a situation like the Seahawks faced last week — third and goal from the 5 — the play might be designed specifically for Graham.
Seattle’s only foray into the red zone in Sunday’s 9-3 loss to the Rams has elicited its fair share of debate this week as it ended when Russell Wilson threw incomplete to Jermaine Kearse in the left side of the end zone. Graham was in single coverage on the right and many have wondered why Wilson didn’t look in his direction.
Bevell said Wednesday, though, that Wilson “went to the right place on that one.”
Competitive advantage reasons stopped Bevell from going into too much detail on exactly why that was.
But Bevell elaborated that “The way that play was set up, was the right place where he went. … we’re taking a look at what the defense is doing and it gives the quarterbacks some answers. Where (Wilson) went was a really good answer. Does that mean if we have a one-on-one with Jimmy that that’s not something we want to do? No, that’s not the case. But the play that was called, that’s where it dictated to go.”
Bevell also noted that Wilson’s comfort with Graham should grow that he is back on the field full time, as well. Graham suffered a patella tendon injury last Nov. 29 and missed all of the off-season program and did not play in the preseason.
“Yeah, that’s another part of those nuances and learning guys and learning those players,” Bevell said. “With Jimmy missing as much time as he has, the practice reps where he might say, ‘Okay, here’s a time to try that and throw that in there,’ then that’s where you’re able to learn those nuances. In a game, it might not be the exact time that you just want to learn and say, ‘Hey, let me just see if I can get this one to him and if he can catch it.’ Those are all thing that we’re continuing to work with. He will take opportunities, I know he’s very confident with him in there, but we’re also confident with all the other guys we have. We talk so much about Jimmy since we’ve got him, but look at what Doug Baldwin did at the end of last year, Jermaine Kearse has always been a staple, Tyler Lockett you can see how he’s coming on and becoming a big part of us. He had a really nice game until he got banged up, then he came back and made a great play. There’s playmakers all over, and Jimmy can dictate coverage and help out those other guys, those other guys start playing then they dictate coverage and help Jimmy.”