Seattle Seahawks tape study: Jimmy Graham active, just needs the ball more


One of the big criticisms os the Seattle Seahawks offense from last Sunday was that they didn’t get tight end Jimmy Graham involved enough. It it almost impossible to tell if that is true from the broadcast angle. The all-22 angle disagrees with that criticism.

Graham may not have gotten the ball early in the game, but it wasn’t for lack of trying by the Seahawks. The Rams simply just did a good job of taking him away with a combination of double teams and pressure on quarterback Russell Wilson.

Going through the tape, this first thing I noticed was that the Rams clearly focussed on taking away Graham as much as possible. On one play, the Rams were in zone, and Graham’s route in the seem occupied all three linebackers and drew the attention of one of the safeties.

The result was that Fred Jackson was left wide open underneath. Wilson also had Tyler Lockett open down the sideline, but that passing window was going to be very small since the safety was driving on the route.

He is another example. The cornerback responsible for covering Lockett’s out-route dropped off to help on Graham. The result was an easy completing to Lockett.

Pressure on Wilson was also a major factor in preventing Graham from making a major impact in this game. There were many cases where Graham was open and should have gotten the ball, but Wilson had no chance to throw it in his direction.

Perhaps the best example is this next play. Graham was wide opinion a post route, but Wilson wasn’t able to set his feet for the long throw.

Instead of trying to throw the ball back across his body while sprinting to avoid pass rushers, Wilson took the easier pass to Baldwin for the short gain.

Pressure on Wilson was a major theme in this game. Just take a look at this next play.

Kearse is uncovered on a post route for a big gain if Wilson can get him the ball. Graham is covered in this frame, but breaks open under Kearse’s route just after. Lockett, on the far sideline, is also wide open.

This should have been a big play for the Seahawks. The Rams’ secondary was outmatched and Seattle’s route combinations had created confusion. Unfortunately, Seattle’s offensive line is a complete disaster.

Both OTs are beat before they can even move. Justin Britt is also beat on the inside, which prevents Wilson from stepping up to avoid the pressure. Wilson is left to run for his life, and all the open receivers are wasted.

Overall, the tape shows that the Seahawks did a good job of getting Graham involved in the offense. He was active in the passing offense and being used in a way that fits his skill set.

Wilson was right to look elsewhere when Graham was well-covered. There also isn’t any way we can fault Graham for the protection breakdowns of the offensive line.

Once the offensive line gels, Graham is going to break out in a very big way.

Next: Storylines to watch for vs. the Packers

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