The Seattle Seahawks have yet to use tight end Jimmy Graham to his full potential….so why keep him on the roster?
Jimmy Graham is one physically gifted individual.
6’7″ and 265 pounds of freakish athleticism. He went from racking up over 100 blocked shots and 500 rebounds as a college basketball player, to 386 catches and 51 TD’s during his five seasons in New Orleans.
Then came his trade to Seattle, and what followed hasn’t been what any of us were hoping for. Not enough targets, too many whiffed blocks, one major injury, and a whole heap of unfulfilled promise.
I’ll say it right now, if the Hawks don’t commit to utilizing Graham’s unique skill set on a more consistent basis, then his greatest value to the team would be as a trade chip.
Use him or move him.
Last week’s game at Los Angeles was a glaring example of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s lack of ability, or desire, to use Graham as the chess piece he should be. Instead of moving him outside, putting him motion, using him more in the slot to create mismatches, he once again insisted on having Graham line up in-line. Watching Jimmy Graham trying to block is like….. well I don’t even need to find an appropriate analogy, it’s just dumb.
Graham is the type of offensive weapon most OC’s salivate over. “Just give me one of those to play with...” If you use him more as a glorified receiver, as New Orleans did, you force the defense to adjust. What would the Rams have done if they’d seen Graham split out wide? Try to cover him with a CB? Good luck. Any good OC/QB combo would simply keep throwing to him over and over if that were the case. Cover him with a linebacker? Awesome. Thank you. Now I’ll run the ball, or send Doug Baldwin to that vacated spot. Like taking candy from a baby.
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At times it seems Bevell simply overthinks this. He needs to stop thinking of Graham as a decoy and just recognize him for the living, breathing mismatch that he is. This game turned on first and goal from the 3 yard line. Seattle couldn’t cash in with a TD and had to settle for 3 points. Not one shot to Graham. Know what Sean Payton would have done? Fade to Graham. Defend it? OK….. next play, combo route to Graham.
You get the picture.
Graham is making $9 million this season. That’s a huge chunk of change for a player that doesn’t seem to fit. And in light of how badly the team needs to find an upgrade on it’s offensive line it’s borderline irresponsible.
I wrote this week about how the perfect fix for what ails the Hawks O-line is a trade for Browns left tackle Joe Thomas.
Thomas is making $9.5 million in 2016. See where I’m going with this?
Move Graham to another team and then turn around and use that cap space to make a run at Thomas.
Or…… start using him properly. Now. His knee is fine. Take the training wheels off and tell your quarterback to feed him, heavily.
Pete Carroll says it’s on the verge of happening: “Jimmy is going to be a big factor for us.”
But he said that last year too. It’s time to see it. There’s no better time to start than this week.