Seahawks: Have patience with Jimmy Graham’s production


Jimmy Graham’s isn’t putting up stats the way many fans expected him to. Right now, patience needs to win out over that frustration.

The Seattle Seahawks don’t know how to use Jimmy Graham? That’s the narrative; it is also incorrect. This is a misnomer created by his fantasy football scoring that doesn’t take into account a host of other factors.

Seattle’s offense isn’t the same as New Orleans’ offense. The Seahawks don’t throw the ball on 80% of their plays. Of course his numbers aren’t going to be the same. What is important is how he does within the context of Seattle’s offense.

Even using that angle isn’t indicative of how Graham is doing right now. Dan said earlier today that it is time for the Seahawks to trade Graham. I believe that after his catastrophic injury last season, we need to have patience with Jimmy Graham right now.

1. He’s still getting up to speed

Fans don’t want to admit it, but it is a miracle that Graham is even playing. The patellar tendon injury he suffered can take years to recover from. (Just ask New York’s Victor Cruz.)

Graham’s first snaps of the year didn’t come until Week 1. He missed the entire preseason, and all of the reps necessary to get in rhythm with Russell Wilson.

The Seahawks have been wise to bring him along slowly. The don’t want to risk rushing him back and losing him to injury again. Graham’s role, and his statistical production, will expand as the season progresses.

2. The team is only now trying to integrate him into the offense

Without training camp, there was no time to build part of the offense around Graham. They had to work with the pieces who there at practice. It will take time for the team to install their full array of  plans for Graham.

Some of those plans are already evident, even if they don’t show up on the stat sheet. Graham is getting open. Now he just needs the offensive line to hold up, and for Wilson to actually look his way.

Some of Seattle’s plans for Graham will have to wait until Nick Vannett is healthy. Seattle’s run-first approach requires having a TE lined up in-line on many plays. Graham may be a crappy blocker, but he’s all the team has at the moment. (Luke Willson is just as bad as a blocker.)

Once Vannett returns, he’ll take over the in-line blocking responsibilities and Graham will move outside where he belongs. Only then will we finally see what the Seahawks have in store for Graham this season.

3. He’s already been productive

Graham’s numbers from last Sunday’s game are rather unimpressive: 3 catches for 38 yards. That isn’t going to win many fantasy football match-ups, but examine it in the context of Seattle’s offense.

Graham was 2nd on the team in both receptions and yards. Yes, you read that right. Only Tyler Lockett had more, and he only 4 catches.

That is right about where the Seahawks want to their big TE to be. This is a team that needs those big plays to Lockett on the outside. Having Graham right behind him in receptions is a good distribution of opportunities.

The problem was that the rest of the offense was a complete mess. Rawls ran for -7 yards. The line couldn’t block anyone. Penalties were a major problem as well.

Almost every drive ended in a punt before it could get going. There just weren’t enough touches to go around for Graham’s presence to be felt in a big way.

Next: Counterpoint: Use Graham, or trade him

Overall, we just need to be patient with Graham. Before his injury last season he was becoming an a vital and productive cog in Seattle’s offensive machine. That will happen again this season once he’s been given a chance to get to speed with the rest of the team.