Our coverage of the NFL continues with a look at the new addition to the NFC Champions, Jimmy Graham. How important will Graham be for the Seahawks this season?
I’ll start with this: the addition of Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks should give every Hawks fan tingles in their nether regions. In this new era of Seattle football, the one where they haven’t sucked, the Hawks have never had as tall and dominating offensive TE/WR such as Graham. This should open up the playbook for the Hawks and Russell Wilson in ways they’ve never imagined before. In short (or tall) offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, better not screw this up. Let’s take a look at what Graham brings to the Hawks and how his game might change as compared to his previous time with the New Orleans Saints.
Play Action Will Be Better in Seattle vs. New Orleans
Much has been made about the blocking ability of Jimmy Graham, and apparently he has been working on it over the offseason and during training camp. But being able to run block isn’t the only factor, Graham just needs to hold his position before breaking into a route in play action. The Seahawks running game is a damn force to be reckoned with, especially when Russell Wilson is running the triple-option. If LB’s cheat towards the run in play action, Jimmy Graham will make them pay with the minimum of openings. Seattle did this last year with Zach Miller, Luke Willson, and Anthony McCoy. Only Willson has a similar frame to Graham and he had some huge plays down the stretch out of play action.
The Scramble Drill
What’s great about this is the Seahawks almost use the scramble drill as a planned offensive weapon. In recent interviews, Graham expresses his excitement over this fact, as in New Orleans he knew if the ball wasn’t coming to him within 3 steps it wasn’t coming at all. With Russell Wilson being the best in the league at scrambling, Graham said it best, stating that he will be the, “biggest thing on the field,” and he should see lots of targets.
High Pointing a Throw
Forty of 50 of Jimmy Graham’s TD’s have been in the red zone. You don’t have to do much video research to find those were mostly jump balls to the prior basketball player. Russell Wilson is good at high pointing a throw and should be able to adjust to throwing a bit higher in the red zone. I guarantee you this; if Graham was on Seattle’s roster last year the Super Bowl doesn’t end on a fucking quick slant.
The Saints' Playbook Considered Graham “Open” When He Faced Single Coverage. Period
I’ve read that every team has a game plan to handle a tall, athletic, pass catching TE. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. When you have a serious problem on defense is when you can put two on the field at the same time. Think of the New England Patriots when they had Hernandez and Gronk on the field at the same time. Matchup issues all over the place… and they didn’t have a Marshawn Lynch in the backfield to keep you honest. Luke Willson should be thanking the Seahawks for making him the number 2TE behind Graham, because he is going to have some great looks throughout the season in 2TE and 3TE sets.
Graham Knows His Role
I’ll finish with a quote from Graham himself after August 3rd’s training camp practice. Said Graham, "Right now it's pretty early. I'm not giving any secrets right here, obviously. Third and 10 is when I'm going to make my money and that's when I'm going to have to be special for this team. Down there in the red zone. That's just what I've always done. I'm doing the most down there. There's a lot of matchup problems and with Marshawn in the backfield and their safeties play too flat and I just see a ton of opportunities there."
Should be damn fun to watch if you are a Seahawks fan and if you place your NFL picks on this team…