For all the issues the Seattle Seahawks still have to work out on offense, the chemistry between their quarterback and top pass-catcher isn't one of them.
It was again evident Friday night in Seattle's 14-13 preseason loss to Kansas City. Jimmy Graham caught all three passes that Russell Wilson threw his way during the two quarters in which the Seahawks' offensive starters played, but one of them stood out.
Lined up in the slot on second-and-18, Graham released up the seam against tight coverage from safety Ron Parker. Graham wasn't open when Wilson delivered a perfectly placed pass toward his back shoulder for a 21-yard gain. Then again, he didn't need to be.
"He's hard to miss, being 6-7 and being able to show up and run as fast as he can," Wilson told reporters.
Call it whatever you'd like -- chemistry, trust, rapport -- but Wilson and Graham certainly seem to have built plenty of it already, the story said. It's good news for those who were worried about Graham switching offenses. It sure looks like he's going to be a key part of the Seattle offense, too, and is of course one of the top TEs in fantasy drafts.
Saturday, August 15, 2015, 9:53pm
It's a good thing for the Seattle Seahawks' offensive line that the games don't start counting for another month. The starting group isn't settled, and Friday night's preseason opener supplemented ample evidence that there's plenty of work to be done before the line is regular-season ready.
The first unit -- featuring Lemuel Jeanpierre at center and Alvin Bailey at left guard -- played two series, the first of which lasted all of two plays as right tackle Justin Britt was beaten by Von Miller for a fumble-causing sack. The Seahawks allowed a sack on their second possession, Russell Wilson had to escape another and Jeanpierre -- the center -- was penalized for a false start.
Wilson was either sacked or pressured on four of his five drop-backs. Each time, the Seahawks had at least one more player in pass protection than Denver had rushing.
Some of those issues are to be expected, not only because it's early but because but of how the Seahawks have been rotating players at center and left guard while trying to determine a winner in the competitions for those spots. It doesn't look like those competitions are close to being settled.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports Seahawks QB Russell Wilson agreed to a four-year, $87.6 million extension, per a source involved in the negotiations. The deal includes a $31 million signing bonus and $60 million in guarantees.
By signing just a four-year extension, Wilson will enter the final year of his deal at just 30 years old, giving him an opportunity for another big payday. The shorter deal was a concession by the Seahawks.
Now that his contract negotiations are behind him, Wilson can once again focus fully on football. He has finished #9, #8 and #3 in his first three seasons, and the Seahawks are slowly letting him throw the ball more. They traded for tight end Jimmy Graham, who will serve as the best weapon that Wilson has had since he entered the NFL.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 9:31am
Per Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune, the Seahawks may begin to groom Gary Gilliam at left tackle as the season progresses, given that Russell Okung is in the last year of his contract. Also, rookie Mark Glowinski eventually could push J.R. Sweezy at right guard.
Regardless of who plays in 2015, they’ll need to play better than they have.
The story pointed out some who could be directly affected by poor line play if it continues, mentioning quarterback Russell Wilson has faced consistent pressure in passing situations, which could make it difficult for the Seahawks to take full advantage of tight end Jimmy Graham. And it could make running back Marshawn Lynch more likely to call it quits following a season of getting banged around by defenders that the offensive line fails to keep away from him.
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 11:15am
Cimini: I'll tell you what I've seen from Bryce Petty: arm talent. His arm is good enough to make all the throws. But, as you know from watching Geno Smith, it takes more than a good arm to be an effective quarterback. We won't know about Petty's intangibles until we see him in game conditions, facing a live pass rush. Some fans might be hoping he pulls a Russell Wilson, a middle-round pick who blows away everyone from day one. The Jets would love to see that happen, but Wilson's advantage was that he already was well-versed in the Seattle Seahawks' offense, having played in a West Coast system in college. That's not the case with Petty, who played in an up-tempo spread at Baylor. There will be a steep learning curve.
During OTAs Graham has reportedly been unstoppable and gives Russell Wilson a pass-catcher he can target even when it appears he's not open.
"Throwing to him is easy," Wilson said last week, via the Seattle Times.
The back-shoulder throws and timing patterns that make him a menace to defensive backs -- especially in the red zone --will take time to coalesce between the 6-foot-7 tight end and quarterback, but Graham said he and Wilson are already ahead of the pace.
"That stuff takes time," Graham said, "but honestly me and Russ have been on kind of this accelerated learning curve. He just gets it up and gives you an opportunity to be great. We'll be keep working on that, and we'll be just fine come the season, because that's a big thing. That's all about the connection, that's all about knowing what each other is going to do and what each other likes."
Graham finished with 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns, but his season was somewhat disappointing, especially down the stretch. He averaged 4.0 catches for 44 yards and 0.2 TD in his final five games, including a weird zero-target goose egg in Week 13 against Pittsburgh. Now he heads to Seattle, where the Seahawks have been looking to upgrade at tight end for a while. Graham's value takes a minor hit as he heads to the run-oriented Seahawks, though he'll continue to be a target hog given the current state of the Seattle receiving corps. His 14.6 PPR fantasy points was second at his position, and he's likely to be the second tight end off the board in 2015 fantasy drafts.
"No. 1, with maybe multiple tight end sets, that's gonna just open it up," Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham told the Seattle Times. "These last couple of years for me, playing against guys who aren't concerned about the run at all. They know I will try to do a double move and run this go route. It makes it more difficult. So this will just make my job easier when it comes to the passing game."
Graham's height and downfield ability have made him a feared weapon, but now paired with Russell Wilson, the tight end foresees a new dynamic in his game, which could lead to increased production.
"Russ’s ability to extend a play is unbelievable. Out there in New Orleans, everything was about timing so when you hit that step, that ball is coming ... And now when you hit a step and look back, maybe he saw something and now he’s scrambling so there’s a second opportunity.
"This offense and this team is dangerous on those second opportunities. When he gets out of the pocket and he’s able to work and kind of play street ball, which I’ve always been pretty good at, the offense is extremely explosive.”
Graham finished with 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns, but his season was somewhat disappointing, especially down the stretch. He averaged 4.0 catches for 44 yards and 0.2 TD in his final five games, including a weird zero-target goose egg in Week 13 against Pittsburgh. Now he heads to Seattle, where the Seahawks have been looking to upgrade at tight end for a while. Graham's value takes a minor hit as he heads to the run-oriented Seahawks, though he'll continue to be a target hog given the current state of the Seattle receiving corps. His 14.6 PPR fantasy points was second at his position to Rob Gronkowski, and he's likely to be the second tight end off the board in 2015 fantasy drafts.
The Seahawks newest addition on offense was practically unstoppable near the goal line in the team’s first workout open to the media with Graham participating since the trade to acquire him from New Orleans in March.
Graham caught four touchdown passes in 7-on-7 drills and added another in full team drills. Any time Graham got singled up on a defender, Russell Wilson was throwing Graham’s direction and finding success in doing so.
“He’s a superstar, he’s going to be one for a long time, and my goal is to help him continue to grow,” Wilson said. “He looked great today, as you guys saw, and that’s how he looks every day, so it’s a spectacular thing.”
Graham finished with 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns, but his season was somewhat disappointing, especially down the stretch. He averaged 4.0 catches for 44 yards and 0.2 TD in his final five games, including a weird zero-target goose egg in Week 13 against Pittsburgh. Now he heads to Seattle, where the Seahawks have been looking to upgrade at tight end for a while. Graham's value takes a minor hit as he heads to the run-oriented Seahawks, though he'll continue to be a target hog given the current state of the Seattle receiving corps. His 14.6 PPR fantasy points was second at his position to Rob Gronkowski, and he's likely to be the second tight end off the board in 2015 fantasy drafts, especially if his shoulder injury is fully behind him.
Jay Glazer reported that the deal sends Seattle's first round pick and C Max Unger to the Saints. The Seahawks have been looking to upgrade at tight end for a while now, and they finally got their guy. Graham's value takes a minor hit as he heads to the run-oriented Seahawks, though he'll continue to be a target hog given the current state of the Seattle receiving corps. The move is a big upgrade for Russell Wilson, who was the #3 QB in 2014 despite a serious lack of playmakers in the passing game. Conversely, it's a major downgrade for Drew Brees, who loses his top target in the passing game. Unger's arrival is good news for the recently re-signed Mark Ingram, while the Seahawks will have to find a way to replace one of the best centers in the game. The loss of Unger will have a negative impact on Marshawn Lynch. Also, TE Josh Hill could step into a big role for the Saints.
Seattle has held Cam Newton to one touchdown in three games since 2012. What has been the key to that?
Seahawks beat writer Terry Blount: Newton shouldn't feel too bad. The Seahawks have made a lot of very good QBs look bad the past couple of years -- Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl and Aaron Rodgers this year in the season opener, to name two. But the biggest thing is they've done what I'm sure the Panthers want to do to Russell Wilson -- cut off his running lanes and force Newton to beat them throwing. Newton had 12 carries for only 24 yards in the game at Charlotte earlier this season. Forcing any QB to beat them just by passing is a chore against the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL, which has three Pro Bowlers in Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.
Newton has averaged 146 passing yards and 35 rushing yards in his last three games against Seattle. He has thrown one touchdown pass and one interception (total) in those three games. Daily fantasy players should look elsewhere for a strong quarterback play.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer made that clear, as part of his season-ending press conference Tuesday at the team's practice facility. Zimmer said the team was fortunate to learn as much as it did about Bridgewater, and his improvement throughout the year should be a sign of encouragement. Zimmer was asked if he'd talked to veteran Matt Cassel, who has one year remaining on his contract, about the possibility of taking a backup role.
He said that he hadn't, and then he gave the rookie his endorsement.
"Teddy is the quarterback, there's no doubt in my mind," Zimmer said.
Bridgewater finished with the third-highest completion percentage for a rookie quarterback, surpassing Russell Wilson's strong 2012 rookie season. Bridgewater also finished 10th in the NFL in deep-pass accuracy. And more than 75 percent of his passes found their target when he was under pressure this season, the best rate in the league. Bridgewater will be on the QB2 radar when 2015 drafts come around.
Against Cam Newton, it was Eagles outside linebacker Connor Barwin who was tasked with tracking the quarterback's every move. He said Wednesday it's likely he could be tasked to do it again Sunday against Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.
When asked about dealing with a mobile quarterback, Barwin said, "I'm sure that the spying will be part of the game plan."
Giants beat writer Dan Graziano on the team's inability to stop Russell Wilson in Week 10: What the Giants showed Sunday in Seattle was a complete inability to handle Seattle's basic zone-read run game. They bought the play fake every time, and the only time they stuck with the quarterback was when he did hand it off to Marshawn Lynch. If they'd gone into the game intentionally trying to make the wrong play on every zone-read play, they couldn't have done as good a job of it as they actually did. It was a fiasco.
49ers beat writer Paul Guitierrez on the team's use of the read-option this season: While there is no doubt that the read-option was a huge part of Colin Kaepernick's arrival on the national consciousness, it has been virtually nonexistent as a play call this season. Sure, Kaepernick is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and is on pace to rush for a career-high 530 yards, but his running game has been more threat than design, if that makes sense. It's all part of the Niners' desire to keep him healthy, obviously, and to make him more of a pocket passer. Still, given the way the Seahawks shredded the Giants' run defense, I would be shocked -- shocked! -- if the Niners shied away from pounding the rock with Frank Gore to set up the read-option for Kaepernick.
Russell Wilson rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown against the Giants, who showed a complete inability to play the read-option, so it would be a surprise if the 49ers didn't bring it back to get a win in New York. Kaepernick is rushing for a career high 33 yards per game (which is slighly above his career average), but against the Giants he could double that number if the team is willing to use the read-option.
Russell Wilson has to have someone who can create a mismatch in the red zone. He needs to know he’s got a linebacker matched up against a big target. He needs that second or third read over the middle.
This came out of nowhere. NFL trades are a rare occurrence, especially ones that involve a major name like Harvin. His departure opens up some snaps and targets for the other receivers on the roster, namely Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Ricardo Lockette. It's also a blow to Russell Wilson's stock, as he has one fewer explosive weapon in a passing game that is already struggling with the big play. Baldwin was a preseason 4for4 favorite, and he should be able to get his season on track as the team's most dependable receiver. Kearse will also have weekly sleeper appeal. As for Harvin, his usage may go up, but it's unclear if OC Marty Mornhinweg is creative enough to utilize him effectively.
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