The reasoning behind the Seattle Seahawks’ decision to bring in former Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson for a visit seemingly became clearer on Tuesday after head coach Pete Carroll revealed Robert Turbin suffered a serious ankle injury in the Hawks’ preseason matchup at San Diego on Saturday.
Speaking with reporters after Seattle’s practice in anticipation of their preseason finale Thursday, Carroll hinted that Turbin’s injury may keep him out of action for a while.
“Robert’s got a sprained ankle,” Carroll said. “It’s a significant ankle sprain. We have to see what that means. He feels pretty good about it, but it definitely showed up on the MRI and all that.”
Carroll said that Turbin got “whacked” and “rolled up on,” and that there was timetable for Turbin’s return. Carroll also said that the injury wasn’t the only reason they decided to bring in Jackson for a visit after he was released by the Bills on Monday. But now it at least makes a lot more sense.
The Seahawks currently have Robert Turbin and Christine Michael backing up Marshawn Lynch, but neither guy has taken a firm grasp of the backup role this preseason. Turbin's carried the ball 16 times for 36 yards (2.3 YPC) and has failed to manage a run longer than 8 yards. Michael is averaging 3.3 YPC on 24 attempts, and 29 of his 79 yards came on one play. On the other 23 runs, he's averaged just 2.2 YPC.
Clearly, the Seahawks feel like they need an option to complement Lynch, and that's where Fred Jackson's skill set makes some sense. The veteran's best days are behind him, but he is dependable in pass protection and comfortable as a receiving option. He had a career high 66 catches last year for 501 yards.
As for the players on the roster, Jackson signing would potentially impact Michael and/or Turbin. Michael, a second-round pick in 2013, is signed through 2016 on his rookie deal but has not been the consistent complement the coaches seem to be looking for. Turbin, a fourth-round pick in 2012, is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2015 season.
Jackson played 58.2 percent of Buffalo's offensive snaps last season. And the majority of those snaps (68.2 percent) were passing plays, the story said. He showed good hands with just two drops on 82 targets. Lynch played 737 snaps last year, sixth-most among running backs. It seems that Jackson could be used to spell him on obvious passing downs and be a legit threat out of the backfield. Should the Seahawks sign Jackson, they could look to part ways with either Michael or Turbin. It's also possible that they'd keep all three guys in addition to Lynch and go with four running backs along with a fullback.
Jackson is flying to Seattle today and is expected to sign with the Seahawks, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
In Seattle, Jackson would back up Lynch. That’s a familiar role for Jackson, who also shared a backfield with Lynch in Buffalo. The two were teammates with the Bills from 2007 to 2010.
Jackson is 34 and on the down side of his career, having averaged a career-low 3.7 yards a carry last season. But the Seahawks apparently think he has something left, and he’s about to join one of the best running offenses in the NFL.
The signing seemingly pushes Robert Turbin and Christine Michael a notch down the depth chart as Jackson is expected to backup Lynch. But Jackson may add a threat in the passing game coming of a season where he was targeted 90 times and caught 66 balls for 501 yards with the Bills. Those kind of numbers would give him value in PPR leagues if that's how the Seahawks plan to utilize him in their game plan.
Monday, August 31, 2015, 8:29pm
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was a limited participant in practice Monday, two days after heading into the locker room early after hitting his throwing hand on a defender late in the second quarter of the Chargers' preseason game against the Seahawks.
Rivers handed off a few times during the portion of the workout open to the media but didn't throw in positional drills. Kellen Clemens was at quarterback in Monday's practice.
Coach Mike McCoy said Rivers' limited participation wasn't because he hit his right hand Saturday.
Rivers had his hand X-rayed Saturday and said after the game that the X-rays came back negative.
Monday, August 31, 2015, 8:24pm
He had two catches for 24 yards on five targets Saturday night. Graham has played 52 preseason snaps, and he's been used as a run blocker 36.5 percent of the time. The results have been mixed.
On an early Marshawn Lynch 3rd-and-1 carry, the Seahawks didn't generate any kind of push, and Graham let a defender slip past him as the run was stopped short of a first down. He did a good job on Robert Turbin's 7-yard run in the first.
But in the third, Graham looked like he was unsure of which defender to block, and a defensive lineman went right past him in the red zone to drop Turbin for a 7-yard loss. In other words, Graham appears to be a work in progress as a run blocker.
If the Seahawks can keep Graham on the field in running situations, it will only help to open the passing game for play-action passes which is where Graham could thrive.
The Carolina Panthers added a new face to their depleted receiving corps.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday the Panthers traded for Seattle Seahawks receiver Kevin Norwood, per a source informed of the deal. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle first reported the news.
The Seahawks initially planned to cut the 2014 fourth-round pick out of Alabama, before finding a trade partner in Carolina.
The 6-foot-2, 199-pound Norwood appeared in nine regular season games last season in Seattle after foot surgery knocked him out of training camp and the preseason. The wideout finished with 102 yards on nine catches. He had just two receptions this preseason for 18 yards.
In Carolina, Norwood will join a struggling, banged up receiving crops. With Kelvin Benjamin (ACL) out and first-round pick Devin Funchess nursing a hamstring injury, the Panthers receivers have been a big disappointment in the preseason. Norwood will wrestle for a roster spot with Corey Brown, Jerricho Cotchery, Ted Ginn Jr., Brenton Bersin, Jarrett Boykin and Mike Brown, among others.
Mason hurt his hamstring in the first half of Saturday’s game against the Colts and didn’t return to the field. Coach Jeff Fisher said Sunday that Mason won’t play in Thursday night’s preseason finale and that he’s questionable for Week One.
If Mason is out, Cunningham is sure to be involved, but the Rams may elect not to be quite so cautious with Gurley if it looks like he's close to 100 percent.
In the third quarter, Rivers told Tracy Wolfson of CBS that the hand recently used to sign a gigantic contract is fine.
“It’s good,” he said of the right hand, adding that he’d still be playing if it were a regular-season game.
Rivers played at an extremely high level for the first half of the season, completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 277 yards, 2.5 TD and just 0.6 interceptions through Week 8. He posted #3 QB numbers in that span, but he was the #19 QB down the stretch after injuring his hand in Week 9 against the Dolphins. He then suffered back and rib injuries and threw for multiple touchdowns in just two of his final eight games (averaging 1.6 INT) as the Chargers fell out of playoff contention. If he's fully healthy entering the 2015 season, he will once again be a fine value pick in the later rounds, but owners should be prepared to stream if the injuries start to pile up. The four-game loss of Antonio Gates doesn’t help, but Ladarius Green and Stevie Johnson should be able to pick up the slack.
What we saw from Stevie Johnson in Saturday night's exhibition against the Seattle Seahawks, the connection with Rivers that the Chargers hope to see so much this season, was borne in May and June and rekindled in August.
On the Chargers’ first possession, Johnson suddenly darted left, pulling away from the safety covering him in the slot to make a 34-yard reception-and-run that converted a third down. Before leaving with the rest of the first-team offense at halftime, Johnson had two more third-down conversions and finished with four receptions for 64 yards.
That is what replacing Eddie Royal looks like.
There is great potential in the marrying of Johnson’s ability to separate combined with Rivers’ ability to throw receivers open. When Rivers develops a rapport with a target, he anticipates where that receiver will be and makes connections that seemingly should never happen.
From 2010 to 2012, Johnson was one of the most consistent receivers in football, posting at least 76 catches, 1,004 yards and six touchdowns in three straight seasons. In PPR formats, he was the #10, #16 and #18 receiver in those seasons. The Chargers lost Eddie Royal, so there are targets to be had, especially with TE Antonio Gates suspended for the first four games. Johnson is having a good camp, so it appears that he’ll play ahead of retiring wideout Malcom Floyd.
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.
“He’s added a new dimension to our offense,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell told Peter King. “He’s been amazing. Awesome. He’ll help on third down, help in the red zone. In some of those areas you feel like he will be able to be a big factor. I think he will have the effect that you imagine a tight end would, pulling some coverage, and maybe changing some stuff for guys outside and guys other places as well.”
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.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 8:56am
Because through the team's offseason workout and early in training camp, one of the things that was not working in Hillman's favor was the fact he did not have much of a presence on special teams.
But Hillman continues to show in practice, as well as with his eight carries for 66 yards against the Seattle Seahawks in the Broncos' preseason opener this past Friday night, that he offers something the other running backs do not.
As the story said, C.J. Anderson and Montee Ball are still ahead of Hillman on the depth chart, but Hillman has the explosiveness, the big-play-in-waiting gear the team's other backs do not. And while his attention to detail and overall maturity have been questioned at times in his three previous seasons with the Broncos, Hillman seems to have taken the competition to heart at a position where the roster spots will be hard to come by.
Monday, August 17, 2015, 8:29pm
The severity of the injury that Seattle Seahawks backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson sustained against the Broncos became more clear Monday with coach Pete Carroll announcing it's a high ankle sprain. The team's plan, however, is still unclear.
Carroll said the Seahawks are evaluating their options and that the team worked out an unspecified quarterback on Monday.
"We're looking at it," Carroll said.
Jackson was injured in Friday night's preseason opener when a Denver player fell on his right ankle. He limped off the field and was replaced by third-string quarterback R.J. Archer, who played the remainder of the game.
The Seahawks have another in-house option in B.J. Daniels, who was a practice squad quarterback before converting to wide receiver earlier this offseason. Carroll said Daniels will take some reps at quarterback and that as of now he would be the third quarterback if one were needed in a game.
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.
Saturday, August 15, 2015, 10:07am
Pete Carroll didn't see the end of the most memorable play of the Seattle Seahawks' preseason opener, a kickoff that rookie Tyler Lockett returned 103 yards for a touchdown. He was on his backside, having collided with an official who was running down the sideline.
"I was jumping up and down for Tyler's return," the coach said afterward.
Hard to blame Carroll for getting a little excited. Lockett was that good Friday night as he turned his first NFL game into a showcase of the type of special-teams threat that the Seahwks drafted him to be. Lockett had another return of 46 yards, finishing with a 46.5-yard average on four attempts to go along with a punt return of 18 yards.
It was the touchdown, though, that Carroll couldn't stop talking about.
"I thought Lockett's 83-yard touchdown was pretty good. See, I didn't see the last 20," Carroll said. "But Lock did a great job tonight. He lit it up in kickoff return, punt return. It was great to see that. We all know that's exactly what we were hoping to see. He looked very special tonight."
When the Seahawks made what for them is a rare move to trade up for Lockett in the third round, they not only nabbed one of the more productive wide receivers in the draft but also one of its most dangerous returners, something Seattle's special teams largely have been missing the last two seasons, the story said.
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