If I were the general manager and coach of the Seahawks, I’d do two things to help my offense: I’d trade Jimmy Graham for a starting offensive lineman, and I’d try the hurry-up offense for an entire game.
With Graham, I wouldn’t care which position on the line the new acquisition would play aside from center, where Justin Britt is far-and-away the most capable of the current five starters. If the other GM I’m making the trade with just wanted to give me a second-round pick for Graham, I might take that too.
You could argue that this offense has never been better than it was in the last eight games of the 2015 season, when it averaged 30 points a game. You’ll recall they played those games without Graham, who was sidelined with a torn patellar tendon. If they got a draft choice for Graham, fine; though it would be better if they could get an offensive lineman in return to help out now, because that O-line stands in the way of an otherwise talented team making it to another Super Bowl.
I’m tired of talking about the potential of Graham. We’ve seen glimpses – he actually was good last year, with nearly 1,000 receiving yards – and yet he’s never been the guy that was such a standout in New Orleans. Nor has he produced in the red zone, which is why he was acquired. For whatever reason, he’s a square peg in this offense, and I don’t even care what the reasons are anymore. After two-plus seasons, let’s just admit that it’s never going to work the way everyone thought it would and move on. I’d be all right with Luke Willson as the starting tight end, and Nick Vannett can be my backup.
With the hurry-up, I know there are down sides to doing it all game long. It might put your own defense on the field too much. But guess what, it could also help your sputtering offense, and Russell Wilson is its biggest advocate. Your own quarterback sounds like he wants to go to it more than just in the last two minutes of each half. Here’s my question: what’s the harm in trying it for one game against the 49ers?
Like, what, a hurry-up offense is going to cost you the game? The Seahawks are favored by 14 points and haven’t lost to the 49ers at Century Link Field since 2011. Why not give it a go? As far as I’m concerned, there are more possible positives with 60 minutes of hurry-up than negatives. And it might compensate for a subpar offensive line, if the players they’re trying to block are getting fatigued from not getting a 30-second break between plays.
There’s a chance that an eight-play drive with a hurry-up offense would give your own defense more of a break than the current three-and-out offense with a huddle, showed to us in Green Bay. Plus, with the hurry-up offense, if it works, you can change field position. Or, how about this: you might actually score more points. It would give your own defense an advantage because it could force the opposing team to lean on the pass, unleashing all of Seattle’s pass rushers to do all kinds of damage (leading to more sacks and interceptions).
It all seems to make sense to me; but if it makes sense to me, then there are likely holes in it, too. But I think it’s time to give it a go, and the 49ers are a perfect test team.
Even if they stay conventional, the Seahawks are still the superior team. The 49ers are rebuilding under first-year coach Kyle Shanahan, and they have a game-mismanaging quarterback in Brian Hoyer. It promises to be a festive home opener; but remember when it’s over, we won’t have learned much about the Seahawks given the quality of the competition.
Seattle (favored by 14) vs. San Francisco: Seahawks 27, 49ers 0.
Washington State (by 21) vs. Oregon State
If I’m a Beavers fan, I have no idea what’s going on with my favorite team. Oregon State gave up 58 points in its opener to Colorado State, and the Rams scored three points the following week against Colorado. Then, in their home opener, the Beavers were favored by 2 1/2 points and got blown out by Minnesota. Second-year coach Gary Anderson might not get a third year at this rate. And at WSU, I like that Mike Leach short-circuited a possible quarterback controversy by announcing Monday that Luke Falk would start. Falk deserves to show that he just had an off-night against Boise State. The question here: Will the Cougars come out flat after such a rousing triple-overtime comeback win against the Broncos last Saturday night? Cougars 38, Beavers 14.
Washington (by 33) vs. Fresno State
After flattening Montana last week, the Dawgs should roll to another easy win. Granted, Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford knows the U-Dub system because he worked under Chris Petersen last year as a consultant. He’s also the former Cal head coach, and I’m probably giving his veteran knowledge too much credit here, but he’s the main reason why I think Fresno State will cover the spread. Huskies 45, Bulldogs 17.
Last week: 1-2 against the spread.
Season to date: 1-4.