Jim Moore Predicts: Let’s see if the Seahawks’ offense is better without Jimmy Graham
Since I believe in karma, good and bad, I’m pretty sure something terrible will happen to me in the near future because I hope that Jimmy Graham’s ankle injury keeps him out of Sunday’s game at Tennessee.
I don’t want it to be a high ankle sprain, which would put two or three games in doubt. I want it to be a mild ankle sprain, just enough to prevent him from playing this week.
I’d just like to see if the Seahawks’ offense is better without him, like it was in the last eight games of the 2015 season when Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin formed a serial touchdown connection, allowing the Seahawks to average 30 points a game.
Graham didn’t play in those games after tearing his patellar tendon. And here’s the thing, I have nothing personal against him. If I have a gripe with him, it’s that I wish he spoke to the media more than he does. I know he talks to John Clayton from time to time, but no one else in the local media.
I don’t hold that against him. I don’t really care if athletes want to talk to reporters or not. But I think Graham’s an interesting guy. I’d like to know more about him and would love to hear stories about Graham as a pilot and dog owner – he has a Viszla.
And I’d be interested in finding out if he’s truly happy here or if he’d rather be back in a pass-happy offense like he was in New Orleans. He probably wouldn’t reveal it if that were the case, but still, I’d like to hear if he’s as frustrated as everyone else seems to be with his role in the Seattle offense.
Maybe he can’t believe that people would even question what he brings to the offense since he recorded a franchise record for tight ends with 923 receiving yards last year. And we’re complaining about his production after just two games this year?
When he arrived from the Saints in the Max Unger trade, we all thought he would never have New Orleans numbers, but I think it was fair to expect better production in the red zone. That’s why they acquired him. Why not throw the ball to a 6-foot-7 receiver with great hands, even if he’s double-covered? And yet we’ve rarely seen that happen.
I thought maybe he’d explode when Jermaine Kearse was traded to the Jets since Kearse seemingly was Wilson’s favorite target, but only one player has taken off in the first two games, and that’s Kearse with the Jets.
Graham deserves all kinds of credit for returning from the patellar tendon injury and posting last year’s numbers because I figured he’d never be the same again. Victor Cruz tore his patellar tendon and never truly made it back. Patellar tendon injuries are career-threatening in most cases, but Graham beat those odds.
He’s just not a fit in this run-first offense, so why not give it a rest once and for all? You tried to work the square peg in, and we’re two-plus years into the Jimmy Graham thing. What makes anyone think it will work now? Like all of a sudden, poof, he’s going to catch one touchdown pass after another in the red zone?
That’s why I don’t want him to play this week. I want to see if the Seahawks’ offense flourishes without him like it did in the second half of the 2015 season. And if it does, the Seahawks need to increase Graham trade talks.
I don’t even care what they get for him in return. I’m guessing it might be a relief to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell if he doesn’t have to worry about getting him involved anymore. I’m also guessing Baldwin might be gangbusters, and besides, Luke Willson is a better blocker and a decent enough receiver – I don’t think there will be a huge drop off to the second-string tight end, not as much as there might be in a pass-first offense anyway.
If you get a fifth-round choice for Graham, fine. I’m at the point of thinking it’s addition by subtraction though Lord knows I could be wrong about that. And even if you don’t trade him now, you’re going to lose him at the end of the season when he becomes a free agent. Might as well get a jump start on that.
Graham’s potential absence is one reason why I think the Seahawks, even as three-point underdogs, will beat the Titans. I also like the speculation that Oday Aboushi might replace Mark Glowinski at right guard – maybe a new face will help the struggling offensive line.
Seahawks (+3) at Titans: Seahawks 23, Titans 17
Washington (-12) at Colorado: Last year the Huskies flattened the Buffaloes in the Pac-12 championship game. This year the Huskies appear to be just as good as they were last year, and the Buffaloes aren’t as strong. Dawgs 27, Buffaloes 10.
Nevada (+28) at Washington State: Nevada is 0-3 and lost its last game to Idaho State, an FCS school. The only thing that worries me about this game is that the Cougs will understandably take this game lightly and will no doubt be looking ahead to next Friday’s matchup with USC at Martin Stadium. Cougs 42, Wolfpack 20.