BRADY HENDERSON

Seahawks snap counts vs Rams: Jimmy Graham’s increased workload

Sep 20, 2016, 3:19 PM | Updated: 3:23 pm
Jimmy Graham's workload increased from 17 snaps in Seattle's opener to 53 Sunday against the Rams. ...
Jimmy Graham's workload increased from 17 snaps in Seattle's opener to 53 Sunday against the Rams. (AP)
(AP)

As recently as two weeks ago, it wasn’t clear when Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham would be ready to play. He sat out all four preseason games and had only returned to practice well after the start of training camp following surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon. At that point, there was no guarantee he would even play in Week 1.

But if there was an encouraging sign for the Seahawks’ offense to be found in the disaster that was their 9-3 loss to the Rams on Sunday, it was the significant increase in Graham’s workload. It went from 21 percent (17 plays) of Seattle’s offensive snaps in the opener to 82 percent (53 plays) against Los Angeles.

Graham was targeted four times Sunday and caught three passes for 42 yards. He had an 11-yard catch on his only target in Week 1.

“Jimmy played a lot of plays yesterday, which is good,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Not quite as many targets as I know everybody would like to see, but I know he did really well when the ball was thrown to him. He had some nice plays blocking. He got a lot of play time. He’s really in the groove to go. That was significant that he was able to do that. So that’s a good deal for us.”

Two of Graham’s catches came on Seattle’s final drive of the first half, those going for 9 and 17 yards on back-to-back plays. He had a 16-yard catch in the fourth quarter. Brock Huard said Tuesday that Graham likely would have gotten the ball on the play on Seattle’s final drive in which he was flagged for a false start.

Getting Graham going could help a Seahawks’ offense that has been inexplicably bad over the first two games. The increase in his workload is the first step.

Here are a few more notes on Seattle’s snap counts in Week 2:

• The Seahawks stayed in their base defense much more against Los Angeles than they did against Miami. That meant more playing time for Mike Morgan, who starts at strong-side linebacker and comes off the field when Seattle subs in a fifth defensive back. Morgan was on the field for 52 percent (32 plays) of Seattle’s defensive snaps compared to 19 percent (10 plays) in the opener. Jeremy Lane, who has been Seattle’s nickelback the first two games, was right behind Morgan on Sunday at 48 percent (30 plays) of Seattle’s defensive snaps compared to 81 percent (43 plays) in the opener.

• Defensive end Frank Clark is playing more than he did as a rookie, as expected. He was on the field for 56 percent (35 plays) of Seattle’s defensive snaps Sunday and 55 percent (29 plays) in Week 1. Of the 15 games in which Clark played last year, he was on the field about 35 percent of the time on defense.

• Carroll said that one of the reasons the Seahawks signed Neiko Thorpe last week was that they felt he could contribute more on special teams than fellow cornerback Tharold Simon, who was waived in a corresponding move. On Sunday, Thorpe was third in special-teams playing time at 70 percent (16 plays) behind defensive end Cassius Marsh and linebacker Brock Coyle.

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