The Seattle Seahawks are off to a slow start this season.
They dropped their first two games on the road against St. Louis and Green Bay, beat a Jimmy Clausen-led Bears squad – as expected – and barely hung on to beat Detroit on Monday Night Football.
So yeah, it’s been a slow start for the Seahawks, especially Jimmy Graham, their prized offseason acquisition. Graham, an all-world tight end in New Orleans, has been fairly quiet in three of four games this season.
One catch against Green Bay. Twenty-nine yards against Detroit.
What’s going on?
“Yeah, I think they just (need to) let Jimmy Graham be Jimmy,” former Seahawk and current NFL Network analyst Michael Robinson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Guys are rooting for Jimmy in that locker room. I know that for a fact. But the thing about Jimmy you have to understand is to get passes in that offense – this is a running offense. That offense revolves around the running game and the quarterback. When he was in New Orleans, it was more of a matchup type of offense, where Sean Payton would create plays to match Jimmy Graham up against certain people so he can win the match-ups. That’s just not how it is in Seattle. That’s why you see a guy like Luke Willson – the other tight end, the more blocking tight end – getting more passes. Because the tight ends get their passes in that offense just in everyday offense, just in regular offense, running the regular plays that are called and you do what you have to do with it.
“But I do think, especially in the red zone, Seattle traditionally hadn’t been great in the red zone – and in my opinion, that’s because Russell’s shorter,” Robinson continued. “Tiki, you know those passing lanes get higher (in the red zone). I think you’ll start to see more specialized plays, more matchup-type plays for Jimmy as they get in the red zone, but they just haven’t had a chance to get down there yet.”
That’s because the offensive line has been terrible. Russell Wilson, who leads the Seahawks in rushing, has been running for his life seemingly every time he drops back to throw.
The line has just been a mess.
“Yeah, it is,” Robinson said. “It is. They’ve missed on some drafts. I think they struck gold early in some drafts when Pete first got there and they’ve missed on some linemen here lately. But you know what guys? This group has to get time together. You guys know – reps, reps, reps. With the restrictions in training camp and things like that, the guys’ reps are limited. You have Justin Britt going from right tackle to left guard, and you have J.R. Sweezy who played most of his entire life at defensive tackle, a new center (Drew Nowak) and a new right tackle (Gary Gilliam) who played tight end in college. So they have to get more game reps together.”
The line must play better this Sunday, as the Seahawks have one of their toughest tests of the season in Cincinnati. The Bengals (4-0) have been arguably the best team in football.
“Yeah guys, you know what? I’m still mulling over this pick,” Robinson said. “If I don’t pick Seattle to win this game, I can’t ever get on a plane and go back up to the Pacific Northwest. You know that. Buy guys, I don’t know. Cincinnati is good. It’s going to be a tough one for them. I just don’t see how they can do it. Cincinnati just has so many weapons everywhere. If you match up and you try to give help with whoever’s covering A.J. Green, I think Mohamed Sanu can be a No. 1 in this league somewhere, you know what I mean? You still have Marvin Jones. You still have Tyler Eifert. I think an interesting matchup is going to be Kam Chancellor and Tyler Eifert. When they go man, can Kam match up? And Kam usually does match up, but this guy’s a little bit quicker and he can block. This is going to be a tough matchup for Seattle.”