Gregg Bell gbell@thenewstribune.com
Gregg Bell gbell@thenewstribune.com

Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks say they have faith in thus-far invisible Jimmy Graham

By GREGG BELL

Staff writer

September 17, 2017 08:51 PM

UPDATED September 18, 2017 03:14 PM

SEATTLE

Jimmy Graham has dropped almost as many passes through two games as yards receiving.

OK, he doesn’t have nine drops.

But that’s how many yards Graham has gained this season. He had one catch for 1 yard Sunday in Seattle’s 12-9 slog past the San Francisco 49ers.

The 30-year-old Graham, who can become a free agent after this season, was about to have a catch for a first down near midfield on the game’s fourth play. But 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt smashed into his torso, causing Graham to drop Russell Wilson’s pass.

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It was his second drop in two games; the pass he let go off both hands on third down late in the opener helped doom Seattle to a 17-9 loss at Green Bay.

Wilson targeted Graham just one other time Sunday, on the fourth play after halftime. That connected for the single yard out in the right flat.

Graham banged his knee during the first half, and stayed down until a doctor and trainer came on the field. He walked off to the sideline and into observation under a tent behind the bench. He returned on the second play of Seattle’s next offensive series.

Through two games Graham has four catches on nine targets for nine yards.

What’s up with the Seahawks’ $40 million tight end?

“That’s not what we would expect to have happen,” coach Pete Carroll said.

“He had some good chances today. They got him, hit him really good on one seam route, and all that.

“It will be fine. I’m not worried about it, at all.”

Graham hasn’t talked to the media at large since his two-touchdown night against Buffalo in November. He has four touchdowns in 12 games since. His eight touchdowns in three seasons with Seattle are two fewer than he had in 2014, his final season with New Orleans.

“I think Jimmy’s doing a great job,” Wilson said. “I’m glad he didn’t get injured on that one play, first of all. That was a little scary.

“He’s battling. How they played the game today wasn’t really the best situation for us. … He’s one of the best tight ends in the game and we have full confidence in what he’s doing and what he’s going to be able to do for us as we continue to go through this season.”

Asked what he meant by Graham’s chances being limited to how San Francisco’s defense played, Wilson said: “Just how they try to cover things and how they moved around and stuff like that.”

 

LACY’S ROSTER FREE FALL

The return of Thomas Rawls and the emergence of rookie Chris Carson left Eddie Lacy not only out of the Seahawks’ game-day plans but completely out of uniform.

The Seahawks left their biggest offseason acquisition inactive Sunday, just as Rawls was returning after a month away with a sprained ankle.

Rawls had five carries for four yards. He watched Carson rush 20 times for 93 yards. Carson, not Rawls or Lacy, sealed the win with first-down runs over the game’s final 5 minutes.

Lacy signed a one-year, prove-it contract with at least $2,865,000 guaranteed in March. The former NFL offensive rookie of the year for Green Bay in 2013 could earn another $2.3 million in bonuses tied to performance. Being inactive for the first time in his career for something other than injury eats into the maximum of $1 million Lacy could have earned in game-day active roster bonuses per week.

He has not been on any of the team’s practice/injury reports for this season.

“You only have so many spots,” Carroll said. “We wanted to see Thomas come back. And that was what the decision was. And there were a couple other things that entered into that, too.

“It’s not like it has to be that way all the time, but it was on this game. I hate that he wasn’t out there. I love Eddie, and he wanted to be part of it. But, in this matchup with the guys that were healthy and all that, this was the way we had to go.”

As for the $1.3 million in bonuses he can earn for yards gained, Lacy has 3 yards rushing on five carries through two weeks.

BENNETT’S TEAMMATES JOIN END OF ANTHEM SITTING

As Pearl Jam founding member Mike McCready jammed the national anthem on his guitar, defensive end Michael Bennett again sat during “The Star Spangled Banner” before kickoff for the sixth consecutive game. Bennett began making his statement against treatment of minorities in this country beginning with last month’s preseason opener.

As he did during the anthem last week at Green Bay, fellow Pro Bowl defensive end Cliff Avril sat down next to Bennett near the end of the song. Defensive end Frank Clark joined them at the very end. Justin Britt, the Seahawks’ center and prominent white player, again stood at Bennett’s side with his hand on Bennett’s shoulder to show support.

This time, Rawls stood on Bennett’s other side, also in support.

PAUL ALLEN HONORED

Just before kickoff the Seahawks played a video tribute on its big stadium board to Paul Allen. It commemorated the Microsoft co-founder buying the team 20 years ago, for keeping it from becoming the Anaheim Seahawks under previous owner Ken Behring, for building CenturyLink Field and for presiding over the franchise’s first Super Bowl championship.

Allen walked out to the center of the field on a red carpet. He took off the team cap with its new, alternate Hawk logo and waved it to the roaring crowd.

After the game, Carroll saluted his owner.

“I’d just like to recognize that this is a big celebration, really for the whole area, for all of the unbelievably supportive things that Paul Allen has done for so many years around here,” Carroll said.

“He has been extraordinary in his vision and extraordinary in his willingness to help and his loyalty to this area and all of that. I’m glad that we got to celebrate it today and have some fun with it. He was kind of sheepish about it, but it’s a big day. I know everybody recognizes it, and there’s nobody that can see it any other way. So, it’s a very unique situation for us to have somebody that is so willing and have such a heart about it.

“I’m just fired up that that got recognized today.”

EXTRA POINTS: The Seahawks in the second half had former Tampa Bay starting safety Bradley McDougald as their nickel, fifth defensive back inside and veteran Jeremy Lane outside at right cornerback, where Lane started Sunday. Rookie Shaquill Griffin had been outside as cornerback with Lane inside at nickel. Griffin missed part of Wednesday’s practice with a concussion he got playing 94 percent of snaps in the opener at Green Bay. …Oday Aboushi and undrafted rookie Jordan Roos being inactive against the 49ers showed how much the Seahawks value rookie second-round pick Ethan Pocic’s ability to back up at tackle, guard and center. … Mark Glowinski started again at right guard over Aboushi. Those two battled all preseason for that job. … Terence Garvin was inactive with a shoulder injury he got in the opener at Green Bay, where he started at strong-side linebacker in base defense. Former 49ers starter Michael Wilhoite returned from weeks out with a calf injury to start at strong-side linebacker. He had two tackles.