Seattle Seahawks

Jimmy Graham: I’m not angry about way Seahawks are using me

Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham stands on the sideline in the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Seattle.
Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham stands on the sideline in the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Seattle. AP

Jimmy Graham has a message for those who believe he is ticked off at how the Seahawks have used him so far:

You don’t know what you are talking about.

“Yeah, I’ve been reading the same thing. That’s a surprise to me. I’m not really sure where that came from,” Seattle’s star tight end said of two national reports this week that intimated he is unhappy with his new team.

NFL Network’s Mike Silver deduced and wrote after being in the visitors’ locker room at Green Bay last Sunday that Graham is likely angry. That was after the reporter learned Graham didn’t and wouldn’t talk to the media after he had one catch in Seattle’s defeat. Then a report from Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman said Graham “hates what’s happening in Seattle. ... I’ve had several Seattle players tell me this. He is telling players, ‘Why did you bring me here if this is how you are going to treat me?’ 

Fact is, Graham wasn’t available in the locker room immediately following Seattle’s opener in St. Louis, either. He had six catches and a touchdown that day.

“I mean I was in there, you know, for the time I needed to be. And then I went to the shower,” Graham said of the two locker-room postgames.

Then Graham made an excellent point.

“I’m not really sure where all these articles started. You know, especially since I said nothing to nobody,” he said. “Usually, I figure to write stories you’ve got to have some kind of source — which should be me. And this certainly wasn’t.”

Graham has seven catches in 10 targets entering Seattle’s home opener Sunday against Chicago (0-2). That’s the fewest receptions through two games in any of the five seasons since he became a full-time starter for New Orleans in 2011. Graham averaged just under six receptions per game over 63 regular-season contests with the Saints from 2011 through ‘14.

Graham acknowledged he is frustrated — for one reason only.

“I like to win. I hate to lose,” he said. “Frustration comes because we are 0-2, and we are a lot better than that.”

“You know, I’m doing what’s asked of me. I know my opportunities are going to come, and I know my moments are going to come. … We’ve talked about it: This team runs the ball. Simple as that. We are not slinging the ball 60 times a game. And if we are, that means we’re in trouble. So I’m going to keep doing what’s asked of me.”

Graham had just one catch in the first half at St. Louis. A big reason he has been absent for long stretches of the first two games is Seattle’s offense has yet to perform as it’s designed. The line has starters in three new positions. It has inconsistently communicated and sporadically provided quarterback Russell Wilson enough time to wait for Graham to run his longer routes down the field. Those are the splashes Seattle paid for by sending two-time Pro Bowl center Max Unger and a first-round draft pick to the Saints for Graham in March.

Plus, the Seahawks offense has yet to establish its basis this season: a relentless running game with Marshawn Lynch powering inside and Wilson keeping the ball around the ends on read-option plays. The league’s best rushing attack in eight seasons last year is ranked 11th right now, at an average of 121.5 yards per game. Seattle’s offense overall is ranked 29th, at 333.5 yards per game.

Last season the Seahawks averaged 172.6 yards rushing and 375.8 total yards per game.

If and when Seattle’s line improves, and when Wilson keeps more on read options than his one time in the first six quarters of this season, it will force defenses out of ganging up on Lynch. That will better set up Wilson’s play-action passing. That, in turn, will provide Wilson more time to throw and Graham more opportunities to run routes past linebackers and safeties who crowd the line to play the run.

At least that’s the plan Seattle had when they acquired Graham to revolutionize its passing game.

“Obviously, it’s kind of a constant growth. There are a lot of variables,” Graham said. “The most important thing isn’t what my role is or what I’m doing out there. It’s about wins. That’s all we’re concerned about.

“What keeps me up Sunday night, Monday night, isn’t if I got a pass. It’s if we won or not.”

The bottom line: Expect many more targets of and catches by Graham on Sunday against the Bears, eight days later in the Monday night home game against Detroit — and beyond.

CHANCELLOR LIKELY TO PLAY, MAYBE ENTIRE GAME

To no one’s surprise, coach Pete Carroll said “we are planning on” activating Kam Chancellor from the exempt list to play Sunday. The team needs to make that move onto the active roster by 1:25 p.m. Saturday, 24 hours before kickoff.

Chancellor didn’t end his long holdout on Wednesday to sit out a third consecutive game. He’ll start at strong safety against Chicago.

Carroll said “it’s not unrealistic” to think Chancellor could play four quarters just four days after ending a two-month holdout. The 27-year old reported six pounds under his listed playing weight of 232 pounds with what Carroll said was 6 percent body fat.

The Seahawks will need to drop someone from the 53-man roster to make room for Chancellor.

LYNCH QUESTIONABLE — WHICH USUALLY MEANS “PLAYING”

The Seahawks listed Lynch as questionable to play Sunday because of a calf issue, and Carroll said his availability will be a game-time decision.

Lynch’s injury is new as of a couple days ago. He missed one drive in the third quarter last weekend at Green Bay, with Thomas Rawls replacing him. Carroll said Monday Lynch was complaining of neck pain. A team doctor checked him out on the Seahawks sideline at Lambeau Field. He returned for the following drive and finished the game.

During the Carroll/John Schneider regime, almost every time a player has been listed as questionable, he has played in that game.

Lynch has missed just one game since he arrived in Seattle from Buffalo in a trade in 2010: Oct. 2011 at Cleveland because of back spasms.

EXTRA POINTS

Carroll said backup CB Tharold Simon dislocated his toe a few weeks ago, and he won’t play Sunday. He made his season debut against the Packers. Carroll said he expects Simon to be able to play against Detroit on Oct. 5. ... On the field at the indoor practice, NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps presented Carroll with a Seahawks 12th Man flag that flew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on a 12-day mission in March 2009.

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