Going into Sunday's week 3 game, the biggest storyline for the 0-2 Seattle Seahawks is Jimmy Graham. Will the 6-foot, 7-inch tight end who plays more like a wide receiver be unleashed by Darrell Bevell, the team’s offensive coordinator who Marshawn Lynch’s mom said should be fired? Will he be the answer to the question that the 'Hawks implicitly asked at the end of last year’s Super Bowl when they failed to throw for a touchdown in the game’s waning seconds?
So far, we know Lynch will get it going at home, because he always does. He scored the VAST majority of his TDs last year at CenturyLink (12) versus on the road (5), and we know the defenses the team has faced so far this year might be the two stoutest they will face all year.
We know Kam Chancellor is back and this will take pressure off cornerback Richard Sherman and replace backup strong safety, Dion Bailey, who is just not ready for the limelight. Chancellor will anchor the defense as well as inspire it, making the unit whole again. And feared.
We know the Chicago Bears, this week’s opponent for the 'Hawks, are terrible. The team has been in a freefall for several years now, their starting quarterback Jay Cutler is dissolving and may not even play this week, and backup QB Jimmy Clausen is, well, a backup and not thought of as good as the fragile Cutler. The Bears are also 0-2 this year but have looked terrible, whereas the 'Hawks could have been, with a break or two, 2-0.
We know Pete Carroll is a solid--maybe even great--coach. Ever since coming to the team from his college post at Southern Cal, he’s done wonders for their infrastructure. He took a chance on Russell Wilson, he helped build the defense, he’s turned assistant coaches into head coaches for other teams. He’s had a spotty call or two, the most signifigant of which was last year’s Super Bowl pass-not-run play, of course, but everyone makes a mistake. Carroll is not the problem here, we know that.
We know Russell can make magic happen. Even though he’s a bit odd at times with his religious talk, his “eat the ball” and “concussion water” endorsements and his odd dating (read: celibacy) stories with girlfriend Ciara, we know Wilson can make plays from nothing with his accurate arm and swift feet. He wants to make plays, he needs to make plays, and he can, maybe better than anyone in the league, make plays.
What we don’t know is if Graham will be taken out of his prison of blocking for a weak Seattle offensive line and be let loose on the field to leap and dive for passes, catch a touchdown or two, rack up 100+ yards and look like the freak of nature all-star human he has been in years past with the New Orleans Saints. Will he be one of the two or three most important players on the offensive side of the ball like we expected? What will Graham be this year?
We need to find out.