There's something we are likely to see plenty of this fall: Russell Wilson throwing a jump ball to Jimmy Graham. This time was at practice during organized team activities that continue through next week at team headquarters in Renton.
Coordinator Darrell Bevell spoke on Tuesday about the growing relationship between the quarterback and his new tight end. The play caller also talked of how Graham's arrival could have Seattle's offense in even more two tight-end formations with Luke Willson this coming season. Bevell also talked about Chris Matthews' emergence outside at wide receiver would change the offense , what he and the coaching staff still wants to see from Christine Michael and more:
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR DARRELL BEVELL, June 2:
It's halfway through OTAs today. It's exciting to be out here, getting things going again. Really cool to compete against our defense down in the red zone today. I think I saw some of you were in here, watching practice. Got to see Jimmy a little bit, get him involved, see maybe how he'll fit in. It's fun to be back out here at practice and getting a look at all the guys. We've got a lot of young linemen, we've got a lot of guys at different positions, a new wide receiver. So it's exciting to be back out here.
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How exciting is it to have Graham?
It's really cool. We missed him a couple days when he had to go down south for a little bit but it's good to see him out here. You can see him show up in the ways that we're hoping that he's going to be able to do that. It's really cool. The sky's the limit for us right now.
On the connection between Graham and Russell Wilson:
Yeah, we work hard at it. There's nobody that's going to outwork Russell. He grabs different guys every now and then. I think it was a great start when they went to Hawaii and he was able to start working with them there. There's times when special teams is going on during practice that we're down at the other end and getting just extra reps there as well. But it was really cool to see it with a defense out there and kinda going up against one of best defenses and see how he would fare.
What makes him unique? Size and catch radius?
Yeah, I think it's all of that. His size is tremendous. Obviously with how tall he is already he's got a great catch radius. He can leap up and catch the ball. He's flexible enough to ... if you throw back-shoulder throws he can get back there and get those kinds of throws as well. We're excited to kinda just keep playing with it and see what we have.
Are there plays already installed specifically for Graham?
We really just want to just fit him in and kinda see exactly what we have. We've seen enough tape of him playing around the league, obviously with the Saints. So we kinda know what he can do a little bit. But we want to fit him in with our terminology, our schemes. He showed up great today just like we would expect him to. But there will be stuff here and there that will be specifically for him.
What will Graham bring that the Seahawks' offense hasn't had?
I don't know about what it hasn't had, but it's just another great playmaker. He can stretch the field, catch the ball, big target in the red zone, which will be huge for us. That may be one of the biggest things, just the size we have down there when things start to get tight.
Will the Seahawks move Graham around?
Yeah, we do that with a lot of our guys. We like to formation and move guys around for different reasons, and Jimmy will be definitely in that mix.
How big of a deal is it for the players to go to Hawaii in April on their own?
I think it's great. I think it's kinda grown for us as well. At first it was just a couple of the receivers and quarterbacks, then it was the tight ends and running backs and now we had a bunch of defensive guys that went over there as well. I think really what the best part of it -- they're getting football and doing that kind of thing but they're together. Each year is a new year and the team chemistry starts to build when they do those types of things. They get away from here and get in a different environment and they kinda get to know each other on a personal level, get close that way. When things happen during the season, they're much closer as a family that they're able to overcome some things better.
How has Graham fit in personality-wise?
He's fit in great. I think you saw a lot of hooting and hollering out here today, just kinda got to feel his personality a little bit today. That was the most that he's been involved, so it was fun to see it. I think the guys already respect him for what he can do in the pass game. We can't really do anything run-game-wise much without pads on, but that's something we're looking forward to seeing as well.
How much could it change your red-zone approach to have two big targets in Graham and Chris Matthews?
It would change. I think it would help Russell, No. 1, just with the size of the guys. Jermaine is still a taller guy; he's got a big target in there as well. But I think there will be just different possibilities. You can throw to spots more and I think Russell has to get a feel for those guys and kinda see what their radius is. But how tall they are obviously already has a huge advantage.
Has blocking been a discussion with Graham?
Definitely. We've talked about it at length with him. Tight ends coach Pat McPherson has talked to him about it, Tom's grabbed him and talked to him about it. It's something that he's totally willing to do, and we want to teach him the way we want it done and just our techniques. He's totally willing to do it. He's excited about it. I think he kinda has a little chip; he wants to prove it as well. We're looking forward to that.
How has Chris Matthews looked?
“He’s looked...he missed a few days. He got stepped on so he missed a few days so we haven’t had him every day, but the parts we’ve seen him, he had a nice catch down there in the red zone today. He’s done fine.”
Do Jimmy and Luke complement each other?
“I think they’re two great athletes. Our package with our two tight ends and two wideouts and one running back is one of my favorite packages to get into, as well as our three wides. It just gives us a lot more flexibility with two really talented tight ends. Both guys can stretch the field, both guys are big, both guys can run after the catch. I think it just presents some trouble for the defense and how they want to match up to that package.”
Why is that package one of your favorites?
“Just because it gives us different skill out there on the field. The defense has to decide how they want to play it. Do they want to play it as a three-wide package and put their nickel defense out there and defend it or do they want to stay with their base? That decision will help us determine what we want to do with it. I think we have some advantages there.”
Has it been difficult to learn much about your four rookie OL?
“No, we ‘ve seen a lot from them and we’re excited about them. They’re special guys. They’re very talented athletically. I think that’s the thing that we’re excited about the most. They’re sharp guys as well so they’re picking it up pretty quickly. Tom’s really been schooling them each and every day and taking extra time with them since the rookies can be here all day. They look really good and they look like what we hoped they would.”
What’s stood out?
"The biggest thing across the board has just been their athleticism. That’s the first thing. And then second has been their minds. They’re really sharp. You take a guy like Sokoli. He’s never done it before, and we’re asking him to play center so he’s got a lot of things, he’s making calls, he’s got to worry about the snap count, he hasn’t really snapped the ball between his legs before either. But he’s smart enough. He’s picking things up great. He’s getting us targeted well. He’s been able to put that all together. We still have a long way to go with it, but it’s something we’re excited about.”
How is Christine Michael responding to his opportunity?
“He’s been good. Last couple days, we’ve missed him a little bit. But he has a special talent. It’s something that we’re hoping comes to the forefront, that he’ll really take the bit and really compete for us at that spot. There’s no question he has the talent, but he’s just got to do the right thing all the time. I think he’s really done well up to this point until we’ve missed him the last couple days.”
BJ Daniels is “mainly a receiver.”
“Really like RJ. He’s come in and done a nice job. He’s picked up our offense. I had him in Minnesota for a real short time there and then he’s kind of bounced around in the Arena League a little bit. He’s picked up the offense quickly. He’s got a great rapport with the players. The receivers love him. He throws with great accuracy. We like what we see so far.”
How long can you go with 2 QBs?
“We’d like to get more arms in here, but we have so many guys at so many spots right now that it’s tight at those positions. But for what we’re doing here, we’re OK.”
WILSON FOLLOWS JETER AGAIN