The Seattle Seahawks have placed tight end Jimmy Graham on injured reserve after he tore the patellar tendon in his right knee during the team’s win over Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Estimates for his recovery time vary but it seems as though Graham’s surgery and rehab will put him out of action for a considerable amount of time.
Graham arrived in Seattle this season after the Seahawks traded their first-round pick in the 2015 draft and center Max Unger to the New Orleans Saints. Along with Gronkowski at New England, Graham was touted as one of the premier tight ends in the league and many expected Seattle’s offense to revolve heavily around the veteran.
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Seattle’s offence had relied heavily on the running game of Marshawn Lynch and the athleticism of quarterback Russell Wilson in previous seasons. Graham’s arrival gave the Seahawks a legitimate threat in the passing game which they had lacked in previous campaigns.
With the fanfare surrounding his arrival, Graham put up a moderate showing by his standards in his first outing as a Seahawk, catching six passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. In his second game he was non-existent, nabbing a paltry 11 yards on his one reception. As Seattle slipped to 0-2, reports came out claiming that Graham ‘hated’ his new role at the Seahawks where he was expected to do more blocking and found himself used more frequently as a decoy in the passing game.
These rumours have been quashed by Graham and it has been business as usual for the Tight-End through much of this season. Following his injury, Graham will finish the season with 605 yards on 48 receptions and 2 touchdowns. At the same point in the season last year with the Saints, Graham hauled in 65 receptions for 670 yards and 9 touchdowns.
As evidenced by the stats, his receptions have certainly dipped a bit but his total yards haven’t plummeted much. In fact, his yards per reception have actually increased from 10.3 to 12.6.
Despite a popular perception that Graham was a poor fit at the Seahawks and unable to be as productive there as he was at the Saints, he was Wilson’s favourite target on 3rd down (24 attempts, 16 of which were completed), and his most targeted receiver inside the red zone. Graham’s 11 plays of 20+ yards also rank him first amongst Tight-Ends in the league and are three more than he managed last season with the Saints.
His injury comes shortly after the Seahawks had lost running back Lynch to a sports hernia the previous week. Without these two star playmakers, Seattle will struggle to keep the momentum of their two-week winning streak going into their match-up with the Vikings.
Although they are still very much in the hunt for a wildcard berth in the AFC west, the loss of Jimmy Graham will certainly hurt their chances.