Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll recently spoke to the media at the team’s training facility and stated that running back Thomas Rawls and tight end Jimmy Graham will be available to play once the first week of the NFL season rolls around. The Tacoma News Tribune’s Gregg Bell tweeted out the news from Carroll.
Having both impact players back will certainly provide an extra boost to an offense that finished last season as the league’s fourth best unit. Only the Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers racked up more yards.
Graham’s reintegration into the offense is particularly notable considering the strides Russell Wilson made in the passing game.
With Marshawn Lynch limited by injuries in what would be his final season in the league, Carroll and company allowed Wilson to throw the ball more. The quarterback responded with a career year, becoming the first quarterback in franchise history to pass for 4,000 yards in a season. The 27-year-old also added 34 touchdowns while only throwing for eight interceptions. All told, Wilson completed 68.1% of his passes.
The Seahawks will still run the ball a lot, but the move to throw the ball more will certainly benefit Graham, who accounted for just 605 yards and two touchdowns on 48 catches in his first year in the Pacific Northwest. The tight end only played in 11 games before his season was ended due to a torn patellar tendon. If Wilson once again accounts for 4,000 passing yards, Graham’s numbers could mirror the stats he posted in New Orleans with the Saints.
The return of Thomas Rawls
While the injury to Lynch forced the Seahawks to throw more, it also thrust undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls into the spotlight. The running back thrived while filling in for Lynch, totaling 830 yards and four touchdowns in just 13 games. Of his 13 games, only seven were starts. Rawls also had the distinction of leading the league in yards per carry at 5.6 yards per rush.
Unfortunately, the rookie’s season was also cut short due to injury. Rawls broke his ankle in a contest against the Baltimore Ravens. His return will certainly help the Seahawks, who relied on a combination of Christine Michael, Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown after the rookie’s injury.
Seahawks add depth to the run game
Seattle added some much-needed running back depth in the draft by taking C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins and Zac Brooks. However, all three are likely to back up Rawls heading into next year. If anything, they’ll help ease the Central Michigan product’s workload.
With Graham and Rawls back in the fold from the league’s opening weekend, the Seahawks will have all hands on deck as the team looks to start the season strong. Seattle will host the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 before hitting the road to do battle with the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2. The Hawks will host the San Francisco 49ers and play the New York Jets on the road before the team’s bye week.