Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham was upset following his second game with his new team. Just not for the reasons that have been discussed this week.
Graham, who came to Seattle in an offseason trade after becoming one of the league's most productive pass-catchers in New Orleans, caught just one pass for 11 yards in a loss at Green Bay, but the lack of targets wasn't what was bothering him.
"I like to win and I hate to lose, so frustration comes because we're 0-2 and we're a lot better than that," Graham said Friday. "… I know that the most important thing isn't about my role or what I'm doing out there, it's about wins. That's all we're concerned about. What keeps me up on a Sunday night, Monday night isn't if I got a pass, it's if we won or lost."
In the days following a loss that dropped the Seahawks to 0-2 for the first time since 2011, multiple reports came out stating, or at least speculating, that Graham was upset with his role with his new team. That was news to Graham.
"It was a surprise to me," he said. "I'm not really sure where that came from… I'm not really sure where all these articles started, especially since I said nothing to nobody. Usually I figure to write stories, you've got to have some type of source, which should be me, and it certainly wasn't."
Yet Graham being OK with his place on the team doesn't mean the Seahawks are fine with how things have been going so far. Graham has done what's asked of him, but as Seahawks coach Pete Carroll noted this week, it will take some time to get Graham fully immersed in the offense. It's a process Carroll compared to the 2013 season when it took a good portion of the year to settle on a defensive line rotation and get the pass rush to where it needed to be.
"Even though we thought maybe we were a little further ahead than that, as we saw in the first two games, we've got work to do yet," Carroll said. "We're not backing off at all, we're ready to crank that up and make that a challenging part of our offense."
Carroll isn't worried about how Graham will react in the meantime if it takes a few games to get maximum production out of him.
"He's a competitor, he wants the ball, he wants to help us win," Carroll said. "I feel that too, but he has worked hard, he's great about it, he wants to do everything he can to help us. I don't have any doubt about that."
And it's not as if Graham, who had six catches for 51 yards and a touchdown in the opener, came to Seattle expecting he would be targeted as frequently as he was in New Orleans.
"I know my opportunities are going to come," he said. "I know my moments are going to come. I know I'll be ready when they do come my way. We've talked about it. This team runs the ball, simple as that. We're not slinging the ball 60 times a game. If we are, that means we're in trouble. I'm just going to keep doing what's asked of me."
Doug Baldwin jokes that Graham, "didn't believe me at first" when he explained what it is like to be a pass-catcher in a run-first offense. "Then we got into practice and he realized how much we run the ball. It's not a culture shock, he just came to the realization. But he'll be fantastic for us, so I'm not worried about it."
Graham is still adjusting to a different offense and a different quarterback, and Russell Wilson is still adjusting to having a 6-foot-7 tight end as a target—oftentimes Graham is "open" even when is covered. But as that chemistry builds, Graham and the Seahawks are confident he'll be a big part of the offense moving forward.
"Each week for us is a huge step forward," Graham said. "Even this week, just getting the work in after practice, before practice, we're doing all we can."
In the meantime, Graham is hoping to get past last week's frustration, not by putting up big numbers Sunday, but by helping the Seahawks earn their first victory of the season.