Wilson & Graham's Chemistry, Early Games, Sherman's Dominance and More In This Week's Seahawks Q&A

You had Seahawks questions; we have answers.

The Seahawks offense got back on track in a big win over the San Francisco 49ers, the defense was dominant once again, and now it's time to turn our attention to this week's game against the New York Jets. But before Week 4 kicks off with practice on Wednesday, it's time once again to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who took the time to submit questions, and apologies if I wasn't able to get to yours this week.

@k8meaney asks, "Do Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham have the chemistry figured out, or was Sunday a fluke?" And @Noy3s asks, "Do you expect the same effort from Darrell Bevell and Russell Wilson to get the ball to Jimmy Graham?"

A:I'm answering these two together because they're very much related, and not just because they involved Wilson and Graham. To @Noy3s' question, the idea is not for Wilson and Bevell to force the ball to Graham, but rather to have him fit in with the rest of the offense. The Seahawks' philosophy on this is that if they go out of their way to force-feed Graham or any other player, it will disrupt the offense as a whole. And that brings us to the initial question of chemistry between Wilson and Graham. While Graham is in his second season with the Seahawks, he and Wilson are still growing in their connection together, a process that was delayed by Graham's knee injury that cut short his 2015 season. It appeared those two were just hitting their stride as a duo last year when Graham got hurt, and now that Graham is healthy and has a few games under his belt, it looks like those two have the kind of chemistry that will lead to more big games like we saw Sunday against the 49ers when Graham had six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. Nobody is going to guarantee 100-yard games every week for Graham, not in an offense that stresses the run game the way Seattle's does, but based off what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has been seeing lately, that was no fluke.

"It's just been the process of getting to it," Carroll said Monday. "You guys have really had a chance to watch and you can value what it takes to develop chemistry. It takes time, it isn't just an automatic thing. Last year we were just working and just trying to fit things together and all. We could see the potential but never really felt the connection like it is now. It's obvious now. It wasn't any fault of anybody's, it just takes time. Russell has thrown the ball so much to Jimmy in the summer and over the offseason, just playing catch and working together, that they have developed a history now. You can see it in the last couple weeks in practice, we've been talking positively about Jimmy and his work, and last week was kind of the culmination of it and you can just see it in practice, really by the time we got through all of our work on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, it just felt like we were ready to bust out. We all felt like that."

@shadierthanyou asks, "How do you think the 10 a.m. PT start time will affect the Seahawks this week?"

A: Ideally, the Seahawks hope it won't affect them at all, and their recent history shows that they've become a pretty good team on the road regardless of kickoff time. Adjusting one's body clock by a few hours is never easy, but Carroll refuses to let his players worry about things that are out of their control, so while the Seahawks will do what they can to prepare for an early game—travel two days before the game, start their day earlier Saturday, etc.—they're not going to use an early kickoff as an excuse.

Last season, the Seahawks felt like they had found a good rhythm playing on the road, winning five straight road games to close the season, including blowout wins at Minnesota and Baltimore in the 10 a.m. PT time slot. The Seahawks also won their Wild Card game at Minnesota at the same kickoff time, then lost to Carolina in the early time slot.

If you're not a fan of the early kickoff for the Seahawks, the good news is that they only have two such games this season, Sunday's game at New York and Week 8 at New Orleans.

@billel_billel asks, "Is there any damage to Russell Wilson's knee?" And @jbradOSU and @KBottom2 both wonder if the Seahawks should consider resting Wilson ahead of next week's bye to let him recover.

A: First off, the latest update from Carroll is that while Wilson does have a sprain, he's feeling good and is expected to practice on Wednesday and play in Sunday's game at New York. That being said, the Seahawks will be careful with Wilson, and if he doesn't respond well to practice or his rehab work, they could consider giving him a week off. And of course if it is determined that Wilson could do more serious damage by playing, that would be a factor as well, though again, that doesn't seem to be a big concern right now.

And if Wilson is healthy enough to play, he is the type of player who will fight like crazy to be in the game—Carroll said Wilson went back in on his own after the injury last week—and Carroll's "every game is a championship opportunity" approach means the Seahawks wouldn't sit Wilson with an eye on the future if they think he's healthy enough to play and give them their best chance to win.

And on a related note…

@Speefypeef asks, "Any chance we sign a QB to the active roster for this week just to be safe?"

A:Carroll acknowledged Monday that the Seahawks would take a look at that option, though as they showed with Wilson's ankle injury, they're comfortable going with just two quarterbacks even when Wilson is less than 100 percent. If there's any doubt in Wilson's availability by the end of the week, however, then a move would likely be made. One possibility would be to simply promote Jake Heaps off the practice squad, as he would have already spent the week practicing with the team and knows the offense well having been with the team throughout offseason workouts, training camp and the preseason.

The Seahawks improved to 2-1 on the season with a dominating 37-18 victory over the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers, and team photographer Rod Mar was there to capture exclusive moments from Seattle's Week 3 matchup at CenturyLink Field.

@mrclean5234 asks, "Any huge, amazing, great or fantastic updates on Germain Ifedi?" And @MonkTraneParker asks, "What is Germain Ifedi's status for Sunday?"

A: Ifedi, Seattle's first-round pick this year, has missed the first three games with an ankle injury, but returned to practice on a limited basis Friday and is on track to practice Wednesday Carroll stopped short of saying Ifedi will play for sure on Sunday, but he sounded optimistic about the rookie guard being ready this week. Not sure if that counts as huge, amazing, great or fantastic, but that's what I have for you.

"He's really excited about coming back," Carroll said. "He was really close last week. You wouldn't know that there's anything wrong with him at this point. He'll put the days together. He worked really hard today and he'll take a light day tomorrow, then he'll get after it and practice with us on Wednesday. That gives him a chance to get right back in there if he can put together day after day. It's really a day-to-day thing to see how he responds to the work, but today was really a big indicator that he's in good shape and ready to go."

@ByTimBooth asks, "Griffey in '16 or Vedder in '16?"

A: As someone who grew up on the late 80s/early 90s Mariners and is a huge Pearl Jam fan, this is a pretty impossible question for me, which Tim probably knows, hence him asking it. Instead, we'll go with @TaylorEdwardsNW's answer:

https://twitter.com/TaylorEdwardsNW/status/780597055735476227

@TruthisTold2U asks, "Has a cornerback ever won defensive player of the year? With 23 yards allowed in three games, what are Richard Sherman's chances?"

A: To your initial question, yes, five cornerbacks have won the Associated Press DPOY award since it began in 1971: Mel Blount in 1975, Lester Hayes in 1980, Rod Woodson in 1993, Deion Sanders in 1994 and Charles Woodson in 2009. As noted in the question, teams aren't completing much of anything against Sherman, with opponents completing just four passes for 23 yards on eight targets in three games, according to Pro Football Focus. Per PFF, Sherman is allowing 0.24 yards per snap, less than half of the next lowest total, but when it comes to big, year-end awards, Sherman would likely need to come up with a bunch of interceptions to be in contention. If Sherman shuts down opposing receivers throughout the season, he'll undoubtedly be one of the league's most valuable defensive players, but unfortunately for his award hopes, voters tend to focus on more traditional stats. Of those five corners mentioned above, all had at least six interceptions in the year they won DPOY, and Sanders and Charles Woodson both had three interception returns for touchdowns.

@jaycclee asks, "Once Nick Vannett is back, will the Hawks keep four tight ends on game day?"

A: This is a good question, and one that Carroll talked about Monday. Vannett is working his way back from an ankle injury, and it sounds like the rookie tight end will be ready to play this week, but Carroll said "it'll be a little bit difficult to figure it all out" in terms of playing time and spots on roster on gameday when seven of 53 players have to be inactive. Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson are huge parts of the offense, so they'll obviously be in the game plan, and while Brandon Williams doesn't play a lot of snaps on offense, he's an important part of Seattle's special teams units. Having four active tight ends isn't unheard of, but it could be tough if injuries leave the Seahawks needing extra bodies elsewhere. Long-term, however, the Seahawks are very excited about what Vannett will bring to the offense both as a pass-catcher and as a blocker.

@Gink_1228 asks, "Does using extra virgin vs. regular olive oil really make a difference?"

A: Of course it does. Quality matters in the kitchen, and good olive oil makes a big difference.

@wenfot asks, "Does Pete Carroll still do pranks on his team?"

A:Nope, since Carroll came to the NFL, he's been all business, all the time… Well except for those times when he plays pranks on players in team meetings, or those times he has gotten into snowball fights with Doug Baldwin on the road, or the time he called into a radio show to mess with general manager John Schneider. So yes, Carroll still knows how to have fun and not take himself too seriously.

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