*Includes all games minus Week 10, Divisional Round and the second half of Week 3 and the first half of week 1.
Weapons Grade Plutonium: A lot of things went right to allow Weaver to rush 17 yards for the score. Foremost, Weaver is an excellent rusher for a fullback. After the snap, Spencer pulls out, but doesn't engage his man. Nevertheless, his presence still functions as a pick, with which Weaver exploits perfectly, running behind Spencer until he has a clear angle to the right, then cutting towards the sideline. That's where Engram is performing a very determined downfield block. Not dominant, and maybe not even legal, but the officials were extremely permissive of holds, and what Engram did was by no means the the worst display of holding I saw in this quarter. (That would be Stephon Heyer grabbing a hold of Kerney's jersey and then falling backwards to the ground, taking Kerney with him.) At this point it's all up to Weaver to smell endzone, and he's does so admirably. Even getting airborne to cross the pylon.
Engram embodies the scouting versus statistics dilemma in the NFL. For the average fan, Engram was little more than Matt Hasselbeck’s favorite target on dink and dunk patterns underneath. An informed analyst would put him, ability wise, behind 30+ pro receivers, including teammate Deion Branch. In 100+ hours of tape study, scrutinizing the Seahawks season, player by player, play by play, I found one measly stinking highlight for Bobby Engram - blocking. But not a single lowlight. That seems to be the key to Engram’s success. He won’t reel-in a pass one handed running full speed the other direction on a crossing pattern, a la Bernard Berrian, but on 70% of the passes targeting him, flanked by the likes of Ben Obomanu and Nate Burleson for much of the season, he converted the pass, improved Seattle’s down and distance, moved the chains and through a series of 134 paper cuts, eviscerated the opposing defense. In 2007, Hasselbeck’s Defense-adjusted Points Above Replacement were an admirable 78.0, 8th in the NFL. Bobby Engram received for 32.0 of those points, 7th. Is his value an extension of Mike Holmgren’s play calling and play design, Hasselbeck’s read and the time provided by Seattle’s offensive line? Certainly. How much? I have no idea.
I don’t foresee Engram holding out, but I do think it’s as inevitable as 4th Wave Eletroniska he’ll miss time with injury. Seattle suffered no appreciable loss in the 4 ½ weeks an Engram-less, but otherwise full strength Seahawk’s passing attack bombarded the field in 2006. Engram might be slot receiver incarnate in Holmgren’s blend of the West Coast, but the problem with working an idiot-proof job is that when you fall sick, it’s quickly apparent someone else can spread the onion mayo on the Jumbo Jacks just as well. And with all do respect to Bobby Engram, one of the steadiest players in the NFL and a rock in a mercurial wide receiver corps, an honest evaluation of who needs who more is due.