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Where did John Ursua go? One stat indicates he’s far from seeing any action

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks-Training Camp Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

What happened to John Ursua?

I don’t know, and neither does Google.

When John Ursua sat out during the Seattle Seahawks’ final preseason game, it was an indication that he had secured at minimum a spot on the team, and potentially a meaningful role. His summer stats were modest in once sense –averaging 1.3 receptions per game. However, each of his catches went for over 20 yards, and his 11-yard run also pointed towards a very useful tool in what we all hoped would be an incredibly dynamic Seahawk offense.

Four weeks in, and those articles from mid-August line up with the last time many of us have even seen John Ursua. He’s played two snaps in 2019. The only offensive players who’ve seen the field less than Ursua are Joey Hunt and Travis Homer.

In case you forgot, here’s what people were saying exactly one month ago:

So fine. Rookie wide receivers take time to develop, we’ve heard it before, etc. That’s not the problem.

The concern is that Russell Wilson does not throw the ball to all to that many receivers. Wilson really likes involving his tight ends and running backs. What’s even worse (if you’re John Ursua, not at all if you’re DK Metcalf) is that Wilson thus far hasn’t changed his WR target average in 2019.

Wide Receivers targeted per game by Russell Wilson in 2018

3
3
4
4
5
3
4
3
3
5 (Jaron Brown was 0-1)
5 (including an 0-1 and a 1-1)
3
3
4
4

2018 Average: 3.5

Wide Receivers targeted per game by Russell Wilson in 2019

2
3
5
4

2019 Average: 3.5

Russ has already done something he didn’t do a single time last season in only targeting two receivers during the Cincinnati Bengals game. It took him the almost-unprecedentedly un-Seattle 50 attempts to find five different receivers last week against the Saints, and it’s clearly not been Seattle’s M.O. Even when Russ was humming and the quick-pass offense was firing on all cylinders against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he hit as many RBs as he did WRs.

Even though Wilson hit four wideouts against the Arizona Cardinals yesterday, David Moore and DK Metcalf only registered one reception apiece. Meanwhile, 13 of Wilson’s 22 completions went to the TE/RB combo of Will Dissly, Chris Carson and Luke Willson.

To make matters worse, Ursua was a healthy scratch once again as he was not activated for Sunday’s game.

Seattle’s previous opponents have actually not been good against the run. The Saints and Bengals entered Week 4 as the NFL’s 4th and 5th worst run defenses, respectively. New Orleans might get a bump up with the way they shut down Ezekiel Elliott on Sunday night.

You read that right. The team that wants to run the ball more openly than seemingly every other team has had a hard time running against teams that are bad against the run. It’s a confusing sentence because it’s a confusing problem to have. Will that stop them from attempting more runs over the next several games? Will it provide John Ursua an opportunity to find space in the flat? No, I believe it will not. Because history.

Seattle has kept seven wide receivers on the roster all season, and it’s hard to figure out why. This includes the befuddling decision to undecide to cut Gary Jennings, who’s also been completely invisible in 2019.

With David Moore back, it makes Ursua’s involvement feel a little less likely. With Malik Turner impressing once again - and then immediately disappearing yesterday, Ursua starts to feel like a distant afterthought.

One hopes that a spot for Ursua can still be carved out in this offense. I really liked his route crispness and movement after the catch in particular. Seattle feels like a good team that still has way too much to figure out at the moment. Surprising O-line problems and a one good run game out of four tries are in no way helping Ursua’s cause.

There is still cause to be patient. For comparison, it took Paul Richardson until Week 7 of his rookie season to make more than one reception, and he was a 2nd round pick. Remember too, it wasn’t all that long ago that Pete Carroll said Ursua and Jennings both were behind in learning the playbook.

So yes, it is a process for apparently all rookies not named DK Metcalf. But my concern is that Wilson will not find the breadth of receivers this year to get many opportunities sent the way of John Ursua. Maybe not this year, at least.