With Robinson gone, Engram catching on
He caught 13-yard TD on ‘Koren’s old play’
MIKE SANDO; The News Tribune
Last updated: August 14th, 2005 10:11 AM (PDT)

NEW ORLEANS – Coach Mike Holmgren has been unwavering in his support of Bobby Engram as the Seattle Seahawks’ No. 2 receiver.

Two minutes and seven seconds into the team’s first exhibition game, Engram showed why. His 13-yard touchdown reception against New Orleans on Friday night came on the Seahawks’ second play.

Engram, 32, was making his first start in place of Koren Robinson, who was released in June after a string of off-field incidents. Engram beat a linebacker for the game’s first touchdown.

“That’s Koren’s old play, and (Engram) did a good job getting into the end zone,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “And so it’s good. We’re all getting to know each other again.”

The Seahawks finished the 2004 season with the NFL’s 10th-ranked offense. And while offensive coordinator Gil Haskell was pleased with the effort Friday night in a 34-15 win, the offense will need some time to reach peak efficiency again.

“It’s a new season,” Hasselbeck said. “Just like Gil always says to us, ‘You are not as good as you were in your last game. You have to build back up to that.’

“This was a good start.”

Some started better than others. Jerheme Urban, one of the better receivers early in camp, dropped a 27-yard pass from backup quarterback Seneca Wallace. He dropped another pass during the team’s scrimmage last week.

Coach Mike Holmgren alluded to the drops after the game, although he did not mention Urban by name.

“It’s tough as a wide receiver,” Hasselbeck said. “You don’t get too many opportunities, so when you get opportunities, you want to make them great.

“(Urban) didn’t have the kind of night he is capable of, but he is physically a very tough kid and he is mentally very tough also. I don’t think this will faze him. But I’m sure he’s disappointed, especially just because of how hard he has worked.”

Urban had offseason surgery for a stress fracture in his foot.

Injuries also hurt Engram last season. He is healthy now, however, and relishing the chance to become more than just a third-down receiver confined to working the middle of the field.

“I’m excited about the possibilities of being able to go outside a little more,” Engram said earlier in training camp. “I’ve talked to Coach Holmgren, and he knows I want to be a slot guy; I want to go inside second and third down, three- and four-receiver sets.

“But on first and second down, when we have only two receivers on the field, I want to have an opportunity to be one of those guys. I feel good.”

Engram once caught 88 passes in a season during his early years with the Chicago Bears. His role changed upon arriving in Seattle, primarily because the team had drafted Robinson and Darrell Jackson to fill the top two spots.

“(Engram) desperately wanted a start at split end, and he is getting a chance to do that,” Holmgren said. “He will do the things he does well.”

Engram’s experience has helped smooth the transition.

“My story has not changed,” Engram said. “I was willing to kind of do that because it was going to help the team win. I just tried to excel at that.

“Whenever you excel at something, that is how people see you. Perception is reality. Hopefully I can do some different things this year to break that mold.”