TE Stevens Key For Hawks

The Seahawks are expecting tight end Jerramy Stevens to be available Sunday, but there are no guarantees.

At this time last week, the Seahawks were anxious to get tight end Jerramy Stevens back in the offense.

Stevens had practiced all week, and coach Mike Holmgren projected up to 30 snaps for his former first-round draft choice. Stevens was coming off his second knee surgery of the year, but all signs pointed to him playing against the Rams.

Didn't happen. Stevens didn't feel right Saturday night, and Holmgren made him inactive the next day.

A similar scenario has played out this week. Stevens has practiced every day, including Thursday. He has not even been listed on the injury report, same as last week. But there are no guarantees that the 6-7, 255-pound tight end will play against the Vikings on Sunday.

Much will depend on how Stevens feels Friday.

The offense isn't the same without Stevens because backup Itula Mili is getting older and lacks the ability to cause matchup problems downfield. Mili has also had some injuries. The other tight end, Will Heller, is not the same kind of athlete. Heller is better as a blocker than receiver, but he has caught every pass thrown his way — all three of them — including one for a touchdown.

The injury situation at tight end has all but eliminated two-tight end sets from Holmgren's offense. The team has run only 16 plays with two tight ends this season, leading to more four-receiver sets and less productivity in the running game.

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