By Danny O’Neil
What should be one of the best opportunities in Seattle’s offense has turned out to be one of the worst jobs.
It is one of the most inexplicable realities for Pete Carroll’s Seahawks because this is a franchise that has tried so very hard to have a dangerous No. 2 tight end.
Seattle’s plans for its No. 2 tight end again went awry when Anthony McCoy tore his Achilles tendon last week. (AP)
It was true in 2011 when Seattle signed Zach Miller as a free agent and hoped to pair him with John Carlson. At least that was the plan until Carlson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during training camp.
And in 2012, Seattle traded for Kellen Winslow only to waive him a week before the regular season started after he refused to take the paycut the team believed he had committed to.
Now, it’s Anthony McCoy, the sixth-round pick who was entering his fourth season, an undeniable talent who had been maddeningly unpredictable with a penchant for dropped passes. And now McCoy is out, having suffered a torn Achilles tendon during offseason workouts.
The injury leaves Seattle with Luke Willson, the fifth-round pick who was Rice’s back-up tight end last year. He is the fastest tight end on Seattle’s roster, but someone who only caught nine passes as a senior. Sean McGrath is the next likely in line.
So why’s that such a big deal? We’re talking about the back-up tight end, but that gets to the heart of why it is so important with Seattle’s offense.
The Seahawks want to run the ball first and foremost, which is one of the reasons Miller has been so valuable to the team even as his receiving totals declined from his first four years in Oakland. Putting a second tight end into the formation forces defenses into a decision: Load up against the run with the extra blocker or honor the fact that two tight ends gives the Seahawks an extra pass-catching threat.
For the third consecutive season, Seattle’s plans for the player at that No. 2 tight end have changed. It doesn’t mean it won’t work out for the Seahawks. What it does mean, though, is more pressure has been placed on Willson to contribute immediately.