Heaps: Olsen ‘very capable,’ wants to be ‘big-time player’ for Seahawks

Jul 22, 2020, 1:22 PM

Seahawks TE Greg Olsen...

Jake Heaps said Seahawks TE Greg Olsen makes catching a football "look so easy." (Getty)


A recent NFL.com article by Cynthia Frelund listed her picks for the most improved player on each team in the NFC. Her choice for the Seahawks was a bit of a surprise because, well, he wasn’t on the team last year.

Seahawks projected rookie roles: What to expect from Brooks, Taylor

Frelund picked 35-year-old tight end Greg Olsen, who signed with the Seahawks early in the offseason after he was released by the rebuilding Carolina Panthers. A three-time Pro Bowler in Carolina, Olsen joins a crowded tight end room in Seattle after a few down years with the Panthers. His signing was a big one for Seattle as star quarterback Russell Wilson loves throwing to tight ends, as evidenced in the NFL.com story, which says Seahawks tight ends have caught 73% of their targets the last two seasons.

After playing in just 16 total games between 2017 and 2018 due to foot injuries – those seasons coming on the heels of his third consecutive 1,000-yard season – he appeared in 14 games in 2019 and finished with 52 catches for 597 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers may not stand out for someone of Olsen’s status, but he was playing with backup quarterback for nearly every game.

Now, Olsen will be catching passes from Wilson, who is seen as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Wilson’s personal quarterback coach is Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy, who has had the opportunity this offseason to workout with both Wilson and Olsen. Heaps told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant that he watched Olsen’s tape from 2019 and saw someone who is healthy and ready to contribute again in 2020.

“I saw a player who was able to overcome his two injury-plagued seasons and do what he was just described as on NFL.com: having incredible hands, having incredible awareness, finds zones, (having) just an incredible feel for the game and is a guy who is not completely over the hill in terms of his physical abilities that some people might want to point him out to be,” he said.

Olsen has been in the league since 2007 and in his prime was seen as one of the fastest, most explosive tight ends in the league. That speed isn’t what it once was, but Heaps said the veteran can still move very well.

“I think he is a very, very capable player in this league still and he might not have the same wheels, but I’ll tell you this, guys, he can still flat-out run, he can still fly,” Heaps said. “This is not (former Cowboys tight end and current Raider) Jason Witten who is just hanging on by a thread here. And I’ve had the ability to throw with him and I’ve been with him and it matches everything up that I saw on film.”

One area that stood out to Heaps was Olsen’s mindset heading into his 14th NFL season.

“He is an intense guy, he’s going to be a leader on the team,” he said. “He’s not going to be backing down from anybody in the sense of ‘well, I’m just a vet who’s here to push the young kids along and get the young whippersnappers in place before I leave and go do my analyst job.’ He wants to make an impact. He wants to be a big-time player.”

In terms of more physical traits, Heaps had nothing but rave reviews about Olsen’s ability to catch the football.

“He is butter, absolute butter with his hands and makes it look so easy,” Heaps said. “So for a guy like Russell Wilson who has enjoyed throwing to tight ends the last couple of seasons, particularly in blitz situations, I think Greg Olsen is just what the doctor ordered and the big thing is obviously if he can stay healthy, I think NFL.com is 100% right.”

Listen to the entire second hour of Wednesday’s Danny and Gallant, with Michael Bumpus in for Danny O’Neil, at this link or in the player below.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps on Twitter.

Clayton: Latest on Gordon, Dunbar as Seahawks head into camp

Danny and Gallant

Seahawks Alex Collins...

Brent Stecker

Huard: What do Seahawks do at No. 2 RB with Alex Collins, Rashaad Penny?

Alex Collins was impressive this preseason, but was it enough to earn the job as the Seahawks' backup to Chris Carson over Rashaad Penny?

3 years ago

Seahawks Darrell Taylor...

Paul Gallant

Gallant: 4 takeaways after Seahawks wrap up preseason with win

Paul Gallant takes stock of the Seahawks after they wrapped up the preseason with a 27-0 win over the Chargers on Saturday night.

3 years ago

Seahawks TE Gerald Everett...

Brandon Gustafson

Bumpus: Why TE Gerald Everett will be Seahawks’ most impactful offseason addition

When it comes to every new player the Seahawks added this offseason, Michael Bumpus is counting on TE Gerald Everett to stand out the most.

3 years ago

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson...

Paul Gallant

Gallant: Will Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, a pioneer of mobile QBs, adapt into his 30s?

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has been a mobile QB for his whole career, but Paul Gallant hopes he'll consider a few things as he loses a step.

3 years ago

Mariners OF Kyle Lewis...

Brandon Gustafson

Jerry Dipoto Show: His future with the Mariners, Flexen’s consistency, Lewis’ return

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto joined Danny & Gallant to talk about the playoff race, his future in Seattle, and the close return of a key player.

3 years ago

Seahawks John Reid...

Brandon Gustafson

Bumpus: What the addition of John Reid means for Seahawks’ CB room

The Seahawks traded for second-year CB John Reid this week. Michael Bumpus breaks down what that means for Seattle's CB competition.

3 years ago

Heaps: Olsen ‘very capable,’ wants to be ‘big-time player’ for Seahawks