Bumpus: Why Seahawks are finding so much success with 3 TEs

Nov 9, 2022, 2:23 PM

Seahawks Will Dissly...

Seahawks TE Will Dissly celebrates with his teammates after a touchdown on Oct. 2, 2022. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The tight ends are playing a bigger role in the Seahawks’ offense this season, and a big reason is that Seattle is regularly utilizing 13 personnel, which is a name for an offensive formation that features one running back (the 1 in 13) and three tight ends (the 3).

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The Seahawks are playing impressively balanced offense, ranking seventh in the NFL in rushing yards and ninth in passing yards. Seattle’s tight ends are due some credit for both of those numbers as blockers in the run game and targets for quarterback Geno Smith in the pass game.

Tuesday on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy, former NFL wide receiver and current Seahawks analyst Michael Bumpus detailed why 13 personnel is proving to be so valuable for the team’s balance.

“It’s successful because when you trot out three tight ends, (the defense has to) have a personnel that matches up with that,” Bumpus told Stacy Rost, his Bump and Stacy co-host. “You got to bring a big boy (look), you can’t get in your nickel (formation)… Get in your base defense, typically you have either four linebackers or three linebackers (because) it is a run-heavy formation.”

As you might expect with a team coached by Pete Carroll, the Seahawks like this because they can establish the run and then work off of that.

“It’s successful in the run because these tight ends can block. They’re good with angles, the cohesion of that offensive line is great, everyone’s getting to their spots and then the running back runs off their rear ends and it’s beautiful,” Bumpus said. “Now why is it successful in the pass game? Because the run game has been so successful, and now you have linebackers trying to run with these tight ends and it just doesn’t work that way.”

Bumpus went on to explain how Seattle takes advantage once the run game led by rookie running back Kenneth Walker III is established, especially with Smith running bootlegs.

“What the Hawks do a great job with their 13 personnel is that (if) they are showing a run to the right and they have a heavy set formation, three tight ends to the right side, they typically bring a tight end underneath the formation and run underneath the opposite way for a boot. There’s so much chaos and confusion going on in the box, those linebackers lose that tight end, and that’s why we’re seeing ‘Uncle’ Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson, Noah Fant underneath wide open. Then when you do that, say you run the boot to the right (and) you have the tight end on the outside to the right side, now he’s running across the street, he’s got a No. 50-something (linebacker) guarding him.

“So it’s all about matchups but it starts with the run. They’re great (at) blocking linebackers and linemen and all that good stuff, but then the deception is there. Ken Walker makes this go, the O-line makes this go, it forces you to match up, and Geno does a great job selling the boot.”

You can listen to the full discussion in the Four-Down Territory segment from Bump and Stacy in the player below.

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Bumpus: Why Seahawks are finding so much success with 3 TEs