Seahawks Takeaways: Will Dissly does something Jimmy Graham never did
The mood around the Seahawks is a lot better this Monday than last Monday.
Instead of licking their wounds after an embarrassing loss to the New Orleans Saints at home, the Hawks return to Seattle on the heels of a complete 27-10 victory over NFC West rival Arizona in the desert.
Let’s break down a few things that stand out after Sunday’s win:
Will Dissly: Jimmy Graham without having to be Jimmy Graham
Remember how generally unhappy people were with Jimmy Graham or the Seahawks’ usage of him while he was in Seattle?
Strictly looking at numbers in the passing game, Graham was essentially the most productive tight end the Seahawks have ever had. No, he didn’t put up the bonkers numbers he did for New Orleans, but he was very good at times for Seattle, registering 923 receiving yards in 2016, 10 touchdown receptions in 2017 and making the Pro Bowl each of those years. But, you know, he was Jimmy Graham – he cost a lot and wasn’t going to be a good blocker no matter how much the Seahawks wanted him to be. So, in general, Graham’s time in Seattle isn’t remembered very fondly.
Now let’s talk about the Seahawks’ new top tight end, Will Dissly.
Dissly did not cost Seattle a Pro Bowl center and a first-round pick (with a fourth-rounder coming back) like Graham did. He was just a fourth-round pick who took a short boat ride across Lake Washington to get to Seahawks headquarters from Husky Stadium. He also wasn’t expected to be a catch-first tight end as his reputation was more as a blocking tight end coming out of Montlake.
Well, Dissly has played eight career games now (his rookie season was cut short by a similar patellar injury to the one that ended Graham’s 2015 season prematurely), and he’s been an absolute force in the passing game. He caught his fourth touchdown of the year and sixth of his career in the win over the Cardinals, and he led Seattle in catches (seven), targets (eight) and receiving yards (57) on Sunday.
Dissly’s performance in Arizona was his third straight game with at least five receptions, 50 yards and a touchdown. You know who never did that while with the Seahawks? Jimmy Graham. To be fair, Graham did have a three-game stretch in 2016 where he had at least six catches and 89 yards or more in each game (including a pair of games of 100 yards or more), and while Dissly has been good, he is unlikely to become a weekly threat to explode for 100-plus yards, mainly because that’s not what Seattle asks of him.
Still, looking at Dissly’s numbers this season and Graham’s from his time with the Seahawks, they are fairly comparable. Dissly is averaging 45.3 receiving yards per game and a touchdown a game. During his time with Seattle, Graham averaged 47.6 yards per game, and his best touchdown per game mark for Seattle was 0.63 in 2017. Obviously Dissly still has to prove he can continue to be productive, and you can’t expect a tight end to keep catching a touchdown every game. You also need to factor in that Arizona has been terrible at defending tight ends this year.
Regardless, the point stands that for at least for four weeks to start the season, the Seahawks have received Jimmy Graham-like production from a player who doesn’t have to worry about literally being Jimmy Graham. And don’t forget that he can block and is on a rookie contract. Maybe 710 ESPN Seattle host and former NFL linebacker Dave Wyman was right in saying Dissly may eventually be known as the best tight end in Seahawks history.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) September 29, 2019
Let’s talk about Jadeveon Clowney’s arms
Have you seen them? They’re amazing. According to Clowney’s NFL combine profile, his arms are 34 1/2 inches long, and that’s quite an asset when you put them on a 6-foot-5 pass-rusher who runs a 4.53 40-yard dash. Those arms made all the difference on the play that set the tone for the Seahawks’ win over the Cardinals, too.
We already knew about Clowney’s arms after what he did in his first two games with the Seahawks, batting down a pass in each of the wins over the Bengals and Steelers. But then he did the most ridiculous thing against the Cardinals, somehow reaching back with his left hand to deflect and then pick off a short Kyler Murray pass. After that it was nothing but smooth sailing because I don’t know if you know this, but Jadeveon Clowney is some kinda athlete, and when all that stands between him and the end zone is J.R. Sweezy, sorry J.R. but that one’s going to the house.
It’s not all that surprising that it was Clowney’s first career pick-six. Completely and utterly dumbfounding, however, is that it was actually Clowney’s first career interception in six years as a pro. I mean, I know he’s a defensive end, but considering how much of an impact he’s had in defending the pass in four short games with Seattle, you just would figure it’s something he does all the time. Apparently he had never been in the right place at the right time before Sunday.
Either way, the Seahawks sure got themselves a gem in the 2014 No. 1 overall pick.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) September 29, 2019
OK, but how good are the Seahawks really?
The Seahawks have started the 2019 season with a 3-1 record, and nobody can take that away from them. OK, maybe, like, the commissioner could, but he doesn’t have any reason to and… sorry, I got off track there.
So yes, the Seahawks are 3-1, but there are holes in that record that are pretty easy to poke right now.
First of all, the Seahawks’ victories have come against opponents who enter Monday with a combined zero wins through the first four weeks of the NFL season. That number will be one after the Steelers and Bengals play on Monday night, unless they tie, which frankly would be hilarious.
The Seahawks’ one loss, meanwhile, came against a New Orleans Saints team quarterbacked by backup Teddy Bridgewater. Seattle looked pretty rough in that 33-27 defeat, and while Bridgewater and the Saints won again Sunday against the Cowboys, you should keep that Week 3 loss in the back of your mind.
Because while the Seahawks played about as well as you could expect in Arizona, the Cardinals clearly aren’t the same caliber as the Saints. And though Seattle’s secondary had its best game and Chris Carson looked like himself for the first time all season, the Seahawks are four days away from meeting the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams on short rest.
How real are the Seahawks’ defensive backs, top rusher and their 3-1 record? I guess we’ll find out Thursday.