Heaps: Third downs will be why Olsen leads Seahawks TEs in receptions
The Seahawks suddenly have one of the NFL’s most crowded and dangerous tight end rooms after the team signed Greg Olsen this offseason and drafted Colby Parkinson and Stephen Sullivan. Those three join an already capable trio in Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister and Luke Willson.
We know the Seahawks’ top two targets will be wide receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, who formed one of the best receiver duos in the league last year, but star quarterback Russell Wilson has used his tight ends as a sort of “safety blanket” throughout his career, as shown with Hollister last season and Dissly in his 10 career games the last two years. Now, the team will have two rookies and a potential future Hall of Famer in Olsen joining the fray.
With only so much love to go around in terms of who gets targets and catches, Tom Wassell of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy asked co-host Jake Heaps, a former Seahawks quarterback, which of Seattle’s tight ends will finish the 2020 season in receptions.
“You write this down, Tom, and I hope you write this in Sharpie, because I know who’s going to lead the team in receptions (at tight end) in 2020,” he said. “The person who’s leading the tight ends in receptions in 2020 is none other than your significant signing in Greg Olsen.”
Olsen has been one of the league’s best tight ends for years, entering the NFL in 2007 as a first-round pick by the Chicago Bears. He enjoyed the best years of his career with the Carolina Panthers, where he was a three-time Pro Bowler and had over 1,000 yards three times.
The Panthers parted ways with Olsen this offseason as part of a franchise rebuild under new head coach Matt Rhule. Olsen had four choices for his next career path: The Seahawks, the Washington Redskins, the Buffalo Bills or retiring and starting his career in NFL broadcasting.
He chose to continue playing and signed a one-year deal worth up to $8 million with the Seahawks in their first move of the offseason. Now, Olsen will have a chance to join a perennial playoff team and catch passes from Wilson, who is one of the top two or three quarterbacks in the league.
Heaps says there’s one situation that Olsen thrives in that will make him more valuable in the passing game than Dissly, who was one of the Seahawks’ leading receivers in 2018 and 2019 before he suffered season-ending injuries both years.
“I’m a big believer in Greg Olsen, a big believer of his impact and I think he’s going to have a really good influence on this team in terms of what he’s going to be able to provide in third down situations,” Heaps said. “And to me, look, Will Dissly is a tremendous football player that I know everybody is excited about, but the reality is this: In my mind, Will Dissly will absolutely be on the field on first and second downs, and he could be on the field on third down if you’re in 12 personnel, meaning two tight ends (are) on the field. But if you’re asking one tight end to be part of the formation in third down, I’m putting Greg Olsen there every single time.”
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