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Why Pollard Can Be Replaced With a Putz

Marcus Pollard posted the 5th best DVOA among tight ends last season. Marcus Pollard sucks--Sucked last season. How does that work? Well, it's called idiot proofing the tight end position. Mike Holmgren has perfected the art, and you can see it throughout his Seahawks career. Since 2000, Holmgren has divined top 20 receiving DVOA performances from such luminaries as Christian Fauria, Itula Milli, Jerramy Stevens (twice) and now Marcus Pollard. He also setup Ryan Hannam for 28.9% DVOA in 2004, but Hannam wasn't targeted enough to qualify for the top 20. The essential skill for all these tight ends, catching the ball. I'll provide a snippet from one of my game tape breakdowns to explain exactly what I mean.

I've given Holmgren some grief, above all for his insistence that nothing is wrong with shaun, but he made a real gutsy play call on 4th and inches on the Hawks opening drive that reminded me just how much I'll miss the Walrus when he retires. Here's what we need to know: Beck starts the quarter with a pass to Hacks for nine. On the next two plays Morris runs for no gain. On the second of the two, Seattle is set up in a single wide, I-back set with an accompanying H-back. It's now 4th and one on the Bears' 40, Seattle sets up in the identical formation. At the snap Beck sells play action, rolls right and delivers a strike to Marcus Pollard. The play nets 20 yards and the first. It can be argued that in general rush plays are more effective in short yardage, but given the Hawks struggles rushing for short yardage and the preceding two plays, this was an impeccable bit of play calling. Holmgren may not be long for the game, but he still shows flashes of the offensive genius that will land him in the Hall.
Simple, Holmgren sets up the play, sells it perfectly and then cashes in. All Pollard had to do was provide the hands and time-worn feet. So then, why can we be pretty sure that Jeb Putzier will be able to perform well in Holmgren's system? Well, simply enough because he's never posted a completion percentage below 60% in his career. With the exception of Stevens in 2002 and Hannam in 2005, that's all it has taken to be a productive tight end in Holmgren's offense.