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Will Dissly goes the distance

I’m not talking about touchdowns, either.

NFL: JAN 03 Seahawks at 49ers Photo by Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the overlooked stories of the 2020 Seattle Seahawks campaign was the fact that tight end Will Dissly, coming off his second catastrophic injury in as many seasons, didn’t miss any game this year.

If you need a rewind, Dissly’s promising rookie year came to a crashing halt after he suffered a ruptured patella tendon. This was the same injury that felled Victor Cruz and he was never the same, and it’s also what Jimmy Graham had in his first year with the Seahawks. Dissly came back strongly in 2019 and through six weeks he was among the NFL’s best in catches (23), yards (262), and touchdowns (4) before an Achilles rupture wiped out the rest of his sophomore year.

Short of an Alex Smith-style leg break you really can’t get much worse than having those injuries in the span of a year. Jacob Hollister became the primary TE target for the remainder of the season and the Seahawks signed Greg Olsen last offseason as Dissly recovered from surgery.

Dissly had two more targets this year than in his injury-shortened 2019, and while he did have 24 catches for 251 yards and 2 touchdowns his average depth of target plunged from 9.5 to 4.8 yards. This play was from his rookie season but it just highlights an element that I believe is missing from the Seahawks passing offense.

Or even this seam throw is just simply something Russell Wilson really seemed to have great chemistry with Dissly that he does not with the other tight ends on the roster.

But it’s an achievement in and of itself that the former University of Washington standout was able to get back onto the field and produce at a significant level. And while the Seahawks’ usage of Dissly was not in line with the previous two seasons, we still got to see some glimpses of pre-injury Uncle Will in the form of this wheel route to beat Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Wilson.

How the Seahawks offense would’ve looked with a healthy Dissly in 2018 and 2019 is obviously a “what-if?” and nothing more. I suspect that a healthy Dissly in 2019 with continued strong statistics would have completely wiped out the ill-fated $7 million signing of Greg Olsen. I suppose it’s ironic that Dissly was completely healthy this year and arguably the TE3 on the team while Olsen was the one who got injured.

Next season is Dissly’s end of his rookie deal and I assume that with Olsen retired and Jacob Hollister a free agent, it’ll be him and Colby Parkinson (whom I’m particularly high on) atop the TE depth chart. Hopefully with both men healthy again and with a new offensive coordinator who comes from a team known for its great usage of TEs, we see Uncle Will and Colby as major players in Seattle’s offense in 2021.