Over the past year, the Seattle Seahawks tight end room has been called into question. Noah Fant, who was acquired in the Russell Wilson trade, is the projected starter for 2023 but the former first-rounder has been consistently inconsistent. Behind him on the depth chart is fan favorite Will Dissly, who hasn’t quite been the same player since his back-to-back season-ending injuries in 2018 and 2019. Then there’s Colby Parkinson, who struggled with his own injuries and didn’t see major playing time until last year.
Despite those questions, it’s a group that, in addition to Tyler Mabry, scored 10 touchdowns last season with over 100 combined catches. Touchdowns aren’t exactly an indicator of year-to-year success, but that type of production does give some hope to Seahawks fans for what looks like a rather shallow position group. Over the course of the week, we are going to review all 10 touchdowns from Seattle tight ends in 2022, starting with the first five.
Will Dissly #1 (vs. Denver Broncos)
Geno Smith & Will Dissly (38-yd TD)— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 13, 2022
Will Dissly had 12.1 yards of separation from the nearest defender when he caught the ball, the most target separation on a completion traveling 10+ air yards allowed by the Broncos over the last five seasons.#DENvsSEA | #Seahawks pic.twitter.com/BXSzNzs14U
There is open, and then there is what Will Dissly was on this play. At the time of the catch, the next closest defender was 10 yards away from him and that resulted in what was maybe the easiest touchdown of Dissly’s career. Based on the Next Gen Stats graphic, the Denver Broncos were in Cover 1 man with Randy Gregory acting as the hook zone defender. Bradley Chubb was tasked with taking Dissly who looked like he was supposed to run a deep over. However, once Geno Smith leaves the pocket, Chubb steps up and leaves Dissly wide open, which results in Dissly changing course to present Geno with the easy pitch and catch for the touchdown.
Colby Parkinson #1 (vs. Denver Broncos)
This is a fantastic post-snap read by Geno Smith. Based on what I can tell, the Broncos were in a Cover 3 zone defense meaning the seam route, which Parkinson was running, was his first read. If the linebacker, Jonas Griffith sinks with the route, Geno progresses to Tyler Lockett, who is running an over-ball route to the sticks. Griffith does sink with Parkinson, but he does not do it quick enough which opens up the seam shot for Geno to hit which he does so by delivering a perfectly thrown ball.
Dissly #2 (vs. Atlanta Falcons)
Will Dissly touchdown pic.twitter.com/fGlojLp0se— Rapinas do Mar (Cortes) (@cortesrapinas) September 26, 2022
On this play it looks like the Atlanta Falcons are in a Cover 4 zone, meaning the shots to hit are behind the linebackers and in front of the two middle half safeties. Falcons rookie linebacker Troy Anderson, the defense’s left middle linebacker, who is in a hook zone, plays this really poorly as his hips are facing the outside for most of the play. This essentially prevents Anderson from being able to cover Dissly on any route that is thrown to the inside. As a result, the stick nod route which was called for Dissly is the perfect way to attack Anderson. Once Dissly hits him with the outside step it all but takes Anderson out of the play, allowing Geno to make the somewhat easy throw to Dissly for his second score of the season.
Dissly #3 (vs. Detroit Lions)
Que belo passe de Geno Smith para Will Dissly, que é uma arma subestimada na redzone. pic.twitter.com/3hOOnb71iy— Rapinas do Mar (Cortes) (@cortesrapinas) October 2, 2022
This is almost perfect coverage by Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph, but as the saying goes, there is no defense for a perfectly thrown ball, which is what Geno Smith delivers. Overall, it is a pretty average seam route by Dissly that includes him stumbling out of his pre-snap stance. He is slow throughout the route, but he does get his eyes back quickly enough to locate the ball and time his jump. The one impressive thing Dissly did on the play is flash his hands late. If he showed them a bit earlier, there is a chance Joseph would have been able to get his hands in the passing lane. But, because of the timing in which Dissly brought them up, Seattle was able to put six points on the board.
Noah Fant #1 (vs. Detroit Lions)
This was nothing more than a lack of communication on the Lions part. Seattle is running a rub route at the top of the screen where Tyler Lockett effectively sets a pick on Joseph, who is tasked with covering Fant. Joseph then reacts to the pick by carrying Lockett to the inside and coming off of Fant. That adjustment by Joseph does lend me to believe that pre-snap Detroit had it in place that if there is a rub route, Lockett’s defender will come off of him and pick up Fant in the flat which he did not do. Due to the lack of communication Fant is able to get wide open and pick up the easy score, his first as a Seahawk.
Part 2 is coming your way on Thursday!