We’ll continue our Countdown to Training Camp with another question involving a backup job that got a little more uncertain during the off-season — if not in the way the Seahawks would have liked.
In what was the one real disappointment of the OTA/mini-camp sessions for the Seahawks, backup tight end Anthony McCoy was lost for the season with an Achilles injury.
That leaves the Seahawks with second-year player Sean McGrath (above in an AP photo) and rookie fifth-round draft pick Luke Willson to now handle the backup duties (though worth noting there are three other tight ends on the roster in Victor Marshall, Darren Fells and Cooper Helfet, all undrafted free agents).
McCoy caught 18 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns last season and projected again as a key part of the offense working behind Zach Miller, or in tandem with him in two-tight end sets, before his injury.
Neither McGrath, who got eight snaps last season, or Willson has caught an NFL pass.
Adding one more slight hint of worry to the situation is that Miller sat out the mini-camp with a foot injury (that was unrelated to the injury he suffered in the playoff game against Atlanta), though it was portrayed as not being serious and his absence more precautionary than anything.
Said Carroll in June about Miller:
“He’s got a sore foot so we’re just resting it. I think we know exactly what is going on and it’s not going to be a serious problem, but he needs a little rest. He’s worked great, he’s had great work in the OTA’s, so it does give the other guys a chance to step up and get some good, focused work. It’s really good for Luke Willson to get a chance to jump in, Sean McGrath as well. Those guys are getting extra turns so it’s a good deal.”
McGrath is generally portrayed as more of a blocker than a receiver. But he showed good hands during the OTAs and mini-camp, with Carroll several times singling him out for praise (here’s a story on McGrath from May).
“Sean is stronger and quicker,” Carroll said then. “He’s gained about 8-to-10 pounds, he just looks great. He’s always been able to catch the football really well, now that he knows what he’s doing and he’s become a regular part of it, he’s in the rotation right now.”
The Seahawks took Willson in part due to his rather uncommon speed for a tight end (he had 4.57 and 4.46 40 times at Rice’s Pro Day) and that was on display often during the OTAs and mini-camp. But as Carroll also said a few times during May and June, what will determine how much Willson will be able to contribute this season is how well he adjusts to blocking and playing physically up front.
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