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Matt Flynn dropped back on a third down, with four yards to go. He spotted tight end Anthony McCoy a few yards beyond the line to gain, and threaded a pass right where it needed to be. McCoy dropped the pass. He does that. A lot. Twitter lit up with outrage, and things got no better when little-known rookie tight end Sean McGrath made a couple catches, causing a number of folks to name him McCoy’s replacement. Not so fast.
Seattle has six tight ends on their roster, but they do not all play the same position. Zach Miller is what is called a “Y” tight end. He has the more classic tight end double duty of lining up with the offensive line and must therefore be able to pass/run block, and go out for a pass. Most fans considered Miller’s 2011 season a major disappointment because he caught so few passes, but his blocking was fantastic. Seattle does not start running the ball like they did in the second half of the season without Miller’s blocking. Kellen Winslow Jr. is the classic H-back who is far more relied upon for receiving than blocking. In many cases, an H-back is split out like a receiver. The skill sets required for an H versus a Y are as different as a run stuffing defensive end like Red Bryant and a pass rushing defensive end like Bruce Irvin. Take a look at the six tight ends on the Seahawks roster.
Y Tight Ends
H-back Tight Ends
Kellen Winslow Jr.
Certain formations, like short yardage, call for multiple Y tight ends. Winslow may be a great addition to the team, but he will not be the guy coaches or fans will want to see blocking in a short yardage situation. McCoy is a quality blocker. He has the potential to be more than that. It is easy to miss noticing that all these egregious drops are coming when the guy is wide open. He can be a productive pass catcher, but needs to take it seriously enough to work on it. This was a guy drafted only two years ago. Not every player reaches their potential in 1-2 years. Most take longer.
The news that Zach Miller suffered another concussion makes McCoy that much more valuable. His drops will be aggravating. Hopefully, they will be fewer in number. Just get used to seeing him in a Seahawks uniform.