It’s Wednesday which means we’re handing out grades once again to the Seahawks personnel groups. We’ve already covered running backs, wide receivers and quarterbacks. Today we’re going to talk about Seattle’s tight ends and try to come up with an objective grade for the group as a whole.
As with the other positions, the grades will be skewed more towards rating the starters as they’re the ones who will be on the field most of the time. The backups will play into the decision as well but not as much. We’ll rank the Seahawks tight ends in three key areas: blocking, receiving, and intangibles.
Zach Miller is not going to lead the league in touchdowns anytime soon but he is a serviceable blocker depending on the situation. We’ll have to break this down into two separate categories: pass blocking (D) and run blocking (B).
In case you didn’t get a chance to watch the Seahawks play in 2013 at all, their pass blocking was pretty abysmal. The offensive line was ranked dead last in pass protection by Football Outsiders for the season. That’s part of the reason Darrell Bevell used Miller as a glorified third offensive tackle on so many snaps. Unfortunately his presence didn’t help out a whole lot.
Back in December Pro Football Focus ranked each tight end for their pass blocking effiency last season and Miller came in at number 34 overall:
Part of the problem is Miller’s quickness. While he’s certainly got the size of a prototypical tight end (6’5″, 255 lbs) he sometimes has trouble picking up blitzers. That could be part of the reason the Seahawks drafted speed demon Luke Willson last year.
Fortunately Miller is a far more reliable blocker in Seattle’s rushing attack. Paired with fullback Michael Robinson, he has been a crucial element in springing Marshawn Lynch loose for a number of big runs since joining the Seahawks.