Dissly's emergence helps ease any lingering concern about the status of free agent signee Ed Dickson.
On a running play on first-and-10 from the Minnesota 33 late in the second quarter Friday, Will Dissly locked on to Viking defensive end Brian Robison and pushed and pushed and pushed again until the two finally disengaged at about the 27.
The block alternately cleared the way for an eight-yard gain for Mike Davis while making even clearer that Dissly is on his way to fulfilling the role the Seahawks envisioned when taking him in the fourth round of the draft last April.
“That’s exactly what we hoped for,’’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this week of Dissly’s run blocking in the Minnesota game.
It’s an emergence that also helps the Seahawks whether the increasingly curious absence of Ed Dickson, an eight-year veteran signed to a three-year deal worth up to $10.7 million in March to help replace the losses of free agents Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson
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Dickson, though, has yet to practice, remaining on the Non-Football Injury list with a quad strain suffered in offseason conditioning. Carroll said last week the Seahawks are hoping Dickson can return for the regular season opener Sept. 9 at Denver and that there was still enough time for him to get the work he’d need to be ready.
But with Dickson still out this week, at this point the most he’ll get are a few practices next week when the preparation turns to gameplanning for the Broncos.
And that means the Seahawks could well be relying on the tight ends they have through the preseason — third-year player Nick Vannett, who has been the starter with Dickson out, and Dissly, who famously converted to tight end late in his sophomore year at UW after beginning his career as a defensive end.
Depending on what happens with Dickson the Seahawks may also keep Tyrone Swoopes, who has been the third tight end throughout camp. Kyle Carter, a third-year player claimed off waivers from the Giants in July, has also been getting a lot of work in practices of late.
But it’s Dissly showing early signs of making good on the claim that he was the best blocking tight end available in the draft that could transform the position for the Seahawks this season and far into the future.
“Will is just getting going,’’ Carroll said this week. “A lot of things we’ve done, he’s only repeated them a few times on the field. He’s got a lot of growth in him. He’s really smart, it makes sense to him. He’s very accountable, and he’s just going to keep getting better. Physically he’s good enough to really be a factor, so that’s a big improvement us …. He really brings something that we’ve needed.”
Recall that the Seahawks valued Dissly enough that they initially passed on taking Shaquem Griffin to instead draft Dissly with the 120th overall pick. They then waited nervously until they were also able to take Griffin at 141.
“I think it’s a great pick,’’ Carroll said. “(Seahawks general manager) John (Schneider) was on this one right from the start.’’
Getting a true feeling it could pay off, though, took a little time. Teams can’t hit during the offseason program and then ease into full contact in training camp, so the Seahawks didn’t really get a sense of where Dissly was physically until the first week of August or so.
But once the pads began popping, so did the excitement about what the Seahawks think they have in Dissly.
After the first preseason game against the Colts, Carroll cited Dissly’s block as the key in Russell Wilson having time to hit Tyler Lockett for 14 yards to convert a third down and key an opening touchdown drive.
“Just locks him out,’’ Carroll said.
Then came Friday and the blasting out of Robison into almost another time zone.
“That was a great designed run,’’ Dissly downplayed a few days later when asked about his block. “We got the ball on the edge and I had good leverage and I was just able to be in position. We are doing a lot of cool things, keeping the defensive ends honest. They can’t really have a great get-off because we are running zone (and) running gap schemes. So it’s a cool offense to be a part of and I’m just trying to do my job I guess.’’
Dissly similarly ah-shucksed what he’s done so far in the preseason as a whole, saying “there are a lot of good things to take away from those games’’ and as he has several other times, credited having played against the likes of Vita Vea during his time at UW and then practicing against veteran Seahawks with getting him prepared for going against NFL players.
“It’s nice to know going in that ‘okay, you’ve competed against some of the best that the league has to offer’ and then going out there and executing against another opponent,’’ he said.
Executing a pretty good way to put what he did in Minnesota Friday.