The Seahawks didn’t get a lot of production out of the TE position in 2012. Injuries played a big roll in that, as did the offensive line. You’re not going to see huge receiving numbers out of the TEs when they are always being used as blockers.
Zach Miller didn’t put up the type of pro-bowl numbers that many people expected, but that had nothing to do with his play. Miller was solid in all aspects of the game, especially blocking. Miller’s receiving numbers were handicapped by the fact that he spent almost every snap as a blocker, and not as a receiver, trying to help the Seahawk’s young offensive line. As the line play improved, so did Miller’s contribution in the passing game.
John Carlson is a free agent, and what happens with him is one of the big story lines of the offseason. Carlson is very good TE both in terms of receiving and blocking. The Seahawks would love to re-sign him, setting up 2 TE formations with Miller that could be very difficult to defend. The problem is that the Seahawks aren’t going to want to pay him top dollar, and there’s a possibility that someone else will.
On the other hand, perhaps no one will. Carlson spent then entire 2011 season on the disabled list. He also didn’t have a great 2010 season, where his play was inconsistent and he seemed to struggle picking up the new offensive system. Carlson’s last good year was 2009, so he might find his free agent market to be smaller than he expects.
Anthony McCoy was the primary second TE all season, and was fairly disappointing ever time he saw action. McCoy displayed hands of steel and seemed unable to catch anything in the passing game. He was also the worst blocking tight end in the league, as least according to the guys at ProFootball Focus. McCoy reportedly was close to being cut at the end of training camp, and only made the team because of Carlson’s injury. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Seahawks look for an upgrade here no matter what happens with Carlson.
Cameron Morrah was a pleasant surprise late in the season. He started the year on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and then was forced back into action too quickly because of an injury to Miller. After a few weeks, he managed to get up to speed with the offense, and began taking over most of the snaps that would have otherwise gone to McCoy, which is part of the reason for the offensive improvement the Seahawks showed in the 2nd half of the season.
When the Seahawks draft Morrah in the 7th round a couple years ago, he was a receiving-only TE. During his rookie season, the Seahawks would often split him out wide like a WR because of the matchup problems that he creates because of his combination of size and speed. This year though, Morrah surprised me with competent blocking to go along with his receiving skills. If he continues to improve, Morrah should have a nice long career.
John Nalbone was on the practice squad. I know that the Seahawks like him, but he’s now finished his 2nd year as a practice squad player and hasn’t been able to crack a 53-man roster. Nalbone lacks the speed to be a receiving threat, so I don’t expect him to be a factor in the future.
Prediction: Carlson gets a contract from another team that the Seahawks aren’t willing to match. Instead they spend a late round pick on a TE, and go into the 2012 season with Miller and Morrah as the TE who will see most of the playing time.