Arrival of TE Jacob Hollister Vital for Seahawks’ Offense
Over the past few weeks, tight end Jacob Hollister has emerged as a crucial part of the Seahawks’ offense, an encouraging development given the injuries the team has dealt with at the position.
With fellow tight end Will Dissly rupturing his Achilles during Seattle's 32-28 victory in Cleveland in Week 6, Hollister was given a prime opportunity to earn ample playing time after being stuck behind Rob Gronkowski in New England his first two NFL seasons.
Since that game, the third-year pro has caught 17 of his 24 targets for 137 yards along with a trio of touchdowns, including a game-winning touchdown reception during overtime against the Buccaneers. Sustaining that pace over 16 games, he'd produce 68 receptions and 12 touchdowns.
This past week, Hollister continued to impress in prime time against the 49ers on Monday Night Football, as he caught a career-high eight passes for 62 receiving yards along with making a spectacular one-handed touchdown catch in the end zone. After the game, the former Wyoming standout broke down the play and how he knew quarterback Russell Wilson would locate him for the score.
“Yeah, it was just like a backyard play. Originally it was called an “All Day,” so I was just sitting there waiting for the ball,” Hollister explained. “I saw Russell’s eyes and once he tossed it over the top, I knew I had to go and get it. It was just like a backyard play.”
Wilson, who has immediately built a strong rapport with Hollister, raved about his performance during his post-game press conference. The eighth-year quarterback has witnessed firsthand just how valuable he has been for the Seahawks since Dissly suffered his season-ending injury.
“Hollister has been great. The plays he’s been making have been so much fun to watch and be a part of,” Wilson gushed. “He had an overtime touchdown catch last week. He had touchdown catches last week. He had one this week, obviously a big touchdown that we needed on the scramble. I scrambled around just trying to find some time and space. I just kept moving and he scrambled to the back of the end zone. We hit him and he had a great catch. Hollister was definitely doing his thing.”
Midway through the Seahawks and 49ers game, fellow tight end and fan-favorite Luke Willson suffered a significant hamstring injury, forcing him out of the game. Playing nearly 80 percent of Seattle's snaps on Monday, Hollister spoke about his mindset replacing Wilson as the lone healthy tight end away from reserve tackle George Fant.
“You’ve always got to step in. That’s kind of football at the end of the day. You’ve got to step in,” Hollister said. “Luke’s a warrior, but hamstrings not something you can plan on, so he had to sit out there for the rest of the game.”
During Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s press conference on Tuesday, he confirmed Willson is expected to miss the next “couple of weeks” due to his hamstring injury and his status is up in the air for Week 12 against the Eagles.
But like Wilson, Carroll has been thrilled with Hollister's impressive play and has confidence he'll continue to perform well. Even with veteran Ed Dickson likely to return next week in Philadelphia, Hollister will likely remain Seattle's featured tight end until further notice, a development few could've expected when the season started.
“He’s just a good football player. He’s learned well. It’s like you see the ability of Russell and Tyler to fit so well together. It’s because they’re guys that just understand ball. They make sense and they communicate and the transition,” Carroll said. “That’s a special guy that adds to Russell. You can just tell. That’s why he’s been able to be part of this thing so quickly and really, in a big way.”