It’s starting to look like Achilles tendons are the new anterior cruciate ligaments.
Just a couple days after the San Francisco 49ers announced star receiver Michael Crabtree would miss at least six months because of a torn Achilles tendon, the Seattle Seahawks announced today the same will be true for back-up tight end Anthony McCoy.
McCoy reportedly suffered only a partial tear, which is obviously better for recovery, but still, it would now be a surprise if he played at all in 2013.
Statistically, McCoy wasn’t a huge offensive weapon a season ago. He caught 18 passes, and although his 16.2 yard-per-catch average was impressive, two of those catches were of 67 and 49 yards. He didn’t catch a single ball in the two playoff games.
McCoy’s real value came from his ability to line up with starting tight end Zach Miller in two tight-end sets and help block for running back Marshawn Lynch. Even though he didn’t catch a huge number of passes, McCoy lined up for 46 percent of the Seahawks’ offensive snaps in 2012. The Seahawks already lost tight end Cameron Morrah to San Francisco, so McCoy’s injury really screws with the depth chart and potentially the Seahawks’ offensive creativity. Without McCoy, the Seahawks will rely more than they might have originally anticipated on rookie fifth-round draft pick Luke Willson from Rice.
On the bright side for Seahawks fans though, Willson impressed head coach Pete Carroll during the first two days of the team’s rookie minicamp with his ability to get behind defenders downfield and make catches, an ability some scouts questioned going into the NFL draft. With above-average speed, above-average athleticism and above-average blocking ability, Willson would seem to have all the tools necessary to be an effective replacement for McCoy. But obviously you can never be completely certain of how a rookie is going to play.
This is without question a blow for the Seahawks, who enjoyed success in 2012 in large part because of a relative lack of injuries. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be something that will hold the team back in terms of creativity or production. If Willson plays like a lot of people think he’s capable of, the only casualty from this will be McCoy’s next contract.