It’s hard to imagine there are many players who are more mentally tough than Will Dissly.
If not for Alex Smith’s grueling return to the football field that took two years and 19 surgeries, Dissly would be a legit candidate for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award this season. He’s made it back from two gruesome injuries in as many years: a ruptured patella tendon and a torn Achilles.
He called the former a more challenging recovery from a physical standpoint and the latter a bigger mental hurdle. And yet, Dissly has been ready for Day 1 of training camp the following year in both instances. He put pads on for Monday’s practice for the first time since October 2019.
“It felt like Christmas morning,” Dissly said. “I was excited to hit somebody again.”
Dissly, an unquestionably talented player given his six touchdowns in 10 career games, is hoping that 2020 will finally be the year he remains healthy for a full season. His presence gives the Seahawks a loaded group of skill players alongside Greg Olsen, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Seattle also has Phillip Dorsett, David Moore, Jacob Hollister and, eventually, Colby Parkinson behind those top four.
Just like it’s on Pete Carroll and Ken Norton Jr. to best utilize Jamal Adams on defense, it will be up to Brian Schottenheimer to take full advantage of the talent at his disposal.
“Schotty has a good problem ahead – just all the weapons Russ has,” Dissly said. “(We’re) just trying to be available for him. Whether it’s 11 or 12 personnel, I think we can do some really creative things.”
It will likely be hard for Seattle to avoid 12 personnel when everyone’s healthy. All of the Seahawks top four targets in the passing game are capable of putting defenses in a bind, thus making it hard for any opponent to pay too much attention to any one of them.
“I’m excited to see what Schotty comes up with,” Dissly said. “I’m ready to go, and I think it’s going to be a really fun year on offense.”
Outside of linebacker, it’s easy to argue that tight end is Seattle’s deepest position group. The presence of Olsen, Dissly, Hollister and Parkinson (health of his foot permitting) will make it hard for Luke Willson and rookie Stephen Sullivan to crack the roster come cut time.
The first three names listed have all shown to be potent pass catchers. Parkinson, a 6-foot-7 rookie taken by the Seahawks in the fourth-round of the 2020 draft, also figures to be a prominent threat, particularly in the red zone.
“We’re all able to block and catch the football,” Dissly said. “That’s a really dangerous combination when you’re putting together a tight end room.
“I think we’re going to be able to move things around, and it’s going to make it really challenging for a defense. I’m excited to see what this room can do. I think it’s going to be a special year.”