Hi there! Before I was a writer for CascadiaSN, I was just posting some work onto Reddit. I started this series about a month back and since then have written about Mychal Kendricks, as well as D.K. Metcalf and Marquise Blair. Previously I had covered some Interceptions, the Hawks D-Line, and Chris Carsons Usage before I decided to turn it into a regular feature. Now I write here on such things like the 49ers Defense! Anyway, enough shameless plugging, time to explain.
Every week, we talk about something that’s interesting enough to just waste a minute learning about. I’ll try and get some good graphs or tables in each week to spice it up, and if anybody has any questions or thoughts, I’m very happy to listen!
This one is pretty wordy, but it’s got some good pictures later. Now,
Seattle Seahawks own Jacob Hollister: Let’s Waste A Minute Talking About
If somebody who would’ve asked you about Jacob Hollister 4 weeks ago, it was forgivable to say… who? Before we look technically, let’s do a little history.
Starting out as a 3 sport letterman, the High School Senior quarterback went from his high school in Oregon, briefly to Nevada, redshirted in Arizona, and then to Wyoming for three years. By the time he was a senior, he was a team captain and first-team all-Mountain West with 32 catches for 515 yards and 7 TD’s that year.
Not invited to the combine but performing relatively well in his team pro day, he was a purely pass-catching option and his major weakness was a lack of blocking ability. He was a longshot for the draft but on the radar at least as a camp body, if not an NFL roster.
Hollister was not selected in the draft but was worked out by the Texans and Patriots, the latter taking him on with his brother, Cody. He was leading the pack of camp bodies in 2017 and made the roster as a special teamer. He had also had four receptions for 42 yards, but out of 11 targets. 2018 was a rougher year for Hollister, missing much of the year with a hamstring injury but again with four receptions in the early year.
In the offseason, the 25-year-old went to Seattle for a 2020 Conditional 7th round pick. After a strong training camp, he was waived just before September and signed to the practice squad. It wasn’t till mid-October he was promoted due to injuries and played in the Cleveland game, Week 6.
I recently learned an extra piece of the puzzle from a fellow writer from the FantasyAlarm.com, Andrew Cooper.
He was promoted “due to injuries” but not injuries to Seahawks players. The only guy who was hurt in the Rams game the prior week was DJ Fluker and they replaced him with Jamarco Jones and activated guard Jordan Roos for extra help.
What happened was the Patriots played on Thursday night on October 10 and Matt Lacosse sprained his MCL. The very next day on October 11, the Seahawks activated Hollister, which we can assume was to block the Pats from signing him because Will Dissly didn’t tear his achilles until two days later on October 13th against the Browns. The Patriots then signed Ben Watson on October 15th.
So, in reality, the Seahawks signing him to the active roster that Friday turned out to be a HUGE move for them because he since has slid right into the Dissly pass-catching role.
Week 6: Cleveland Browns
In his first game, he was on the field for 36% of offensive snaps and half of the special team snaps too. He appeared not to have a catch in the game, but upon further inspection, he did have a ‘target’ that was called no play due to a horse-collar tackle. On a flat route, Hollister turns upfield as Wilson throws the ball out of bounds to avoid a sack. The ball was uncatchable and was not even counted in the records.
Week 7: Baltimore Ravens
In the Ravens game, he got his first catch for the Seahawks and his weakest performance by almost all metrics. With six targets and three receptions, it is still the highest number of dropped passes in a game, despite his role increasing significantly in the coming weeks. Here are all those targets:
|1||Block Pass 1st and 10|
|After effectively blocking the end, Hollister leaks into an out route, secures the catch, and gets 9 yards upfield to set up 2nd and 1.|
1st and 10 SEA8
|On a TE slide, pressure on the QB causes lofted and overthrown pass, Hollister gets hit as he stretches for the catch 3 yards downfield.|
|3||Flex Pass |
2nd and 10
|Curl into a soft zone, secures catch and drops without contact for 6 yards with 2 defenders near.|
2nd and 10 SEA41
|Deep out route/Corner. Stilted at top of the route but works through contact to create a little bit of separation. Pressure causes overthrown but not good adjustment 20 yards downfield|
|5||Chip Pass 1st and 10 SEA20||Effective Chip, forcing DE inside, work outside to flat uncovered, but the pass is dropped. One yard downfield with the room, slightly underthrown but should be caught.|
|6||Flex Pass |
1st and 10 BAL22
|Speed out in a modified stick concept. The ball is late so Hollister has to work to stay inbounds but feet get down and catch secured for a five-yard gain.|
A synopsis of Hollister across these two weeks is as such: A good option to keep you on track. Not an asset or a liability in the blocking game. Unable to move bodies due to receiver build but can occupy blocks fine. In terms of movement, it can be uncoordinated in cuts or turns, such as 90 rights and lefts, and full hip flips to receive curls but is much more effective in speed variations and has good hands and passable positioning.
Quick learning thing: speed variations are when you round the corners off of routes, and basically not cut but just roll your hips over to where you’re heading. it saves time, keeps the speed up and is superfluid but it does give away where you are headed really early, unlike a normal cutting route where you keep ’em guessing right up until you put your foot in the ground and burst away.
Week 8: Atlanta Falcons
This week he only had two targets, but with two receptions and 18 yards, it was still an acceptable performance given that this week saw his lowest percentage of snaps on offense, including the Cleveland game, at just 35%.
Below are his snap counts by week by percentage. As you can see, his usage is about to skyrocket.
Week 9: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With Luke Willson rumored to be suffering from some then undisclosed injury, Dissly down for the season, and Vannett has gone to Pittsburg for a 5th rounder. Hollister was officially listed as the starter for the first time in his career. He celebrated the start with a 4rec/37yd/2TD stat-line and the winning, overtime walk-off touchdown. Here is an interesting thing I saw from that game.
He had good eye discipline. Something a lot of less experienced players do is tip off the opponent by staring down a key point of the play. For example:
Hollister is flexed out (Not directly on the end of the line) in a 3×1 shotgun. The Bucs seem to be showing a cover 2 man, evidenced by the 2 high safeties and how all the DB’s are both down at the lime and have their hips facing their guy. In zone, you’ll see the hips towards the sideline.
As you can see this is a moment just after the snap. Obviously they can disguise one coverage as the other but a lot of teams don’t like to do it often due to the fact you could be caught out of position.
Since we seem to have man coverage going, let’s look at the safeties. While there are 2 deep, notice that the strong safety is cheating down and capping Hollister from about 10 yards away. Also note the linebacker off the right hash is peering down at Carson, and shadowing his position.
All the subtle clues point to Cover 1 hole. The mismatch is the TE’s coverage is 10 yards off due to disguise. It is important that the safety does not know where to go so Hollister can catch him out of position.
Even as Hollister is making his cut, you can see his helmet pointed straight at his opponent, not the direction he is going. This way, up until this point, the DB can’t break inside or out as he has no clue where or when Hollister is going to make his move. Note Metcalf at the top clearing out any defenders over the top to create a hole. You can also see Carson at the 14, dragging any underneath defenders down to cover him, widening the hole.
Now Hollister looks back at Wilson, who is already winding to throw, and the covering safety cannot close the gap fast enough. The top of screen defenders are being spread as is the plan and the five-yard line is freeing up to create running room for Hollister.
Hollister now gets the catch with running room horizontally and still some separation from the defender because of good eye discipline. Obviously Hollister is able to turn and get into the endzone for the score on this play.
Week 10: San Francisco 49ers
This game is the one that is starting to turn heads, purely because it’s the 2nd straight great game for a virtual nobody. With career highs in receptions (8) and yards (62) with another TD to top it all off. He had 10 targets, and the two not caught was a nine-yard scrambling sideline shovel pass that didn’t have a hope and the underthrown interception. An unexpected amount of production form Hollister was after the catch. Of the 62 credited yards, 51 of them came after the catch. He also picked up five first downs on those eight catches and put in a good blocking performance against a formidable Front 7.
A concept they used a lot with him was what is called a TE slide. It was responsible for Hollister’s longest gain of the day:
You can spot Hollister, back of the line at the top of the screen. This is a very common pre-snap look for Seattle.
You can now see Hollister, as the closest player to Wilson, moving opposite to the wash of the play, heading horizontally. Notice Metcalf at the bottom of the screen, clearing out that bottom right-hand corner, and the corner #41 backing off with Metcalf.
The play has been recognized as play action. As the line and Carson wash all the way down with most of the linebacking corps and the D-line, Wilson keeps and loops around. In a running scenario, Hollister would take on the end #97 and seal the cutback lane for his running back, but as he runs right by him, you can see Bosa slowing up and starting to look at Wilson. The weak-side linebacker is also starting to shift back towards the flat. Metcalf is busy drawing two deep defenders with his presence, and Hollister is working open to the giant hole underneath.
At the point of catch, Hollister can now move upfield freely. He is unusually fast for a tight end so he can complete these YAC runs while selling the block consistently. Only now is #41 of the defense turning back to deal with the catch.
Hollister makes use of the space and makes a first down here at the 46. An automatic throw and catch into space, exploiting teams selling out against the run. Keep an eye on this concept. It’s the same one Hollister got hit on in the ravens’ game, and all 4 Seattle tight ends this year have run it, as well as Nick Bellore and Tyler Lockett.
General Overview and Conclusion
I wanted to get a really good look at his usage within the system. Here’s what I found out.
|Down||Number of targets||% share of targets||catch%||First Downs||10 Yards+||TDs|
What this means is that on a 2nd down target for example
- it was caught 70% of the time
- 40% of the time it was converted
- It went for 10+ yards in 30% of cases
- It was a touchdown catch in 10% of cases.
These tables above and below are in part from ProFootballReference.com but I did some extra work on them.
Field when targeted
Depth Of Hollister at Target
Depth Of Hollister at Catches
What this means is that
- Hollister has been targeted while there are less than three yards to the first down in three cases.
- In four cases, Hollister has been within three yards of the LOS when the ball has been thrown his way.
- Hollister has only caught two passes while being within three yards of the LOS.
I also found that on average, Hollister has been targeted with 9.04 yards to go, and while yards per target is 5.71, yards per catch is 8.05. overall, I will refer to my view I put forward from the Cascadia Roundtable last week but with a few changes.
“Andy: with an epidemic of TE success sweeping the league and many teams notably failing to find an answer for the strength and speed, the bar for success is much lower than other positions like the LT, where only elite is good enough. Serviceable Pass catching big men are a dime a dozen but Luke Willsons blocking ability is rarer for a route running TE, so as long as you have him or Dissly up, you can fill the rest of the corps with single-dimensional players such as Fant and Hollister. If I were Pete I may think about putting a young receiver onto the practice squad and elevating one more TE. just in case.”
Where was I right? We should have another TE on the roster I reckon. Since Willson did go down, the Seahawks only had one up through much of the game. I also think that serviceable is a good adjective for Hollister–reliable but certainly not generational.
However, I feel that he has better blocking ability than he has previously been given credit for and his speed is a definite edge that can be a separating factor for him. Good hands are taken for granted in Seattle, and every eligible receiver is taught catch first from day one, and Hollister fits the mold.
If I had to summarize everything I’ve said in 5 words I reckon I’d say this:
Just a 7th rounder? Steal.