The real McCoy

Posted Dec 14, 2012

Anthony McCoy had a career day against the Cardinals, becoming the first Seahawk this season with a 100-yard receiving game. But he’s already focusing on the next challenge: The Bills on Sunday.

At the start of the season, if you had compiled a list of candidates to be the first player to post a 100-yard receiving game for their respective team, Anthony McCoy’s name would have been on the last page.

But that’s exactly what the third-year tight end did last week – in Week 14 – when he caught three passes for 105 yards in the Seahawks’ 58-0 romp over the Arizona Cardinals. Others had come close. Sidney Rice missed by a yard the week before against the Chicago Bears, when Golden Tate also had 96 yards.

It was McCoy, however, who hit triple digits.

“Anthony is the one who breaks 100 for us, go figure,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said.

The significance of that accomplishment is spiked when you consider that he had 13 catches for 131 yards in the first 12 games, and five of those came in the Week 2 win over the Dallas Cowboys. And, that McCoy had 13 receptions for 146 yards in his first two seasons with the Seahawks.

What’s gotten into the big fella?

“It’s about getting the opportunity,” McCoy said. “I think that’s how every player in the league feels. If you just get the opportunity and you take advantage of it, good things will happen.”

McCoy, a sixth-round draft pick out of USC after former Trojans coach Pete Carroll was hired by the Seahawks in 2010, had his opportunity options ratcheted when Kellen Winslow was released on Sept. 1 – three months after being acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winslow came to the Seahawks with 437 career receptions.

Who would fill Winslow’s spot as the complementary tight end to starter Zach Miller? Carroll’s answer was as surprising as McCoy’s burst of production last week.

“Anthony has played great and he’s had a great camp,” Carroll said at the time. “That factored in all of that.”

McCoy’s reaction to Carroll’s response? “Good comments always make you feel good,” he said. “But I prefer to be the silent guy. Just do my job and just let it all out.”

McCoy is just the latest example of a player justifying the trust Carroll has shown. Known more for the passes he didn’t catch than those he did in his first two seasons, McCoy has been a sure-handed option this season – with his 16 receptions coming in seven games, and on 19 targets. Known more for his receiving than his blocking at USC, McCoy has developed into a dependable blocker.

And then there’s the niftiness he displays for a guy who is 6-feet-5 and weighs 259 pounds. That was never more apparent than on his career-long 67-yard reception against the Cardinals – which was 26 yards of pass and 41 yards of run after the catch to setup the touchdown that gave the Seahawks a 17-0 lead at the start of the second quarter.

“I just popped out of my head on that one,” McCoy said with a hearty laugh. “Just working. Just trying to make something happen.”

The more he makes happen, the more opportunities will come his way – starting with Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills in Toronto. The Bills’ defense ranks 21st in the league, allowing an average of 362.1 yards, and has had issues matching up against tight ends. Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots had a 41-yard reception against the Bills, as well as a 28-yard touchdown catch. Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers had a 53-yarder. Owen Daniels of the Houston Texans had a 39-yarder for a TD.

And McCoy has found the end zone twice this season, including his first career TD against the Cowboys and another against the Miami Dolphins.

“Anthony McCoy has really been coming along,” rookie QB Russell Wilson said. “He has so much ability. He has so much speed. He’s very explosive once he gets the ball in his hands.”

And he also has become animated in just about everything he does.

“I always get on him a little bit,” Wilson said. “He has a little; I guess you call it swagger. That USC swagger, I guess we say. That’s the way you have to play sometimes. He does a great job of playing loose, and just trusting what he knows.

“He has so much ability. To be able to play the way he did against a great (Cardinals) defense and make the protections that he made, and to extend the runs, the yard after the catch. You don’t see too many tight ends that are able to do that in the league.”

McCoy, however, wants to do even more.

“I did make a mistake. I should have scored on that long run,” he said. “I should have cut to the outside.”

At least he was smiling when he said that. But then McCoy has been smiling a lot these days, because he has had to wait so long to get the opportunities that are coming his way.

“I just take it day by day,” he said. “Good things happen, bad things happen. That’s life. Sunday was a good game for me. But I’ve moved on. Now I’m worried about doing it again this week.”