For most of the off-season we’ve talked about Seattle’s need at receiver. When you’re bringing in guys like Antonio Bryant, Terrell Owens and Braylon Edwards knowing one of them will have to contribute, it’s safe to say that’s a position of need. Edwards started against the Cardinals and was mostly OK, but missed a chance to win the game with the final serious play of the game. The Seahawks asked the question and Edwards couldn’t answer.
Overall I thought it was a sloppy performance from the receivers. As noted in yesterday’s reaction piece, I don’t think they did enough to fight for their quarterback. They rounded off routes and gave up. Frequently Wilson had protection and nowhere to go. The camera’s highlighted the coverage downfield on several occasions, and we didn’t see a lot of fighting to come back to the QB to try and make a play.
Above all else I think Wilson lacked a safety net. A go-to-guy. Someone he knew would be there as the second or third read. Someone he can rely on to be in position if the first option isn’t there. Matt Hasselbeck always had Bobby Engram. Peyton Manning always had Dallas Clark. Tom Brady knows Wes Welker will find a way to get open. The Seahawks need a 6-to-10 catch kind of guy in a game like this. In any game – for that matter. He doesn’t have to be Calvin Johnson, he just needs to have that knack of finding a way to get open. He needs to be able to get that chemistry going with the quarterback. The Seahawks never seemed to be able to chip away via the passing game last night, it was boom or bust pretty much every time.
Doug Baldwin has the potential to be that kind of receiver. For the most part last year he was Tarvaris Jackson’s go-to-guy. He had a lot of productive games, he found ways to get open and provided that safety net. But he missed all of pre-season and just didn’t look 100% against the Cardinals. Through no real fault of his own he could end up having one of those years, struggling for fluidity after a frustrating summer. And if Seattle is serious in making Russell Wilson a legitimate long-term starting quarterback, they’re going to have to look at that position in the off-season.
USC’s Robert Woods (see the video above, he wears #2) had a big game for the Trojans at the weekend against Syracuse. He’s the kind of playmaker the Seahawks lacked yesterday – always appearing to offer his quarterback an option. Woods isn’t is a physical guy, but he will come back for the ball and try to help out the quarterback – something else that was lacking on Sunday.
He’s also a playmaker – and but for Sidney Rice’s touchdown catch and the brilliance of Leon Washington, the Seahawks didn’t have enough of that against the Cardinals. See the play at 4:00 where a quick throw to the left is reversed back to the right hand side for a first down. The 70+ yard end-around Woods had in the game isn’t included in this Barkley video, but it was explosive and helped turn the game back into USC’s favor. It’s perhaps apt that this video also includes a 5-yard touchdown pass. Unlike Edwards, Woods delivered for his team.