Matt Barkley tape vs Syracuse and why Seattle needs a go-to-guy

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.


  1. Ross

    Isn’t Golden Tate that playmaker we need? I’m really looking forward to his return – I think he can be a difference maker. Also, Seattle didn’t use those big TE targets. I know Miller was left in to block a lot, but I’m tired of that – he is a dependable receiver when he’s targeted. Need to see more of that. Why can’t Miller be that go-to guy?

    • Rob Staton

      If Tate is going to be the answer, he needs to get on that field asap and show it.

      • dave crockett

        Well, sure.

        That said, a healthy Tate gives us matchup options we otherwise don’t have. We could live with Edwards on the outside in the red zone with Tate in the lineup. He gives us the option of throwing short because he breaks tackles (and is built) like a tailback.

        Slightly unrelated note: what a shitty break for Baldwin.

    • John

      I really liked Tate at ND but he has not translated well… He’s sloppy in his routes and he has lackluster body control. He needs to show me something great to make me change WR as our number 1 priority. Though I really REALLY wish we had an interior pass rusher. Jason Jones is okay and I only really have 1 game to go off of, but just someone to help collapse that interior would be so awesome.

      • dave crockett

        You can make a lot of legit criticisms of Tate, but lackluster body control is a first for me. It doesn’t fit with what I’ve seen either.

        Tate is probably the only receiver on the roster that could have caught a pass short of the goal line yesterday and got into the end zone. I thought that on a few of our red zone trips.

      • Mtjhoyas

        I definitely don’t want to be the guy that said, “I knew it before the draft,” but I always had HUGE reservations with Golden Tate.

        The Notre Dame thing aside, he just looked like a running back playing WR, which is great for YAC, but terrible when you are running a WCO style of offense. People wanted to make him out to be Steve Smith, but Smith is way more explosive and has pretty long limbs for a short guy.

        I know Tate ran a 4.43 at the Combine, but like his teammate Michael Floyd, I didn’t see that speed on the field.

        I like Tate, but I think he’s more of a gadget/slot guy than a dude that plays on the perimeter.

        • Ross

          Can’t say I agree with this at all. WR is one of the toughest positions to transfer from college to pros – great rookie performances at WR are pretty rare. Tate is extremely explosive and once he can run polished routes and create separation (which is something i’ve read that he was doing well in training camp but yet to see – hopefully this weekend) I think he’ll be a dynamic playmaker for us. Just get him the ball.

          Agree with Dave Crockett above – Tate would have been my 1st and 2nd option in the red zone against ARI.

          • Mtjhoyas

            Oh I agree with the Red zone thought and how Tate would have been a good option.

            That said, we are in Year 3. He’s gotta turn it on soon.

            I would caution with “extremely explosive.” In college, yes he was. In the NFL, with his size and lack of savvy, I don’t see his explosiveness as anything “great.” Percy Harvin and Steve Smith are smaller guys I’d consider “extremely explosive.” I don’t think Tate is anywhere near those guys.

            • Ross

              I see Tate a bit like Leon Washington. Did you see Leon pull away from AZ pursuers after slowing to change directions during his kick off return? Leon is explosive. I loved watching Leon run on 3rd down because he would take off through the line like he was shot out of a cannon. Tate reminds me a lot of him only much better pass catching ability. Just as fast and just as shifty. I think Tate can be special.

              Or maybe i’m delusional.

  2. Colin

    Rob, you made a comment as to why Seattle didn’t call more 3 step drops with quick routes. Is that the height issue now being presented? Is Wilson just not capable of making these quick plays due to his height? That is concerning.

    I think there is too much overreaction to this game. A rookie QB struggled against major pressure in his 1st NFL start. Who could have ever guessed.

    This team is still defensively strong with a hell of a running game. We’ll rebound.

    If there is a concern for this team, it is why they consistently struggle early in games and find themselves seemingly digging out of holes in the second half- we have to learn to overcome this. Sometimes I think Pete’s mantra of run the ball and don’t turn it over is double talk for “We’re playing not to lose”. Bad. We have to be more aggressive out of the gate. This defense can’t have their back at the wall all the time with the fear of giving any points.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s a good question, Colin. And maybe you’re right about the height.

  3. Mattk

    Thanks for cutting this video Rob. I know it must take awhile to do. Also, I’m glad you’re still posting videos of quarterbacks. We are highly unlikely to draft one high (definitely not Barkley), but the position is so much fun to watch, especially a polished player like him.

    I’m curious Rob, if the Seahawks consider Flynn to be trade bait in the future, then the team needs to give serious though into drafting a backup to WIlson. How high in the draft would you think this team looks for a number two guy with starter potential? Personally, I think with the amount of teams investing in young quarterbacks this year along with next years rookies, there could be some good qbs dropping in value because of a lack of need around the league.

    • Rob Staton

      I can’t take credit for the video, Matt. John puts these together for us and the guy is a complete legend for doing it. NFL/NFL Draft fans owe a debt of gratitude to the guy.

      As for the quarterback situation, I think they’d probably be prepared to draft a QB in any round – even round one. The only situation that is unlikely is if Wilson really puts down a marker this year and nails the starting gig. But even then I don’t think round two’s out of the question.

  4. Colin

    I’d like to point out to all the people who were/are upset we didn’t draft Andy Dalton, that he is now 0-10 against teams with a winning record.


    • Colin

      *0-9 (including playoffs).

    • Mtjhoyas

      Amen Colin…His last 10 games have been terrible too. It’s very likely that his best season in the NFL will be his rookie year.

      I cannot tell you how glad I am that we avoided him. He SEVERELY limits an offense and is prone to terrible mistakes.

      Not to mention, I just want my QB to have a “cool” factor. Dalton looks like the red headed brat down the street.

  5. Rob Staton

    I must’ve missed Brock Osweiler’s bad start in the NFL? Last time I checked John Elway drafted him in round two to be the heir apparent to Peyton Manning.

    And while we’re talking about things this site has discussed in the past 12 months (we don’t beg, we analyse and offer opinions), let’s talk about our take on Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden, who combined for 7 interceptions and zero touchdowns on Sunday.

  6. Tarry

    First, I agree WR is a big need, I must say though I hope we are not in a position to be able to draft Woods who in all likelyhood could be a top 10 pick.

    Second, I do believe a big part of our problem with the receivers could relate to the horrible play of our OL. Being unable to pass protect may have contributed to WRs not having enough time to finish their routes or get separation. I’m not defending our WR group here they did play poorly just saying the OL played worse.

    After week 1 biggest needs: RT or WR

    • Mtjhoyas

      I read an interesting article a few weeks ago talking about OL play. They interviewed a bunch of great, retired O-lineman who said that continuity is by far the most important thing.

      The reason I bring this up, is that I think there’s a tendancy in Seattle to want to dump every high pick into the O-line thinking it solves the problem. I am definitely not saying don’t ever use first round picks on O-line, but I think we’ve invested a lot and now it’s time to let them gel and place an emphasis on keeping them together.

      Yes, the O-line played poorly, but it’s still a very young unit that hasn’t had much time together. I expect them to pick it up exponentially over the course of the season.

      At this point, I think acquiring offensive weaponry is the number one need by a landslide. We gotta have more threats and reliable targets. I really hope we target Keenan Allen who I think is the closest thing to a #1 in the draft due to size, speed, body control, playmaking ability.

  7. Tarry

    As for Wilson’s height and 3 step drops… I believe if he’s under center it could be a slight issue, however Brees is effective with quick passes on 3 step drop from shotgun (or no drop from shotgun), play selection could be the solution here. I reference Brees here due to height similarity not ability… at least at this point of Wilson’s career.

  8. Michael (CLT)

    It would be odd, and somehow Seattle’esque, if this were the year we went 1-15 and drafted Barkley. Not that I’m hoping. But there is something very wrong with what we watched against the Cardinals. They are not a good team. Time will prove that out.

    Denver’s no huddle destroyed our D in preseason. If I’m Dallas, I go right at us with no huddle and never look back. Same with GB. 0-5 is a very real possibility.

    Don’t count out Barkley yet.

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