Doug Baldwin transparent about Seahawks’ frustrations last season
Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin had the best season of his career in 2015. But the fifth-year pro shed some light on some of the frustrations he faced about the offense in an interview with ESPN’s Jim Trotter.
“We weren’t playing well, and a lot of what was being said [by players and coaches] wasn’t being pointed enough or sharp enough,” Baldwin said in an interview published Monday night. “It was like, It’s going to be OK, and I’m thinking in my head: ‘Nah, it’s not OK. And it’s not going to be OK until we get our stuff together.’ A lot of the leaders in the locker room, we started being more vocal – not only to players but to coaches regarding the environment we were creating and the message we were sending. It took a while, but our play started reflecting how we wanted everybody to be.”
Baldwin, who is entering the final season of a three-year, $13 million extension he signed in 2014, has certainly outperformed his $4 million base salary. Baldwin told Trotter he expects a contract extension this off-season. However, Trotter notes it may be tough for Seattle to pay Baldwin like an elite No. 1 receiver, as the team relies heavily on a power run game and primarily invests it’s major money on defense – save for quarterback Russell Wilson.
“I didn’t sign my new deal until almost June last time, so the offer is going to come,” he told Trotter. “(General manager John Schneider) pretty much told me that the offer was going to come after the draft. Even if it doesn’t come, I’m not worried about it. Why not? Because there are other things I value in life. I don’t value worrying about that.”
In his interview Monday, Baldwin also seemed to question the culture and play design of Seattle’s offense, telling of some moments last season that became heated between head coach Pete Carroll and himself, as well as offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
“I’m not afraid to say this, but Pete and I, we had heated debates on the sideline,” Baldwin told Trotter. “We had more debates on the sideline than in previous years. I want to help the team, and in my mind, as a receiver, you want the ball, you want opportunities to do things to help the team. I put my emotions out there to let it be known, and all the players will tell you, if you don’t have a player like that, that can harness that in the right way, then they’re not really worth anything. If I’m just out there, and I’m OK with us losing and not converting on third down, then what am I really there for? I’m just going through the motions.”
Baldwin’s role in the offense changed in the second half of the season, as he became a primary target in the red zone. His production soared from just three touchdown catches in the first 10 games to 11 in the final six.
Baldwin publicly defended criticisms of Bevell’s play-calling during the season but told Trotter that the two had “a very heated argument” that required player intervention to separate.
“It’s part of the game. If I could go back and handle it differently and act differently, I would,” he said. “But I’m just very passionate about the game. … Part of me wanted to go on a rant toward critics and say, ‘I told y’all.’ But another part of me – the part that has the humility – knows that my real goal and real focus is to try to win championships.”
Baldwin is among the leaders of an empowered and passionate Seahawks’ group. Unlike many other organizations, Seahawks’ brass has allowed their players to publicly voice their opinions about the team and the NFL.
Trotter, who quoted Schneider as calling Baldwin a “heartbeat player since he entered the building” joined ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk,” saying he didn’t think Baldwin’s comments were meant as a means to “set the coaches straight.”
“I don’t think in any way he was saying that the coaches didn’t know what they were doing or it was all about the players had to set them straight,” he said. “I think what he was saying is that it’s a total team effort and everybody has a voice in it and everybody has a say in it.
”Maybe I’m wrong but I think too much is being made of this,” Trotter added. “I think that Doug Baldwin’s performance, his leadership, it all speaks for itself with this team. They are alpha males; that’s what makes this club so successful.”