Bumpus: Why Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett can have instant impact if he returns vs Jets

Dec 29, 2022, 12:07 PM | Updated: 12:19 pm

Seahawks Tyler Lockett...

Tyler Lockett of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates his catch for a first down on October 23, 2022. (Harry How/Getty Images)

(Harry How/Getty Images)

The Seahawks will look to get back in the win column on Sunday against the New York Jets, and it looks like one of their superstars will be suiting up for the matchup.

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That would be veteran receiver Tyler Lockett, who missed just the third game of his NFL career last week with a hand injury that required surgery. But Lockett has been working at practices and catching passes, and it looks like he’s on track to return to action against the Jets as the Seahawks are fighting to stay in the playoff race.

The Seahawks missed Lockett in a bad way last week in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Fellow star receiver DK Metcalf had a good game, catching seven of nine targets for 81 yards. But all other receivers, tight ends and running backs caught 18 of 29 passes from Geno Smith for just 134 yards.

While the Jets have had their struggles offensively this year, they have one of the NFL’s best defenses. They’re fourth in points allowed, third in yards allowed and fifth in passing yards allowed, so Lockett would return to a tough matchup.

But former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus thinks Lockett can make a big impact if he returns to action this Sunday, even though he’s coming off an injury and facing a stingy New York defense. He explained why during Thursday’s Bump and Stacy on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

First off, Tyler Lockett is, well, Tyler Lockett, Bumpus said, and he’s been one of the best receivers in the NFL since 2018 and is also an “extreme competitor.”

“He’s gonna lay it all out there for you,” he said.

Secondly, the Jets’ defense may be elite this year, but Lockett’s game matches up well against their scheme.

“The Jets play a lot of zone. And when I look at Tyler Lockett, he goes to work and he kills the zone,” Bumpus said. “He has the ninth-most (receiving) yards in the NFL versus zone (with) 637 yards.”

The Jets have one of the best cornerback tandems in the league in star rookie Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, the No. 4 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft who is a Pro Bowler, and former Seattle standout D.J. Reed. But both defensive backs play zone on most of their snaps, including Gardner, who has emerged as a true lockdown cornerback.

“I love the way that Tyler Lockett works in the zone. And because they’re in zone, that means they’re not going to press him at the line of scrimmage for the most part, which means he doesn’t have to do all that hand combat-type of stuff,” Bumpus said. “He’s going to be allowed to work, sit in space and get down. If this were a more man-type team, a team that’s going to lock you up at the line of scrimmage, then I’d have a bit more concern just because of his hands and him having to fight. But because this is a predominantly zone-type of team, it works perfect for Tyler Lockett and his injury and just his game overall … I see Tyler Lockett having a Tyler Lockett-type of day.”

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Bumpus: Why Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett can have instant impact if he returns vs Jets