Doug Baldwin: Seahawks want to get back to the run
Doug Baldwin has made a career out of being one of the NFL’s most efficient wide receivers in terms of making the most of the opportunities he gets in an offense. But he and his fellow Seahawks wideouts have seen their roles change a bit this season, as injuries have kept the team from running the ball as much as in the past.
“Danny, Dave and Moore” asked Baldwin about the more pass-happy attack on Monday. He said that while the group has adapted to the change, he doesn’t advocate for it moving forward.
“We adapted because of the situation we had in terms of (Russell Wilson) being injured, Thomas Rawls being injured and us truly missing that dominant run force behind the line of scrimmage,” he said. “We just had to adapt and, fortunately, enough receivers have come through in the opportunities we’ve been given in the passing game and Jimmy Graham and Tyler Lockett and Jermaine Kearse, all these guys doing wonderful things when they get their opportunities to do so.
“We’ve been able to maintain the success but, yes, you’re right, we want to get back to the way that we know how to win games and what’s successful and what’s championship football to us, and that’s running the ball and controlling the clock and playing stout defense. And when we do that, we’re typically really successful.”
The Seahawks have gone through a revolving door in the backfield, with Rawls, Christine Michael, C.J. Spiller, Troymaine Pope, Alex Collins, C.J. Prosise, Terrance Magee and George Farmar all taking snaps at tailback in 2016. As a team, they’re averaging 24.6 rushes per game, down from 31.2 last year. As you might expect, there has been an uptick through the air, with Wilson averaging 33.6 passes per game, up from the 30.1 he averaged in 2015.
After Baldwin’s record-setting 2015 season that landed him a lucrative contract extension, the 28-year-old has also seen an uptick in targets, 85 through 12 games compared to 71 at this point last year. And he’s produced, with 68 receptions for 832 yards and five touchdowns. Still, the offense has struggled at times to score consistently, being held without a touchdown three times.
Baldwin was asked whether he thinks the Seahawks can be that kind of championship team without a dominant run game and more passing.
“I believe so. I think we have the tools and the capabilities and the weapons obviously to do that but I think that it’s a lot easier on us if we can do it the way that we know is successful, and that’s running the ball,” he said. “And we have the talent to do that as well with Thomas Rawls and Troymaine Pope and Prosise when he gets back. We have the talent to do that.
“We want to be able to be that facet that we know we’re capable of, that we’ve shown in the past is successful. So, yes, can we do it if we have to? Of course. I’m never going to say that we can’t do it, but at the same time we’d like to run the ball.”
Baldwin said the offense’s struggles mixed with outputs like the 40-point performance Sunday against Carolina shows the team what it’s capable of.
“It’s not about play-calling. It’s about execution,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what play comes into the huddle, we can make it work. And at some point, we have to realize that we have to look the mirror and see how talented we are. You’ve got Jimmy Graham, Tyler Lockett, Russell Wilson, Jermaine Kearse, Thomas Rawls. You throw all of these weapons out there – how in the world can a defense stop you? We have to look in the mirror and realize that and execute at a high level and start scoring touchdowns.”
Other highlights from the conversation:
On receivers blocking: “It comes down to the fact that we only get so many opportunities in the passing game and we’ve gone through this process together as a unit and so we know how valuable those opportunities are and so when anybody gets an opportunity, all of us are fighting to get that person extra yardage to allow them to break away. We take great pride in that because we genuinely care about the other person in our room.”
On tight-roping the sideline: “We don’t really practice that but during the offseason, that’s been one of my things, I wanted to be in the top five in broken tackles and I know I have the capability of being quick in that regard so it’s something I’ve been working on.”
On Lockett’s 75-yard touchdown run: “Tyler Lockett, obviously getting healthy is the main thing for him, and he’s back to his normal self. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody run faster on the sideline in that 75-yard run that he had. That was unbelievable.”
On Earl Thomas’ injury: “It was devastating for us to see a guy like Earl Thomas go down, especially the fact that he’s one of the heartbeat guys on our team. Everything that he brings to the table, his tenacity, his passion, his leadership. You see him get hurt, and he doesn’t get up right away, you know something’s wrong because if he can get up on his own power, he will.”
On being fined for flipping the bird to Darrell Bevell: “I’m appealing it so we’ll have a conversation about it. … It was a play signal.”
On his newfound wealth: “Honestly, it’s not that much different. I’m a very frugal and cheap person. … Obviously, I’ve taken some time to celebrate the successes up to this point financially but a lot of my money just goes into savings and investments. I’m trying to build a platform for my kids and my grandchildren so they don’t have the struggle the way that I did growing up.”
On being a top salesman for Cutco knives in high school: “The knives really sold themselves. You could cut some rope with it, the scissors, they cut pennies. It was phenomenal. It was easy.”