Heaps: Seahawks need to give Gordon more looks over role players
The Seahawks passing game has not been nearly as dynamic, efficient, or, well, good, over the last four weeks compared to the team’s first nine games of the season.
Through the first nine weeks of the season, quarterback Russell Wilson had 22 touchdowns and just one interception. The last four weeks he has four touchdowns and four interceptions.
That four-week stretch also coincided with No. 1 receiver Tyler Lockett’s shin injury and bout with the flu. He didn’t miss any games but didn’t contribute much. He has 107 yards and no touchdowns over that stretch.
Gordon, a former All-Pro, has six catches on 10 targets since joining the Seahawks. Gordon has battled substance abuse issues in the past and has been suspended throughout his career.
“For Josh Gordon, you wondered about whether he was going to be a problem, if he was going to show up and he wasn’t going to be an off the field issue and keep himself active and with his head on straight,” Heaps said. “He’s doing that.”
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll praised Gordon’s work ethic and ability in his Wednesday press conference.
“Josh has had huge games in the past. He just hasn’t got the ball enough yet to show that for us, but he’s done really well,” Carroll said. “Josh has been a really good guy around here and in practicing and working hard and studying. There were a few calls in that game where he had shots and the ball didn’t get to him where he was there and he ran the right route and we were open and we just didn’t get there because of other issues. We’re counting on him. He can have a big game at any time.”
Gordon started the year with the New England Patriots but was placed on injured reserve. He was then waived, and Seattle snagged him. Heaps thinks Gordon needs to be a bigger part of the offense going forward.
“Can he catch the football? Well, he’s shown he can catch the football in critical moments on third down and look pretty dang good doing it,” Heaps said.
Gordon told reporters that he just wants to help the team win by contributing in any way.
“Anywhere I can be a boost for the team and offense to try and get us a catch, move the chains or five yards, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “Just any type of way (to make) a positive influence on the offensive scheme or in the game plan, I’m there for it.”
Gordon has the third-most snaps at receiver since his Seahawks debut in Week 10, but has barely more snaps than receivers Malik Turner and David Moore. Heaps said that needs to change.
“At this point, we’ve got to stop rotating everyone in the game,” he said. “I’m sorry. I just look at it and say Malik Turner, David Moore, Jaron Brown, they’re all really good football players, but they’re role players.”
The passing game needs to center around the team’s three best receivers, Heaps said, which is Gordon, Lockett and rookie DK Metcalf.
“Those three guys are your playmakers,” Heaps said. “Those are the guys that you should be constantly keeping on the field and give every single opportunity possible to those three players.”
The only reason Turner, Moore and Brown should be in the game, Heaps said, is if Lockett, Metcalf and Gordon need a break.
So why are those Turner, Moore and Brown still getting extended looks?
“I’ll speculate in the fact that they feel confident in every single one of those guys. A little overconfident in that they’re rotating everybody in and everybody’s going to play a role and all that,” Heaps said. “Let’s be done with that. Let’s keep (Gordon, Lockett and Metcalf) on the field at all times unless they need a spell because they need to catch a breather. That should be the way it goes.”
Heaps said that’s not a knock on the other three receivers, especially Turner, who Heaps said he’s a big fan of, but for the Seahawks to be successful right now, Gordon need to be playing alongside Lockett and Metcalf.
“I’m not sitting here saying Josh Gordon is the answer,” Heaps said. “I think Tyler Lockett is the answer. But he’s a really good piece and you’ve got to start feeding him the ball at some point and giving him chances, more so than they have so far.”
710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore all agreed with Heaps.
“With all due respect to Turner and Moore, (Heaps is) absolutely right,” Bob Stelton said. “(Turner and Moore) are role guys and for the most part, they’ve been fine in their roles. I put Jaron Brown in that category as well. Those are your bottom-end options.”
Why should Gordon get more playing time when he hasn’t proven he and stay on the field and contribute since 2013?
“I think he’s more talented,” Stelton said. “I think he’s a bigger threat. I think as a cornerback, I think he provides much more concern. I think he’s capable of more physically (than those other receivers). I just think he’s a better talent at that spot”
Co-host Jim Moore said there may be some questions as to whether Gordon is the same player and athlete he used to be.
“I wonder why they haven’t ramped it up sooner,” Moore said.
Co-host Dave Wyman believes Gordon will be a bigger impact player going forward.
“I think you’re going to see it,” Wyman said. “I think it’s time to kind of unleash him. So, I would say to Jake Heaps go tell your buddy Russell Wilson to start throwing the ball to Josh Gordon.”
The Seahawks travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers in their final road contest of the season on Sunday. The Seahawks are 10-3 and can clinch a playoff berth in four different scenarios.