Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin on playing more special teams, taking lead with receivers

Jun 26, 2015, 4:40 PM | Updated: 4:59 pm
Doug Baldwin: “I want to help out more so on special teams in terms of on kickoff, punt-retur...
Doug Baldwin: "I want to help out more so on special teams in terms of on kickoff, punt-return blocking." (AP)
(AP)

Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin joined “Justin and Gee” after the team’s lone minicamp practice last week. Here are a few of the highlights:

Special teams. Asked about the things he’s trying to improve heading into next season, Baldwin said he’d like to contribute more on special teams. “Not necessarily in the return game; we’ve got Tyler Lockett, who’s going to be phenomenal at that,” he said. “I want to help out more so on special teams in terms of on kickoff, punt-return blocking. Like I said, just helping my team in any way I can to help us get to another Super Bowl.” He has taken his turn returning kickoffs and punts while also handling the less glamourous duties like holding up gunners on punt return. I recall him saying at one point last year that he’d rather do that than return the punts himself, which isn’t something you’d expect to hear from a wide receiver. Baldwin takes pride in playing special teams, and his desire to do more of it next season is a reminder of that.

Expectations for rookie Lockett. Baldwin had some positive comments about third-round pick Lockett, saying he’s “going to be an impact player for us right off the bat. Whether it’s in the return game or as a receiver, he’s going to be an impact player for us. One of the things that I love about him is that he’s humble and he works extremely hard. I look at him and I can tell that he wants to be great, and he’s not afraid of saying that. So I’m anxious to see what he can do for us on the field once we get the pads on and once we get into the games. I can tell he’s going to be an impact player for us.” The Seahawks have earmarked Lockett for kickoff- and punt-return duties, saying they expect him to handle both duties right away. Less certain is how much Lockett can contribute on offense this season considering a) his primary position will be in the slot, where Baldwin is the starter, and b) rookie receivers often have a difficult time making significant contributions, last season’s notable debuts notwithstanding.

Baldwin taking lead with receivers. For years, Sidney Rice was the leader of Seattle’s receiver corps – even when Baldwin and Golden Tate emerged as more consistent players, even when the team gave Percy Harvin the biggest contract in franchise history and even when Rice was no lock to make the team after he was released then re-signed at a reduced rate. Rice retired last summer, which has left Baldwin as the elder statesman among Seattle’s receivers. As such, Baldwin considers it one of his responsibilities to help the group grow tighter away from the football setting. Among the bonding activities has been laser tag. “We’ve done a number of different things. We’ll have a group dinner at least once a month, we’ll go out and play laser tag or just do some fun activities, I had them over to my house not too long ago watching the NBA Finals,” he said. “So we do a lot of different things. Get away from football. We don’t really talk much football. We just try to spend as much time as we can as individuals, spending time together as friends, and that’s very important to me. When you have those relationships off the field, away from football, when you get into the football element of it and you play in those games, you’re going to have an extra sense of responsibility to those guys because they’re not just your teammates but you’ve known them as your family.” Baldwin said the best laser tag player – aside from himself, of course – is actually backup quarterback R.J. Archer. “R.J.’s been phenomenal when he’s been on my team and he’s been difficult to play against. So I’d have to pick him as my first-round draft pick,” Baldwin said.

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