Seattle Seahawks Need Sidney Rice and Zach Miller To Earn Their Pay
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By Chris Cluff
Wide receiver has been a sore spot for the Seahawks all season, and it has become even more so in the last couple of weeks.
With just four healthy receivers, it has gotten to the point that some people were hoping the Hawks would trade for Kansas City wide receiver Dwayne Bowe by today’s deadline.
Of course, acquiring a drop-prone, 28-year-old franchise-tagged receiver who is grossly overpaid at $9.5 million would be a move of desperation.
The Hawks lost Ben Obomanu for the season with a wrist injury Sunday and might not have Braylon Edwards (knee) and Doug Baldwin (ankle) again — both missed Sunday’s game. The team promoted Jermaine Kearse from the practice squad to join the healthy trio of Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Charly Martin.
“We have to wait and see on Braylon,” Carroll told reporters, per KJR.com. “We have to wait and see if Doug can make it back, and the rest of the guys are ready to go, and of course, Kearse is jacked up about the opportunity.”
Baldwin surprised the team by practicing on a limited basis Wednesday.
“He looks better than we expected coming into the week,” Carroll said. “I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not, but we’re going to see.”
Rice has to be happy, though: He figures to have plenty of chances against his former team, the Minnesota Vikings. Rice played for the Vikings from 2007 to 2010 and caught 83 balls for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009. Midway through this season, he has 28 catches for 367 yards and three scores — and the Hawks need to go to him more often.
They also need to use tight end Zach Miller, who was a forgotten man in the passing game last season and still has not been used as much as he could be this season. When given a chance, like Sunday against Detroit, he has come up big. At a salary of $6 million, he needs to be utilized more. And what better time than when the Hawks are short receivers?
They certainly should not trade for Bowe. They have been down that road before, overpaying for guys like Deion Branch, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Rice.
Bowe would be a waste of a second-round pick. He doesn’t know the offense, so he would be limited in how he could contribute in the final eight games. And then he would want a big contract — similar to the $8 million-a-year deal they gave Rice. He’s not worth it.
The best plan is to start to get a return on the big investments the Hawks made last year in Rice and Miller, who are their two highest-paid players.
With Rice, Miller, Tate, Martin and tight ends Anthony McCoy and Evan Moore, the Hawks’ passing game should be fine.
WOULD MOFFITT MAKE RUSHING GAME BETTER?
Who knew the Seahawks ever would miss John Moffitt? But it certainly seems to be the case.
In the two games he played, the Hawks ran for 309 yards on 70 attempts (4.4 yards per carry). But they have been inconsistent running the ball ever since James Carpenter entered the lineup at left guard and Paul McQuistan was moved to right guard in Week 4.
They ran it well in that Week 4 game in St. Louis, gaining 179 yards on 34 attempts. But they struggled against Carolina (116 yards on 34 rushes, when Jon Ryan’s 18-yard loss on an intentional safety is removed from the total) and New England (86 yards on 26 runs). McQuistan was especially bad against the Patriots, missing several linebacker stunts that resulted in tackles for loss.
The Hawks had a good game against San Francisco (136 yards on 29 attempts) but were not as good against Detroit’s solid front four. Their final numbers looked good against Detroit, thanks to Marshawn Lynch’s 77-yard touchdown run off right end, but they gained just 56 yards on 18 other rushes.
The good news is they have run out the same front five for five straight games, which is a minor miracle for a club that had used 20 line configurations in Pete Carroll’s first 36 games.
But it appears Moffitt would be the better option at right guard. He was limited in practice Tuesday, and his return could help create a more consistent rushing attack.
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Chris Cluff worked as a sports editor and writer for The Seattle Times for 11 years and has written two books on the Seattle Seahawks. Since leaving the Times, he has written about the Seahawks and Seattle sports for Bleacher Report and the blog he shares with a fellow sportswriter, outsidethepressbox.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.