Seahawks Receiver Battle Continues Friday Night
(1090 The Fan) – They have fast guys, strong guys, a tall guy, and playmakers. Versatility is a key word among a dozen men competing for receiving jobs on the 2014 Seattle Seahawks roster.
Percy Harvin proclaimed this week how good his hip and legs are feeling; as good as he felt entering college. That’s a scary proposition for opposing defenses this season. Because of hip surgery Harvin had just 11 touches, including kick returns, in the 2013 campaign.
Doug Baldwin has looked fantastic in training camp. With the threat of Harvin, Baldwin could be poised for a huge season catching the football both outside and the slot receiver position.
Jermaine Kearse went from undrafted free agent, to practice squad, to special teams, to trustworthy receiver. Bouncing off Denver defenders into the end zone was a highlight play of Seattle’s Super Bowl victory.
How many more receivers will Seattle keep on the 53 man roster? Can the Hawks stock a few on the practice squad now that the NFL has expanded that unit to 10 players this season?
Seattle used it’s second round draft pick on lightning-quick receiver Paul Richardson. So far in pre-season games he’s proved he can do more than run a deep fly pattern. Round four draft choice Kevin Norwood had a fantastic start to training camp, then had painful bone spurs removed from his foot.
Bryan Walters stock rose last week when he displayed the ability to return kicks and punts. The Kirkland, Washington native can also run crisp routes from the slot position. He will be held out of Friday night’s game against the Bears due to a rib injury.
Arceto Clark, Phil Bates, and Ricardo Lockette have all spent time in the Seahawks organization, mostly on practice squad. Bates has opened plenty of eyes with his dedication to the weight room and video study.
Playing college quarterback could help Bates learn all the nuances of Seattle’s offense as he explained to me at practice this week.
“I see it a little differently than other guys do,” said Bates. “It’s a different world out there on the island, so you have to continue to grow and continue to get better.”
Like Bates, Ricardo Lockette is a 6′-2″ chiseled athlete who is learning small things matter. “I just try to be consistent with every route I run and not fool the quarterback, ” offered Lockette. “I need to be disciplined enough to get the proper sleep, disciplined enough to be at meetings early and stay late.”
Lockette last season showed off a fearless attitude as the punt coverage gunner, rocking the San Francisco 49ers LeMichael James.
Former University of Kentucky and CFL star Chris Matthews is the largest of the group at 6’5″, 218 pounds, but hasn’t had many footballs come his way in practice or exhibition games. He could be a practice squad candidate to give Seattle’s defense looks at larger pass catchers.
Because Seattle runs first, and throws less than most teams in the NFL, all receivers must be great down field blockers. In Friday night’s home game against the Chicago Bears, watch for the little things which could make the big difference in the final roster moves.
Coach Pete Carroll says it is time for Marshawn Lynch to get his first carries in a pre-season game. Safety Kam Chancellor, left tackle Russell Okung, and center Max Unger are all healthy enough to see some action against the Bears. Linebacker Malcolm Smith might be able to play, as well.
Linebacker Horace Miller won’t play due to a sprained knee. Carroll also said defensive tackle Michael Brooks is having surgery on his knee.
– Bill Swartz, 1090TheFan
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