This off season the QB position will be scrutinized under a microscope. With free agency, draft, and possible trades there is a lot of speculation as to if or how Tarvaris will be replaced.
Going forward no matter what choice the front office makes one thing is certain, they need weapons. Our offense is predicated on hard tough yards in the run game, and explosive plays in the passing game.
The Seahawks certainly havecleaned house in an attempt to increased their weapons over the last two years. Gone are Deion Branch, Nate Burleson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Mike Haas, Ruvel Martin, and Brandon Stokley. One thing these players do not have in common is they do not create big plays on their own. Most would be considered in the possession receiver role, those that are good enough to be considered at all.
Those types of receivers are perfect for west coast type offenses. The type of offense where timing is everything and precise breaks nickle and dime you to death. Where you often will see 4 and 5 wide receiver sets on first, second and third down consecutively. That's the Mike Holmgren version of the 'Hawks offense.
In Pete Carroll's version the 'Hawks want to smash you in the mouth, draw your safeties into the box, and then strike like lightning with a big play down the sidelines. This is probably why Carroll has major wood for tall receivers who are fast, but he is smart enough to know he will take a play-maker in any size or shape he can get when the opportunity to grab one.
Wide receivers are widely considered to be one of the two hardest positions to learn, right after QB. Wide receiver is such a hard position to learn that most receivers are not considered to really contribute until their third year in the league. Some of this is reasoned by how dependent teams have become in 4 or 5 receivers sets. Many teams keep 5 or 6 receivers on their roster every year and also keep somewhere from 2-4 on the practice squad. Seattle is no different.
Pete preaches always compete, always get better. That means if we have an opportunity to go out and grab a wide receiver in the draft or grab another undrafted free agent, we will. Generally speaking the higher the draft pick the sooner they con contribute. The Seahawks don't think that way, they expect every one to compete right away.
That doesn't mean they are opposed to projects and we have a few of those. That being said its important to know how they will fit into our roster.
Our one and only play maker is Sidney Rice, he is an athletic 6' 4” 202 pound target. He is young at 25 years old but already has 5 years experience. He is quick for his size running a 4.49 40 yard dash. His major issue so far has been injuries. This year he played through a torn labrum issue for 9 games. He had 32 receptions, for 484 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not exactly stellar numbers but if he had played all season those numbers would be closer to 56 catches for 860 yards and 4 Tds. One can only speculate if playing injury free would have improved those numbers even more, though it wouldn't be a huge leap of logic to think it would.
Our one true slot receiver in Doug Baldwin. His crisp and consistent routes are the type that Qbs dream of in a reliable target. Baldwin is one of the slower Seahawks receivers running 4.42, on the field he has game speed. He clearly showed that game speed against the 49ers in our first game. He is clearly more dominant than most nickle backs and consistently wins 1 on 1 battles to pick up the first down. Standing at 5-10, 189 pounds Doug took some major hits and showed his toughness and determination. Being only 23 and already proving he is durable, Doug is a building block of the Seahawks for years to come, no matter who the QB is.
Because of how our offense focuses on the deep ball, speed is paramount, and the Seahawks have gotten extremely fast with four different receivers posting sub 4.40 40-yard dash times. Deon Butler is the fastest of the bunch, assuming he hasn't lost a step since his broken leg. Fair warning if you havent seen this, its particularly gruesome..
If he is back to top speed we need more of these
Video Click => Serious play making ability
Just before his leg break Deon was “Getting it,” if he retains his speed and continues to have good routes he can be a core WR for the future.
Ricardo Lockette is another speedster running a 4.26 40-yard dash and plays every bit of it in pads. He does it with a big 6-2 200 pound frame, and soft hands. Because of his speed and height he can play opposite Rice and become a serious constant threat. He showed some flash, but he is raw. If Ricardo can develop an all around game he could become the play maker that Carroll wants.Video Click => Splitting defenders for a great sideline catch Video Click => Lockette showing soft hands
Golden Tate is the next fastest speedster clocking in with a 4.34 40 time. He is often likened to a running back and as seen in the highlight below, he can break tackles. He also has tremendous vertical, and a shifty running style that eludes tackles. Going into his third year, we could see Tate break into play-maker role. Tate has already shown enough to land him on the roster for next year and may fight for a starting position.Video Click => Tate will not go down
Isaiah Williams is the last speedster. He sat on the practice squad and never made it to the roster. This means the Hawks can not protect him from other teams signing him. He also runs a 4.34 but like Lockette carries that speed on a 6-2 200 pound frame. This will be his 4th year though, and I believe his practice squad eligibility is up meaning he has to make the roster this year or he could get churned.
Preseason highlightVideo Click => Presseason Game
Another Developmental WR is Kris Durham, who when active and on the field made contributions. Durham is a 6-6 220 WR, with a 4.42 speed. He has a lot of physical tools to make him successful in the NFL, and since he was playing as a developmental player the coaches will give him a shot at the practice squad if not the active roster.
Obomanu is in his 6th year as a pro and has decent speed. He is a good special teams contributor but hasn't been this year. After signing a 4 year 8 million dollar deal in the off season Obomanu was not a great contributor this year, often dropping very catchable passes. Obo Still has a lot in his tanks, but his slight improvement in production but not close to expectations after signing a new contract could mean he is on the bubble. His numbers were comparable with Rice's but in 7 more injury games. With at least five receivers committed to the roster and one to practice squad, there just may not be room for Obo. The good news is none of his contract looks to be guaranteed and bonuses already paid.Video Click => Obomanu still has gas in the tank
BMW with a 3 million contract could be a casualty to the churn. It could be argued that BMW needs a specific type of QB to make him successful, and with Hasselbeck he was our leading receiver, even if his numbers were average. Mike can be a big target on third downs and can pick up the firsts. There is a slew of cheaper, more effective receivers that can do that though, and most of them can work with any QB. On top of that Carroll has stated a desire for explosive “Touchdown Makers” Williams just cant get open down field with out the aid of a timing route. His contract also is not guarenteed. It should also be noted that Williams was considered not only a leader in the locker room, but also invaluable for coaching up his teammates and could stay on the squad for just this reason alone.Video Click => Rice to Williams
If you had the opportunity to read Davis' series about the green bay model and roster churning, you know we can expect to see at least a 13 player turn over. And since anywhere from 6-10 of the possible 61 players has to come from the WR spot, that is anywhere from 10%-16% (1.3 to 2.08 players )the correlation should stand to the churn. One could even make the argument that more should come from the receivers since weapons are a big focal point of green bay.
If the Seahawks don't do anything to improve the WR corps I still think just with its youth that it will improve even more. The hawks could also add two more to the practice squad and not have to let anyone go. So a churn here is not guaranteed.
With the Green Bay model though, regression is almost a sure fire way to find yourself on the chopping block. Age, lack of progression, and inflexible skill sets surely play a part as well. It may be tough but a few fan favorites might end up on the chopping block.