Mike Williams has been cut, and many Seahawks fans are wondering, "Who is going to line up at split end?"
Just to put it out there, because you know how far into the future I am constantly thinking -- I am in favor of spending a top draft pick in 2013 on a split end receiver. This is a blog, however, about how the Seahawks can "get by" in 2012 without a dominant one. It's a numbers game, in my mind, and here is the math behind my thinking.
In 2011, the Seahawks completed 299 passes. They ran the ball about 46.5% of the time, but over 50% of the time in the second half of the season. I think it is save to assume 61 snaps per game (Seahawks averaged 59 and change per game in 2011), with 30 runs and 31 attempted passes, on average. Pete wants to run a balanced offense.
Would it be too much to ask for 63% completion percentage from whoever it is that winds up the Seahawks quarterback in 2012, whether it's Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn, or Russell Wilson? That works out to 19.53 completions per game (31 attempts x 0.63 = 19.53), or 312 completions over 16 games. Again, approximations.
Last year Baldwin led the team with 51 catches, followed by Ben Obomanu with 37 catches, Golden Tate with 35 catches, Sidney Rice with 32 catches, Zach Miller with 25 catches, TEs Cameron Morrah and Anthony McCoy combining for 19 catches, and Mike Williams had 18 catches. The other receivers caught 13 balls, between Kris Durham, Ricardo Lockette, Deon Butler. The running back group combined for 70 catches between Marshawn Lynch (28), Justin Forsett (23), Leon Washington (10), and Mike Robinson (9).
Here is a modest scenario for 2012: I could see Sidney Rice grabbing 45 catches. Can fans hope for four catches a game and hope he can play in 12 of the 16 games? Rice is the second highest paid player on the roster, so I should hope so. Doug Baldwin - 50 catches. I can see a regression here as well - but it's hard to count Doug out. Kellen Winslow - 45 catches. Winslow had 75 catches in 2011, for comparison. Zach Miller - 40 catches. Is this too much to ask for? Maybe, but he had 66 catches in 2009 and 60 in 2010 with Tom Cable and his Raiders.
I could see the other tight ends end up with 10 catches. The running back group - 70 catches; perhaps it is Leon with 10, Mike Rob 10, Turbin 30 and Lynch 20. After all, Lynch may be suspended.
We are at 260 catches, and need to get to 312 catches to meet our "goal"
Could three wide receivers team up so to speak and catch 52 balls? I think so, and this goes along with Thomas and Danny's thinking that we could see a group of players as WR3/"X", opposite Sidney Rice and behind Doug Baldwin as the premiere slot receiver. Golden caught 35 balls last year. Would it be too much to ask for 30 catches, with the other 22 going to Durham, Obomanu, Lockette or some other receiver that emerges? At this point, Pete Carroll does not run a high volume passing offense - so completing less than 20 passes per game may still be enough to compete, and with a lot of two tight end sets, the X receiver position may be "managed" for 2012. Of course, because this is how I work as a fan, I'm looking to the 2013 NFL Draft. And, I still say draft one high next year.