Thursday’s preseason opener definitely wasn’t the best display of athletic ability or the most polished performance we have ever seen, but there were a few areas that did raise some eyebrows. One thing that impressed me in particular was the play of the wide receivers, more specifically the young guys.
It is no secret that the wide receiver position has been somewhat of a revolving door in recent years both in terms of roster turnover and injuries. With the questions surrounding the quarterback position and newly acquired Tarvaris Jackson, consistency amongst the receiving corps is going to be key if there is any hope of a decent offense in 2011.
I don’t think anyone needs to be reminded of the horrible injury streak that plagued the 2008 Seahawk wide receivers, decimating the roster and sending then head coach Mike Holmgren on a wild goose chase looking for replacements. You remember those guys… or do you? Guys like Billy McMullen, Koren Robinson and Keary Colbert who caught a whopping 45 catches combined in 2008.
If we have learned nothing else over the last few seasons, it is the importance of depth.
The Hawks made a huge splash in free agency with the signing of the highly coveted Sidney Rice, which was an instant boost to the legitimacy of the offense and teamed with second year Seahawk Mike Williams, the starting tandem is set. The coaching staff is expecting big things from second year player Golden Tate and with the return of veteran Ben Obamanu and it is going to be a tough fight for the remaining roster spots.
The debut of fourth round draft pick Kris Durham was put on hold, being held out of last Thursday’s game due to a hamstring injury. However his undrafted free agent rookie teammates definitely took advantage of the absence of Durham in addition to starters Mike Williams and Sidney Rice.
One player who looked especially impressive was undrafted free agent Doug Baldwin. Baldwin finished the game with 4 catches for 29 yards, which on paper is not overly impressive, but he is definitely someone to keep an eye on. Baldwin showed sure hands and an ability to separate from coverage and has potential to develop into a solid special teams contributor as well. I would not be surprised to see Baldwin roaming the sidelines in a Seahawk uniform on opening day.
Free agent pickup Pat Williams also made an impressive acrobatic catch in the third quarter of Thursdays game, tipping the pass in tight coverage while still being able to wrangle in the ball for a first down. That may have been his only catch of the night, but it was an impressive one indeed.
Granted this is only the preseason and say what you will about the relevancy of the play, but this game showed us some things that should get you excited as a Seahawks fan.
The wide receiver position is going to be an exciting battle to watch over the next several weeks. This roster is chalked full of undrafted hopefuls just fighting for a chance to show what they can do and the reality is that a lot of good players will be released. I can’t remember the last time I have seen this much depth at the receiver position, but if history is any indication of what we can expect, we are going to need it!