During an OTA session where several groups turned in impressive plays, none of was brighter on a sun-splashed Monday to quarterback Russell Wilson than his collection of wide receivers.
The Seahawks’ linebackers had just stated their case for “best position on the team” during Monday’s OTA session by making one impressive play after another.
If it wasn’t K.J. Wright making an interception, it was Bobby Wagner tipping a pass incomplete in the end zone. If it wasn’t Wright turning in a diving effort to deflect another pass, it was rookie Kevin Pierre-Louis slamming the door on a swing pass before the receiver could swing into action.
Then, quarterback Russell Wilson stepped to the podium after practice and nominated another group.
“The receivers, to be honest with you, that’s been the best-looking position I think so far – especially with the offense,” Wilson said. “They’ve done a tremendous job. Their knowledge of the game. Their explosiveness.”
The biggest of the big plays along the shores of Lake Washington was Wilson’s 50-yard touchdown pass to rookie Paul Richardson, the second-round draft choice who once again displayed an extra gear while the ball was in the air. But there was more.
Like the explosive speed that comes with Percy Harvin not only practicing but being healthy – and hungry – while doing it.
“Percy feels great, he looks great,” Wilson said. “He’s catching the ball extremely well.”
Monday, you could add “and often” to that assessment, as Harvin had half-a-dozen plays and seemed to flaunt a different skill on each one – be it the precision of his route, the softness of his hands, his ability to get around the corner as a runner, or the explosiveness quickness and speed that is startling no matter how many times you see it.
Like the just re-signed Doug Baldwin making one tough catch after another look easy, and then letting the defense know about it.
Like the still-underrated Jermaine Kearse, he of the sure-plays-a-mean-pinball touchdown reception in the Super Bowl where he bounced off or spun from four defenders to get into the end zone.
“There’s so many guys I could name down the list, to be honest with you,” Wilson said.
And that includes a couple of relative unknowns at this point – Chris Matthews, the 6-foot-5 former CFL pass-catcher; and Taylor Price, a fifth-year receiver who was with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011 and missed last season with an injury (yes, the Seahawks-to-Jaguars pipeline also runs in this direction).
“Taylor Price, he’s always in the right spot at the right time,” Wilson said. “He’s got great hands.
“Chris Matthews, especially Friday, he was turning it out. He was making unbelievable catches going over top of guys. That’s what we need. We need a big target. He’s a big target. He’s got great hands.”
And there are still others, of course: Bryan Walters, Phil Bates, Ricardo Lockette, rookie Kevin Norwood, Arceto Clark and on-the-mend Sidney Rice.
“I think the receiver position has been one of our best positions so far in OTAs,” Wilson said. “We want to just keep that going. We’re still young. We’re still trying to grow. But we’ve got a lot of great players.”
It’s the thought of having Harvin healthy for an entire season, however, which makes everyone smile. After being acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings last March, a troublesome hip that eventually required surgery in August rendered Harvin only half-a-Harvin through most of the offseason workouts. The recovery process limited him to one regular-season game and a concussion then knocked him out of the postseason opener and kept Harvin sidelined until the Super Bowl.
Now, Harvin is showing consistently the bag of skills he was only able to flash last season.
“To have Percy on the field brings another added dimension to our offense – in terms of the speed, in terms of what he can do running the football, too,” Wilson said.
With Harvin and the rest of the receivers, it starts with their speed.
“Our receivers right now are as fast as it gets,” Wilson said. “I think our receiver group is probably one of the faster in the league.”
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