The Seattle Seahawks will play a football game this afternoon, a prospect that calls for a particular word I’ll use as soon as I verify its spelling.
Ah, I just found it.
Playing a game means Seahawks fans could have something else to talk about besides the pros and cons of quarterback Russell Wilson in relation to the pros and cons of backup quarterback Matt Flynn.
The debate is legitimate – Wilson, so dynamic during the exhibition/audition season, appears to have had his body snatched by an indecisive rookie – but after seven days of full-blare QB controversy, which followed three months of relentless-din QB controversy, I’ve reached a point of circuit overload.
As Clark Gable would have said had “Gone With the Wind” been written for a children’s audience: Frankly, madam, I don’t give a dear.
The time has come to introduce a few different names as potential fixes for the Seahawks unproductive passing offense.
Here’s one: Keenan Allen.
Here’s another: Justin Hunter.
And here’s two more: Robert Woods and Terrance Williams.
These guys aren’t prominent in your thoughts and prayers, but they should be in April, when the Seahawks announce their first-day selections in the 2013 draft. Allen (California), Hunter (Tennessee), Woods (USC) and Williams (Baylor) are playmakers who could provide Wilson – or, ahem, Flynn – with a legitimate down-field option.
Veteran Sidney Rice, with 12 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown, ranks as Seattle’s top receiver – and the 88th-ranked receiver in the NFL. Rice, signed before last season as a free agent, acquired a reputation with the Vikings as a scoring threat who’s vulnerable to injuries.
Half of the scouting report turned out to be accurate.
Golden Tate has caught two touchdown passes, sort of, but otherwise? He’s got five other receptions, and is on pace to finish the season with 24.
Braylon Edwards and Doug Baldwin have combined – let’s emphasis this: combined – for nine catches worth 66 yards.
No wonder coach Pete Carroll challenged Terrell Owens to make the team during training camp. It wasn’t a publicity stunt to bring in a long-past-his-prime soap opera star with more baggage than could fit on three carousels at Sea-Tac Airport. The Seahawks were desperate for wide receivers in August, and after four games, they’re remain desperate.
But will they acknowledge that desperation in the draft? Tradition suggests they won’t.
Tate, chosen as a second-rounder in 2010, is the only wide receiver drafted by the team of Carroll and general manager John Schneider. Instead of grooming elite prospects at the position, Carroll and Schneider have filled the roster with high-priced free agents (Rice), bargain-basement pickups who slipped through the draft (Baldwin), or briefly inspiring career-reclamation projects (Mike Williams, whose solid work in 2010 found him regressing to the mean in 2011).
The Seahawks history of ignoring receivers in the draft precedes Carroll and Schneider. The history goes back to the franchise’s first draft, in 1976, when Seattle chose a Georgia Tech receiver in the second round – some kid named Steve Raible – as the 59th overall selection.
Since choosing Raible, who went on to gain acclaim as both a Seattle television news anchorman and play-by-play voice on Seahawks radio broadcasts, the number of Hawks receivers drafted within 59 overall picks can be counted on one hand: Daryl Turner (second round, 1984); Brian Blades (second round, 1988); Doug Thomas (second round, 1991); Joey Galloway (first round, 1995) and Koren Robinson (first round, 2001).
Blades earned a Pro Bowl invitation after his second season, in 1989, the last time a Seahawks wide receiver was so honored. Galloway, with 67 receptions for 1,039 yards, was a consensus zll-rookie receiver in 1995. And while Koren Robinson’s middle name could have been Migraine, he gave the Seahawks some highlights to alleviate the headaches.
In any case, a quarterback who has Galloway as a deep threat and Blades running slant routes, is going to have better chance at completing a meaningful third-down pass than a quarterback looking for Rice and Edwards.
If you don’t invest high draft choices in wide receivers, you get, well, what get: A Wilson pass to Baldwin last Sunday, for instance, that went through the target’s hands and ended up as an interception.
Is Cal’s Allen the answer? Halfway through his junior season in Berkeley, the 6-foot-3 standout looks like he’s capable of turning 15-yard receptions into 40-yard touchdowns. Tennessee’s Hunter? At 6-4, recovered from the knee injury that sidelined him last season, he presents even more of a physical mismatch against cornerbacks.
The NFL Combine will help the Seahawks sort out other contenders – Washington State’s Marquess Wilson has to be on their watch list – but more important than identifying a specific name is to address a specific need: Playmakers. Guys who can get open and grab the ball for first downs, for touchdowns.
It’s not that the Seahawks are incapable of impressive catches. In the opener, a former Stanford wide receiver showed terrific athleticism holding onto the ball while straddling the sideline.
Only Richard Sherman’s play wasn’t ruled a catch. It was ruled an interception.
Think about that: The best Seahawks catch of the 2012 season came off a pass thrown by John Skelton, a quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.email@example.com