Doug Baldwin is becoming more than just the new, undisputed, No. 1 wide receiver with Percy Harvin shoved out to New York.
It's been noticeable to me in the last couple weeks how assertive Baldwin has been publicly from inside a locker room national reports have been portraying as divided.
It was striking on Sunday in the minutes after the Seahawks lost 28-26 at the Rams.
As players filed in and out of the visitors’ locker room on the ground floor of the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Baldwin folded himself into a white, plastic chair in front of his locker. He calmly and candidly answered every question about the Seahawks’ uneven state of affairs. He flatly answered whether he did indeed have a physical altercation with Harvin in August with a firm “Yes.”
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For upwards of 15 minutes, he was the Seahawks’ front man and locker-room spokesman. He looked every bit a team leader.
Was that his intent?
“To be honest with you,’ Baldwin said before Wednesday’s practice for Sunday’s game at Carolina (3-3-1), “I was just tired; didn’t want to move too fast.”
Jokes aside, there is no doubt who has emerged as a forthright leader and locker room thermometer, the public’s window into the Seahawks’ issues and their pulse.
“I think we’re good. I think we’re really good,” Baldwin said before practice Wednesday. “We’re positive and upbeat and ready to go to work.”
Asked if the mood of the locker room feels any differently than it was last week following the loss to Dallas, Baldwin said: “Offensively, yeah, I think we are a little more positive because we felt like there was some growth in the offense.
“Marshawn (Lynch), without a couple penalties he would have rushed for 100 yards (actually 91 at St. Louis). Then offensively we threw for over 300 yards. So, I think we are in the right direction, yes.
“The mood is optimistic.”
To Baldwin a lot has changed — and not just his targets going from three against the Cowboys with Harvin around to 11 against the Rams with Harvin gone, as Baldwin moved back into the slot receiver where he’s excelled for years.
Head Coach Pete Carroll
October 22, 2014
(Opening) Cranking it up for a big week against Carolina. Traveling again, we understand we got to make the trip and play well. Guys are coming back, ready to go. We had a good start to the day and we’re under way. I know Carolina has had some rough times here in the last few weeks but we see them as a very good football team with tremendous amount of potential in their offense. Whenever you’re playing Cam Newton you have your hands full. He’s done a ton of stuff last few weeks. He’s run the ball a lot more than he had, which just adds to the problem of stopping these guys. We’ve got to do a really good job in getting ready, it’s a big game plan for us to put together because of all of the stuff they do. It’s really important that we get cranked up. We have a couple of guys that surprised us a little bit, looking like they’re going to practice today. Luke Willson should be out there going. Tharold Simon also. So that’s a good little boost for us. We were concerned about those guys, now we take them day to day. It’s good to have those guys back out there.
(On QB Cam Newton developing more as a pocket passer this year) No he’s been doing this for a long time. He’s looked like this for quite some time now. He can do anything. He’s terrific in the pocket. He can get out, they move him. They have a very diverse package of stuff because he’s so able to handle everything. He can scramble too obviously, he’s good at that. You have to defend him in the pocket first because he’s really good at that. He stands tall and throws the ball over the field.
(On the fullback plan for the weekend) You’ll wait and see. We’ll unveil that as we get there.
(On RB Robert Turbin’s demonstration) Yes. He did admirably. He’s welcomed the challenge of taking care of business here for us. It’s a positive move for us because he’s a really good football player on the field and he’ll help us in other ways too.
(On CB Byron Maxwell and C Max Unger having a chance this week) Maxie is ahead of Max Unger, Byron [Maxwell] will do some stuff but we won’t see him practicing today. So we’ll just check it out and see how he is tomorrow. I just saw Max [Unger] running right now, so he’s really on the track getting back here but we don’t know when yet.
(On adjusting to LB Bobby Wagner not being able to defend QB Cam Newton) We don’t really adjust, we just make due. Bobby [Wagner] has had some signature plays where he’s running down and showing the great speed that he has. You can’t replace 4.4 (speed) when you don’t have it. That just calls for everybody to do a good job. When he does take off and we’ll have to corral him and guys coming out of secondary as well, which we’ve had to call on in the past too.
(On how the team has moved on since Percy Harvin’s trade) We already have made that move. It doesn’t feel any different today. We’re moving on.
(On turning a corner offensively in the second half) I’m hoping so. We really feel like that and the guys felt really comfortable about what we were asking them to do and in their roles. Everything fit together really well for two and a half quarters and we moved the ball pretty well. We’re hoping we can keep getting better and stay with that and take off from there. There was a real good sense on the offensive side about protecting the quarterback and mixing, like I said the running system worked out for us so we’ll see if we can keep going.
(On the differences offensively from the first half to the second half) We had trouble getting started, but once we got rolling it just felt like it was much cleaner. Everybody was confident and moving quickly and were in and out of the huddle quickly and executing well. All of the things that you look for were present for unfortunately two and a half quarters.
(On if DT Jordan Hill has a chance this week) Doesn’t look like that. He’s still hobbling around a little bit.
(On if QB Cam Newton and QB Russell Wilson are different types of throwing quarterbacks) They’re different athletically of course because he’s so much taller. They’re both very effective when they move out and have good vision and all. I think they’re pretty similar. Russell’s [Wilson] stuff happens all spinning around and jumping around more so. Cam [Newton] is a little more deliberate. He has good vision down the field. He’s had a lot of plays in his career where he strikes you down with a bomb or something when somebody gets loose. I think he commands that whole area out of the pocket really well. He knows when to run and knows when to throw the ball.
(On if having more penalties last week than previous weeks is concerning) Yeah we don’t want any of them. We want to get rid of them. The differential from ten penalties to two in your opponents is a big deal in that game. We gave them a lot of stuff. We continue to work on it. The line of scrimmage there was a couple, we had a delay, I could have fixed with the timeout but didn’t. The aggressive penalties, there’s always questions about them. Sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t. We’re going to continue work to cut them down, we don’t want that differential for our opponent.
(On illegal contact from preseason to current season) It’s pretty much carried over. They’ve really found the rhythm with it I think. The hands in the face thing are a big penalty that’s going on. It happens so incidentally that, that’s a big one. Illegal hands down the field. We haven’t been a victim of that very much, we’ve done well there. I think the hands in the face things have really shown up a lot. It’s the way game has changed and they fix it a little bit. The grabbing down the field is pretty easy to call so they’re getting pretty consistent about that. It’s a good way we look at it now. There’s nothing you can get away with at all so we try to stay out of that business. I don’t think it’s wrecked the game though, you know I think things are going okay.
(On changing some things scheme wise and can that be done with the personnel who is currently here or would you need to bring someone in) No we basically have the same personnel we had a year ago there’s just a couple switches in there. So we totally believe in our guys, know that they can get it done.
(On having one less linebacker and if it limits LB Bruce Irvin as a pass rusher) No. It doesn’t affect it.
(On WR Jermaine Kearse’s improvements and if his big play last year was the start) Yeah, to my recollection that was the biggest play he made. Maybe there was a couple other ones. He’s just become a fixture for us. We count on him to make the plays that he makes. We use him in ways that we’ve come to understand is really good for him. Down the field he’s really good. He does a great job in the red zone. He’s a route runner. He can run really precise routes, so we count on him to do that. He has knack for making big plays so he’s just developed his role here since then and he’s a real regular for us.
(On how big of an issue depth is without DE Cassius Marsh and DT Jordan Hill this week) We’re a guy short there from what we were. We were developing Cassius [Marsh] role so we do miss him. We have some flexibility and we’re going to make sure we do a good job of keeping our guys fresh and paying more attention to that. Just so that we keep our rotations like we’ve liked it. It got a little heavy for Michael [Bennett] as I said so we have our ways to do that.
(On what has been seen out of T Justin Britt and what growth needs to happen) He’s become consistent. We’re counting on him now week to week to be on the calls and make the right choices, combination block properly and all that. I think in time he’ll just get more stout. He’ll just be stronger at the point of attack and those things will come. He’s done a really good job when you think about it, you throw a rookie in right from the start and he’s had terrific guys to go against and again he’ll have some guys this week but he’s stood the test so far and he’ll only get better. The second half of the season he’ll be much improved as well. Very successful for us.
(On how much having G J.R. Sweezy next to T Justin Britt has helped him) Yeah J.R. is a regular starter. He’s put all of that other stuff behind him, the pup stuff and the transition from the defensive side and all that. He’s a legitimate football player and he’s playing great football. He’s not the most talkative guy in the world but he does communicate well. It really helped when Zach [Miller] was with us early on because he’s tremendous at identifying and communicating and all that. He helped us. Fortunately Zach [Miller] got to break Justin [Britt] in and it made a difference I think. So those guys are growing together and we’ll continue to improve. I think we’ll continue to get better, we can count on that.
(On the defense having an aura of invincibility coming into the season and what the confidence is currently like) They want to get back out there again. They want to get back on the field and get going. We don’t feel we’ve been as disruptive as we were and it’s pretty easy to see that. They just want to get out and keep playing. Hopefully we’ll get back to where we’re causing more problems. We’re playing solid football. The numbers aren’t terrible in terms of rushing yardage and stuff like that. Just the productivity hasn’t happened, the disruptive plays we were so counting on last year. We’re six games in and that’s a long time for some people but there’s a lot of football to be played. Hopefully going to make a turn and really feel the same kinds of results that we had before that were crucial to the way we played in general.
(On if there is an emotional edge that was lost as the defensive injuries speak for themselves) I’m hoping not. We’re going to keep battling. Everybody is working hard to bring the juice that we need in the way we played. You want it because the balls aren’t being tipped and it’s not on the ground as much as it’s been. I think our opponents and we have seen the top four quarterbacks in the NFL within our first six games, those guys have done a nice job against us. We’ll see what happens. I think it goes hand in hand with the productivity.
(On having 28 picks a year ago and now 5) They come in bunches. We won’t get any interceptions in those six games we’ve played but we have a chance coming up this week. Can’t do anything about those last ones.
(On TE Brett Brackett’s role) We’ll find out. From what I’ve seen on film he’s an all-around tight end, good catcher, good route runner, and have seen him block. I saw him actively against guys at Jacksonville so I got to have a pretty good gauge of guys that we knew he was blocking. So we’ll see what happens. It’s the first day. I can’t tell you much more than that.
(On moving WR Paul Richardson and WR Kevin Norwood forward) They handled it well. They had no problem going in and out of the game. The one substitution, we had too many rookies out there. Other than that I think Paul [Richardson] has shown really good consistency. He’s done all of the things he did in preseason, what we’ve seen in camp. We love how he runs too. He will be a factor there hopefully. This is Kevin’s [Norwood] first shot so we don’t know much. But he handled it. Kevin’s [Norwood] played in a bunch of big football games and he’s been a great come through player in college and we’ve seen nothing but that from him on the practice field. When he gets his chances he’s going to be a factor. He did fine and felt good for both of those guys to be actively apart of the game plan and all.
(On DE Cliff Avril and DE Michael Bennett pressure situations) I’m not sure of situations like that. But these guys have rushed really hard and been very aggressive. I’ve looked at every one of their rushes and situations and I think we’re going to count on those guys to continue to do what they’re doing and try to help around them. We’ve got to get Mike active inside and get him to be the disruptor that he can be. We need to help him with some stuff there, some stuff scheme wise we’ll tweak here and there. Those guys are bringing it. In my mind it’s going to happen and we’ll just keep working until it does because we know it’s there.
(On getting back to rotating those guys and seeing any differences) No, no I don’t. Their effort has been really good and they’ve shown good conditioning. We haven’t overplayed those guys we’ve just played them more than we did before. It’s really a percentage of plays that we’re talking about, so we’ll see if that factors in our favor.
(On TE Zach Miller’s improvements) He’s doing better. He was here working out, rehabbing here this morning. It’s been a little bit slower than we would have hoped. Not as comfortable getting going on it but everything worked well in the surgery. We’re going to take him with us this week so he can visit a doctor out there. Hopefully he’ll make a good turn here. I think they talked about there’s a turn coming up here in the next week or so where we should see him get better quickly.
(On WR Bryan Walters being the kickoff guy for Sunday) Yeah. That’s the weekly question, right?
(On why WR Bryan Walters is the right guy for that job) He’s really good at catching the ball and decision making. The kicking game for us when they’re giving us the football, we want to get it and make sure we keep it. That’s what’s most important and he’s really good at doing that.
(On the defense being eager to get back out there along with the rest of the team) I think so. They’re taking the lead on that one. The offense is excited to get back out. They really felt a lot of momentum in last week’s game and they want to build on that. We’re kind of anxious to go play football again.
DB Richard Sherman
October 22, 2014
(Opening) I was told to get up here and send a shout out to Doug Baldwin because apparently, he doesn’t get enough shout outs.
(On Doug Baldwin telling him to give him a shout out) I’m going to leave my sources anonymous.
(On losing a bet to Doug Baldwin) I seem to lose bets all the time to Doug, even though I win.
(On does Doug Baldwin hold it over his head) He doesn’t stay angry about it at all. He’s just passionate; the guy just shows a lot of passion and heart.
(On who had the ball at the bottom of the pile) Well that’s obviously up for debate. I was a person who thought I had it. The ref was a person who thought he had it. The other team obviously thought they had it so I guess that’s what they end up going with.
(On what goes on under the pile that people couldn’t see) I guess a lot of things that people wouldn’t want to see. It’s the bottom of a pile—I think it’s an experience to be had but I felt like we had the ball and our offense should have gotten another possession but it’s not here nor there. Obviously, they didn’t review it and we have to move on.
(On when did he hear the whistle) Well we heard the whistle probably in the middle of the scrum—they blew the whistle and we had it, but they have to pull everybody off and then they pull the ball out and tell us that we moving back to the old spot—something about you can’t fumble forward.
(On the referee taking the ball from him) From the pile—there was more than one hand on the ball when he got it.
(On does he see intensity from this team for 60 minutes) I think the intensity is fine. I think obviously in games like we’ve had these last couple of weeks, it’s just a few plays here and there. I think all games are lost off a few plays and I think that anyone that knows football will tell you the same. I think that the effort was fine—I think obviously some of the execution could have been better on both sides of the ball. I think at the end of the day, we had a shot to win in and we didn’t make the plays that we needed to do at the end to get the win.
(On how the team handles losing consecutive games) I think we’ve handled it fine. You handle wins and losses the same—you treat the two impostors the same and you move on and continue to treat the next week like a championship opportunity and I think that’s what our team is doing. I think our team is mature enough to move past those losses and continue to grow and to continue to improve.
(On how the protection of quarterbacks changed his game as a defensive back) We haven’t changed much of any part of our game. I think the plays are there to be made and we just haven’t made them—balls haven’t bounced our way as in indicative as what happened at the end; even when the ball does bounce your way, it doesn’t bounce your way. You don’t catch the breaks every year and this year we haven’t caught the same breaks that we caught before. We got to play better football and I think that’s coming in the future.
(On interceptions coming in bunches) They do—they do come in bunches and we’re waiting for that opportunity because once it starts rolling, it really gets rolling fast and it continues week in and week out. I think we just have to stay after it—I think we’ll find our rhythm and we’ll be fine.
(On does he still feel that the illegal contact rule won’t change how the secondary plays) I still feel the same way—I don’t think I’ve been called for illegal contact. I think I’ve gotten one pass interference; I mean I don’t think it changes the way we play at all. I think it’s all the same to us—calls are going to go your way and not go your way throughout the season not matter what the emphasis is and what this, that, and the second is—but I think our team has done fine in that regard. I think, like I said before, the breaks just aren’t coming our way.
(On does he feel that a lack of pass rush causes him to cover longer) Not really—I don’t think we’ve felt like quarterbacks have had extra time or anything like that. I mean it’s been tight coverage, they’ve gotten the ball out fast, but rush and coverage has to work together—we have to find a way to stop those short passes and get them to hold the ball a little bit longer; that’s what we’re going to continue to work on and continue to improve on.
(On has the Percy Harvin trade left an emotional scar) I don’t think it’ll leave an emotional mark. The longer you’re in this game, the more you realize of how much of a business it is and you try to not mix business with personal and obviously he’s a friend, he’s a teammate, but at the end of the day, you have to come to work and you work with who we have and that’s what we do. Obviously, a lot of people have come and gone from this place in my time here and that’s one of the parts of the business that you have to find a way to get used to.
(On challenges of playing Cam Newton) I mean there are a lot of challenges playing Cam. Obviously he’s a threat running the football, he’s a big body, and he’s tough to sack. It’s going to be a challenge for our defensive line and our linebackers and our defense as a whole in containing him. He has a big target in Kelvin Benjamin who he likes to get the ball too. [Greg] Olsen is having a great year, and I think he’s comfortable in his role and obviously he’s matured over the years and become a good quarterback so we have to be aware of all the things he can do.
(On does mobile quarterback make his job tougher) Not really because it’s not your responsibility. At the end of the day, you’re responsible for what you have to do and if he breaks contain and breaks the line of scrimmage, then you rally up and tackle him as a team but it’s not something you think about consciously during the play because you’re more focused on doing your job and the d-line is more focused on doing their job and that’s what allows you to play great discipline defense.
(On if he could have imagine opposing quarterbacks having 122 passer rating) I couldn’t but obviously, that’s what it is—it happens. I think we’ll find our rhythm and I think we’ll get it lowered and good football will come and we’ll win ball games.
(On the mood of the team) I think it’s confident. I think the team is still confident in what we can do, still confident in our abilities. If three losses were to ruin the season, then it would have ruined last year’s season too because we lost three last year then too. I think our team is fine and understands what we need to do to turn it around and we’re confident in our ability to do that.
(On Tharold Simon being over amped) Well if you wait two years to get on the field you are going to be out there hyped up. Obviously, he’s got some things to figure out but I think it’s good to get him out there and to get his first start and get his legs under him. I think he played well—unfortunately he rolled his ankle early on and wasn’t able to finish but I think he’ll be fine and settle down.
(On does he feel if the man/zone coverage ratio usage is similar to last year) I think it’s similar to what it was last year. I don’t think it’s changed very much. I think we still have a decent mix of both in there—mix it up when we need too. Tell you the truth—I don’t think much has changed since last year.
(On does he feel that teams are checking down more when they’re in zone coverage) Maybe—I think obviously they’re attacking underneath zones a little more than last year I guess, but we’re still there making plays, we’re still getting them in third down—it might be a penalty here or a tip pass here or a scramble and a stumble for a yard here; those plays are the plays that we can’t have and those are the little breaks that I was talking about before.
(On how much he thinks Cam Newton has been bothered by his injury) I don’t think he’s been bothered as much in the early games. I think last game it kind of flared up on him a little bit and he was able to overcome it and continue to play in the game but obviously anytime you have an ankle injury it takes a lot—you’re doing a lot of dynamic movements on the ankle so it can get sore, but he’s fought through and done a great job