Percy Harvin, not exactly plodding himself these days after being re-made and revitalized by offseason hip surgery, was talking about Marshawn Lynch on Thursday in the Seahawks' locker room at the Virginia Mason Athletics Center. And the wide receiver's face lit up as if a pass was coming his way with no one around him in an end zone.
"He's got another step," Harvin said of Lynch, who enters Sunday's game at San Diego coming off a 110-yard rushing day in the opener against Green Bay. "I don't what he did in the offseason, but it worked."
As a few wise guys said on Twitter yesterday when I posted that quote, here comes a "random" drug test.
Cynics aside, coach Pete Carroll has been saying since about the day Lynch arrived a week late to training camp following a week-long contract holdout that netted the 28-year-old running back an additional $1.5 million, converted from future bonuses into cash up front that Lynch is in the best shape since he became a Seahawk in Carroll's first Seattle season of
2010. He seems to be running faster, shifting more decisively.
Here's another reason Lynch romped through the Pack, and may again tomorrow in San Diego: Harvin.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell gave the ball to Harvin three times in Seattle's first seven plays last week: Twice on bubble screens outside and on the first of a few fly sweeps around the end. The effect was so much the yards Harvin got as what it did to Green Bay's defense. The Packers -- specifically linebackers Clay Matthews and friends -- were instantly sprinting from sideline to sideline in a mass chase of Harvin, who says he is faster and healthier than he's been since "before college," 10 years ago. That horizontally stretched the Packers along their front seven more than usual. That, in turn, made the blocking angles on run plays for the Seahawks' still-jelling offensive line far easier, the lanes through which Lynch could romp far wider than in previous seasons. That's when Bevell used Lynch more to last week as his hammer, and the result was Lynch's 24th 100-yard rushing day in four seasons plus one game as a Seahawk and 30th of his career that was in Buffalo until Carroll traded for him four years ago. It also led to Seattle's 207 yards rushing an a 20-point win over a predicted division champion.
So if and when you see Harvin running wide with the ball and running early again tomorrow in San Diego, you'll know why. It's a dimension this offense didn't have last season, when Harvin's hip was locking him into mere mortal speed.
--In today's News Tribune, I wrote how -- and why -- Ricardo Lockette transformed himself from thinking he was the next Jerry Rice as a rookie three years ago out of tiny Fort Valley State into an ace sprinter and tackler on punt and kickoff coverage and now into a touchdown receiver in the NFL. It's because he asked and coach Pete Carroll told him the surest way to stick in the league: by busting his tail on special teams first.
--The Seahawks leave Renton headquarters around noon today for the airport and the flight to San Diego. It is the franchise's first regular-season game in San Diego since 2002. That was Mike Holmgren's fourth season as Seattle's coach.
--Just when the NFL's sad week couldn't have gotten any worse, Adrian Peterson turned himself into authorities in Texas this morning following his indictment Friday on charges of child abuse. The Vikings star running back posted $15,000 and was released.