Catching passes isn’t nearly enough, not for Seahawks receivers.
If that’s all a wide-out thinks about, he might end up on somebody else’s roster.
The extra duties can go unnoticed if you’re not watching closely, but Seahawks receivers have been decleating defenders with timely blocks since Pete Carroll showed up in 2010.
Even if they tend to be among the smallest men on the field, the blocking of perimeter receivers has been a crucial element to the Seahawks’ successful rushing scheme.
Carroll says the willingness of these guys to get physical and mix it up is part of the “standards and expectations” of Seattle receivers. It’s written into the job description.
The receivers have a motto for this attitude: “No job too little, no job too great.”
But line coach Tom Cable, who coordinates the running game, probably described it best, attributing the blocking of the receivers to a shared attitude.
“We’re really fortunate here, we don’t have divas,” Cable said, alluding to those receivers driven by stats and ego. “We have tough guys; they love catching it and making all those flashy plays, but they’re more than willing to block for us, and we really appreciate them.”
In the win over Carolina last weekend, 182-pound Tyler Lockett contributed a downfield block that was key to Thomas Rawls racing for a 45-yard touchdown.
And later, when Doug Baldwin pulled in a pass on a curl route, it was Jermaine Kearse who sent Panther Daryl Worley flying to allow Baldwin to cut up the sideline for another 10 yards.
Baldwin, a wiry 192 pounds, is as dauntless as he is effective. Early in the game against Philadelphia, Baldwin came in motion to the slot position on the right side, and when Eagles safety Jaylen Watkins stepped up into the hole, Baldwin drove him into the pile of fallen bodies to open the way for C.J. Prosise to race 72 yards for a touchdown.
Mind you, this wasn’t one of those little paddy-cake blocks, or shielding the man, he got up under his pads and drove him out of the hole.
“Our guys are really good and consistent and have been fantastic for years,” Carroll said. “The guys have taken to it; Doug is fantastic effort-wise and with his determination. Jermaine has been great, and Tyler is a really good blocker even though he’s a smaller guy.”
Lockett learned all about these expectations when he got to the Seahawks last season. His slight stature did not change what would be asked of him.
“We understand that there are some receivers (in the NFL) who don’t want to block, who don’t want to do everything, but if you want to be on this team, you have got to be willing to block anybody — defensive ends, linebackers, everybody,” Lockett said. “It’s just part of being a complete receiver, doing whatever we can do to get this offense going.”
While Cable cites it as an example of a hard-nosed, combative attitude, Kearse pinpointed a deeper motivation: pride.
“It’s mostly a pride thing for us in the (receivers’) room,” Kearse said. “To go downfield and be able to block and do whatever it takes to help us succeed and ultimately help the team to win, however we can, is important to us. We take a lot of pride in that.”
It doesn’t go unnoticed when it comes time to watch the game tapes.
“Every week we talk about it, (if) you have a good run game, it’s because of your perimeter people,” Cable said. “The big plays and the big runs come from the outside guys.”
Good blocks rarely make it onto the highlight reels, and Pro Bowl berths go to receivers who put up the big-digit statistics.
But a lot of other things are involved in the earnest pursuit of winning championships.
The Seahawks have flourished as a power rushing team, and an underappreciated part of that is the contributions of this group of extraordinarily tough and fearless little guys who take great pride in fulfilling every aspect of their jobs.