The Elephant in the Locker Room: Let’s Talk Angry Doug… and Harvin

Hawks-150Yeah, the ‘Hawks are big news. Expectations are high, and everyone’s paying attention… including the national media. But every week it seems like there’s some key issue that’s getting glossed over–some topic that, for one reason or another, is being avoided. It’s the elephant in the locker room, if you will, and gosh darn if I’ll let that ride. Join us on Saturday mornings for a little closer look at our World Champions.

By Greg Wright

Why did the Seahawks trade Harvin?

Well, let’s talk about that… and just as a word of warning, when you get too close to “Angry Doug” Baldwin you’re in for a mouthful. So prep your ears for some bleeping good bleeps.

Reporters didn’t even have to wait for post-game interviews for Baldwin to go off about the Seahawks’ utter failure on Sunday to mount more than a single scoring drive over 15 yards. The Fox Sports cameramen captured Baldwin gesticulating wildly in QB Russell Wilson’s face in a prime opportunity for some Mad Lip Reading. But you know Angry Doug wasn’t chatting about Girl Scout cookie sales.

Complex Media Sports has all the source footage and post-game quotes you need to know what Baldwin bleeping did, and what Baldwin bleeping said after the bleeping game:

Some NFL commentators, particularly those who are former players, have opined that Baldwin’s comments belong in the locker room, behind closed doors, and are not fit for public consumption. And it’s not because of the f-bombs. It’s because Baldwin’s words are too inflammatory and critical.

Well, heck. He’s only saying what people who pay close attention to the games are saying out loud, or at least thinking.

Here’s ESPN’s chart of the game for offensive drives resulting in scores:


Now, tell me where the Hawks’ offense would have been without a blocked punt and Tony Romo’s shin.

So, yeah. Doug’s right. The offense had its hands on the ball plenty of times; and the Cowboys’ defense looked championship caliber.

But here’s the part no one has been talking about… and why Doug is particularly angry.

The Seahawks receiving corps this year is less than pedestrian.

Remember Doug’s salty talk before the Superbowl last year?

Well, it’s a new season–and not to blow Golden Toot’s horn, cuz he does a plenty good job of that himself, but he’s off with the Lions as their Number Two receiver (I’m not touching that one)… and merely racking up the sixth most receiving yards in the league, already at 495. And Sidney Rice has retired.

So have the Seahawks receivers become pedestrian without Tate and Rice? Or, to ask the question another way, how do they compare to other receivers a third of the way into the season?

Well, Doug Baldwin leads the team ranked… wait for it… 95th in the league. 95th! Averaging 37.4 yards per game.

Kearse clocks in next for the Hawks at #103.

These are guys who caught touchdown passes in a Superbowl.

Last year, Tate finished the season ranked #31 while Baldwin ranked #44.

Yeah, Baldwin has a right to be bleeping. He ought to be bleeping. And the 12th Man ought to be glad that someone’s mouthing off about it. Happy-talk platitudes don’t get the job done.

Further, all Tate, Baldwin, and Kearse did last year was catch balls. All three ranked in the top fifteen in targets-to-catches ratios. Well, guess what? This year, only Baldwin is keeping up a 65-70% pace. For the rest of corps, downfield completions are hovering at around just 50%. And it’s not just catching the ball that’s the problem. One-on-one battles are just not being won, across the board. That’s how, last Sunday, dink-and-dunk just tanked and stunk.

It was fine and dandy that Percy Harvin was catching 85% of the passes thrown his way. It’s not fine and dandy that he was averaging just 6 yards on those catches–the lowest YPC average on the team, and, yes, 144th in the league!

Clearly, the offense needs a lot of work. A lot. “We really played like crap,” Baldwin offered in a follow-up interview on Wednesday.

This is what things look like when your team graduates from underdog status to figuring out how to win with a roster stacked with highly-paid superstars. “All our guys are very talented. We want to have all of them involved,” admits Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell. “It’s a tough orchestration of the whole thing.”

So look at it this way. Doug Baldwin is arguably the worst-performing #1 wideout in the league, just after getting the big contract extension he sought… and deserved. I imagine Doug is more than just a little angry about not earning that payday so far this season.

Get used to living with a target on your team’s back… now, just without Harvin.


4 Responses to “The Elephant in the Locker Room: Let’s Talk Angry Doug… and Harvin”
  1. Loren says:

    Prediction #1: Seahawks will not make the playoffs this year.

    • Greg Wright says:

      There would certainly be precedent for that. It’s really tough to keep the chemistry intact from a championship season.

      The play from last year that sticks out in my mind is the 4th-down pass to Kearse in the NFC Championship. Would Wilson and Kearse make that play this season? Five games so far this year say “no” — and the ability to make that kind of play, even last year, was the difference between 13-3 and 10-6. This year, that record might miss a wild-card berth.

  2. mike says:

    I wouldn’t be that quick to make that kind of prediction. They have [lost] to two pretty decent teams (Time will tell how decent), and both games were close, and I think that Seattle will learn from both of the matchups that hurt them. The San Diego game was scheming by San Diego, that Seattle has already shown adjustments against, the Dallas game was in my mind poor play calling. Lynch needs to touch the ball 30 times, and I do believe Harvin was misused. They failed to get him the ball in space, which is where he’s the most dangerous. There was no creative ways Seattle did that. They have a great D, a solid QB, and a potentially devastating running game, all aspects of a successful football team; let’s see how this plays out, and not worry about some poor games like the Dallas game as disappointing as that game was.

  3. Loren says:

    Prediction #2: Despite what happened today, the Seahawks will win at least one other game this year.
    Prediction #3: Russell Wilson will make more commercials this year.

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