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Baldwin doesn't take the bait
When Doug Baldwin is done with this football thing, he might want to consider giving politics a shot.
|NO. 1 IN SEASON ONE|
In 2011, Doug Baldwin became the fourth player in as many years to be the Seahawks’ leading receiver in his first season with the team – but only the sixth in franchise history. Here’s a look at how Baldwin stacked up against the others:
Note: Largent, Carlson and Baldwin were rookies; while Mayes, Houshmandzadeh and Williams joined the team as veteran free agents.
The Seahawks’ leading receiver last season couldn’t have been more P.C. (politically correct, not Pete Carroll) during his quick Q&A session with reporters Thursday after the team’s 45-minute workout as part of its offseason program.
The most obvious question was Baldwin’s take on the quarterback situation, which is now a three-armed race after Carroll said on Sunday that rookie Russell Wilson would compete for the starting job with incumbent Tarvaris Jackson and free-agent addition Matt Flynn.
Baldwin climbed upon his soapbox, er, leaned toward the podium and offered, “It’s the philosophy that coach Carroll preaches about – it’s competition; bring guys in that are going to be competing for a position.
“Obviously we’ve got three great quarterbacks – two that we know of; one that’s just coming in that’s showing great potential, obviously, with Pete Carroll saying what he did. So it’s going to be exciting times in (training) camp.”
Baldwin already has caught passes from all three. Jackson, of course, last season, when Baldwin became only the third rookie in franchise history to lead the team in receptions (51), receiving yards (788) and touchdown catches (four). He has hooked up with Flynn during Phase 2 of the offseason program, and Wilson on Monday and Tuesday this week – as the rookie QB was absent Thursday to attend the NFLPA rookie premiere, along with running back Robert Turbin.
But Baldwin also saw Wilson doing his impressive thing during the rookie minicamp last Friday and Saturday – as a sideline spectator.
“I’m a fan of the game, so anytime I get to sit on the sideline and watch guys compete it’s always fun to do that,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin was actually anticipating more questions about the QB situation, but they never came. He stayed in P.C. mode, however, when asked about his role and expectations for the 2012 season.
As for his expectations for his role, he said, “To be consistent. Stay healthy and be consistent. There are a lot of things that are in my control and a lot of things that are out of my control. The only thing that really is in my control is being healthy, taking care of my body and being consistent. So whatever opportunity I’m given to go out there and perform, I’ve got to make sure it happens.”
Just like he did last season. Baldwin made the team as a rookie free agent and – with Mike Williams, the team’s leading receiver in 2010; and Sidney Rice, the team’s big free-agent addition last year, limited by injuries – he put up team-leading numbers. He did almost all of it from the slot, the role he quickly excelled at during training camp and the preseason; and then made his own during the regular season.
Would Baldwin like to see more time outside, at either the flanker or split end spot? Of course he would. But Baldwin again was careful to say the right – or P.C. – thing.
“To be honest with you, it’s not really a concern of mine,” he said. “Obviously I would love to play outside; it’s what I played in college. But, like I said, whatever role they ask me to do, my job is to be consistent and do well at it.”
Baldwin does have definite goals for this season. But rather than rattle off numbers for each statistical category, he went to the root of what will allow him to improve on his rookie-season statistics.
“For me, it’s knowing my assignment early, making sure that I read the defense quicker and not being distracted by the disguises defenses try to throw at us,” he said. “And just becoming more of a student of the game – making sure that when we have a certain player that we’re going against, to make sure I study him more than I did last year.
“Because obviously it was a learning process for me last year. Now that I’m getting into the swing of things, it’s coming a lot easier.”
Asked what last season did for his confidence, Baldwin heaved a huge sigh and then said, “That’s a difficult question. Because regardless of what happened last year, one of my mottos that I remind myself of everyday is, ‘Today doesn’t care about what you did yesterday.’
“So to be honest with you, I have the same mindset, the same mentality. I’m still a rookie. Because they brought undrafted guys in that are competing for a job – to take my spot, to take guys on the team spot. So you’ve got to have that same mentality and that same hunger to go out there and win your spot every day.”
And it doesn’t hurt to remain P.C. when asked those issues that are out of your control.