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Focus On: Doug Baldwin
It was early in his rookie season when Doug Baldwin offered the obvious: He plays with a chip on his shoulder.
Since then, Baldwin has led the team in receptions as a free-agent rookie and played through a second season that seemed to include as many injuries as catches. So, entering his third season with the Seahawks how’s that chip doing?
“It grows every year,” Baldwin said through a smile. “There’s a lot of stuff that goes on in the media … they love you one day, they hate you the next day, they forget about you another day. None of that stuff is going to bother me, it just adds to the chip on my shoulder.”
After catching 51 passes for 788 yards and four touchdowns in 2011, Baldwin had 29 receptions for 366 yards and three TDs in 2012 – when he was sidelined by a hamstring problem in training camp, had his front teeth knocked out in the season opener and then damaged a shoulder.
“At the end of my rookie season, I thought that I couldn’t take time off. You know, if I took time off that somebody else would be catching up to me,” Baldwin said. “So I kept going, kept going. When I was at camp last year at this point I had already peaked and my body was deteriorating. So now I took a lot more time off, forcing myself to take time off, so at this point we’re going to continue to go upward.”
It’s been obvious by his efforts in the first three practices at training camp that Baldwin is feeling better. He’s getting open by getting separation, and making plays from the slot.
“With Doug, it’s his quickness,” fellow wide-out Golden Tate said. “And he understands the game extremely well. You’re sitting in the meeting room and he’s telling us what the offensive linemen have to do – their calls. So that’s impressive as a receiver.
“But the way he separates, he’ll have a guy on him and he’ll find a way to double move him and separate. He always finds his separation. On third down, there’s where I want the ball because you know Doug is going to find a way to get open.”
As for Baldwin’s shoulder chip, they seem to be a prerequisite on this team – despite last season’s success, and the expectations for even more this season.
“It’s never going to stop,” said Richard Sherman, the Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback who also was teammates with Baldwin at Stanford. “You’ve got guys like that, and that’s what kind of drives the team. You’ve got a team full of guys with chips on their shoulders. And a little bit of notoriety isn’t going to knock that chip off.
“I think that’s what separates us from a lot of other teams. We’re never satisfied, because there’s nothing to be satisfied about. We’re still very frustrated and (perturbed) about whatever it was that frustrated us in the first place.”