Doug Baldwin sees even bigger things for Seahawks offense

Posted Aug 24, 2014

The Seahawks’ No. 1 offense has been on it the past two Friday nights, but this is the preseason and wide receiver Doug Baldwin sees even bigger and more explosive things coming during the regular season.

Doug Baldwin wasn’t angry, but he wasn’t about to be led down the primrose path of preseason promise either.

In the wake of the Seahawks’ 34-6 victory over the Chicago Bears at CenturyLink Field on Friday night, which followed a 41-14 win over the San Diego Chargers the week before, reporters gathered around Baldwin’s locker wanted to talk about the explosiveness, efficiency and execution of the starting offense that has scored 55 points in its first-half stints against the Bears and Chargers.

“It’s preseason, that’s pretty much my thought on it,” the fourth-year wide receiver said. “We’ve been doing well. We’ve been executing well. But at the same time, like I said, it’s preseason. The teams that we’re facing, they’re not scouting us and we’re not scouting them.

“So right now, it’s just guys flying around making plays. We’ve always been able to do that because of the effort and the enthusiasm that we have with this team. So I’m not surprised.”

Baldwin left the surprise for the defenses of the Bears and Chargers, which at times reacted like they had never seen Russell Wilson whirl and spin and duck and dip to avoid pressure and buy time to find Baldwin and Percy Harvin and Jermaine Kearse.

On the Seahawks’ game-opening touchdown drive Friday night, which was setup by Harvin’s 46-yard kickoff return, Wilson passed for 17 yards to Kearse and 25 yards to Harvin – each on third-and-4. On a 14-play, 89-yard drive to the second TD, Wilson went to Baldwin and Kearse for 16-yard completions and then back to Kearse for an 18-yarder. The third touchdown drive ended with Wilson’s 12-yard pass to Kearse in the end zone and also included a 23-yarder to Harvin on a play where Wilson stepped up in the pocket to avoid the rush and buy time.

“One of the things we know is that he plays fast,” Bears coach Mark Trestman said when asked about the strain Wilson can put on a defense. “He gets the ball out of his hands quick and he makes plays. We saw that all night.”

And as Wilson always says, his goal during everything he always does is to get the ball into the hands of the playmakers. That might be selling his part in all this short, but in the long run it’s not only the P.C. thing to say but the prudent thing to do. Especially now that Harvin is healthy, and Baldwin has moved to the split end spot, and Kearse continues to show that last season was only an indication of what’s to come, and Marshawn Lynch is there to setup the play-action passing game with his punishing runs.

“We’re doing well, for the most part,” Baldwin said. “There are a lot of things we can still improve on, especially in the passing game. I feel like we’re not as explosive as we could be. But that’s going to come with time.

“We’ve got to see everything and watch the tape together and make sure that we’re getting where we need to go in terms of making explosive plays down the field.”

Then the topic turned to just how dangerous the offense can become once all that is done. After all, the quarterback’s social media hashtag is DangeRussWilson. And in Wilson’s case, perhaps it should be DangeRushWilson. He has three rushing touchdowns this preseason, and what he’s able to do with his legs plays directly into what he’s able to do with his arm – and he’s 26 of 33 for 323 yards, with two TDs and no interceptions, the past two Friday nights.

“I think we can be extremely dangerous,” Baldwin said. “The biggest thing for us is not what we can do; it’s just that we’ve got to stay healthy. If we can keep everybody on the field healthy and being productive, we’re going to be an explosive offense – both in the running and the passing game.

“So that’s our biggest concern. Everything else, it will come, it will all clear itself out.”

Before everyone had cleared out of the locker room, Baldwin was asked just how well Wilson is playing.

“How well is he playing? He’s playing awful,” Baldwin said, with almost a straight face. “Yeah, he is. He’s missing throws all over the place. Missing protection calls.”

Told that Wilson had thrown five incompletions against the Bears, compared to two against the Chargers, Baldwin said, “Did he have incompletions tonight? I don’t remember any incompletions.”

Baldwin then added, “Nah, Russell is playing really well. There are still a lot of things we can improve on, as a whole, offensively in the passing game. But I think right now we’re playing really, really well. We’re playing at the high level. But we’re got to continue to progress and get better.”

Asked for an example of how that might play out, Baldwin said, “First and foremost, I think that Russell and the offensive line are going to communicate better and they’re going to get protections up front called better which is going to enable us as receivers to get down the field and make plays down the field.

“So with a culmination of everything, we’re going to be able to be more explosive.”

The health factor Baldwin mentioned includes the offensive line, where Pro Bowl center Max Unger and Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle Russell Okung made their preseason debuts against the Bears. They missed a combined 11 games last season, when Harvin was limited to a handful of plays during the regular season.

“Having Percy on the field is going to do wondrous things for us, whether it’s in the backfield with him at running back or him mixing it up in the middle of the field,” Baldwin said. “So I think that offensively, as a whole, we’re going to be more explosive than we were last season. Which is saying a lot.”