RENTON Doug Baldwin has a message for those who think the first fix the playoff-less Seahawks should make is getting rid of play caller Darrell Bevell.
And it’s a not-suitable-for-work, R-rated message.
“’Bev,’ Seattle’s longest-tenured offensive player said Monday, “is not the problem.”
“Do any of you guys watch film?” Baldwin said to reporters at his locker Monday, clean-out day inside Seahawks headquarters for what is absolutely a new year--the team’s first being out of the playoffs since January 2012.
“Do any of you guys really watch tape? Like, I really question that sometimes. Because you all make these narratives, you all put these topics, these main titles and (stuff). ... And it really pisses us off sometimes as players. And I really wish I could say more, but I’m not going to. And obviously I’m frustrated because we lost. ... (but) actually investigate. Watch the (bleeping) film.
“It’s not play calling. We go into a game, knowing what the defenses are going to give us, knowing what situations we are going to be in. We don’t execute, as a team. Offensively, that’s what we’ve seen countless times, and time again. We don’t execute as we should, and that’s on us as players.
“You guys can blame ‘Bev’ all you want to. But the truth of the matter is, ‘Bev’ is not the problem.
“Yeah. I’ve probably already said too much.”
Baldwin, the team’s top wide receiver, is one of five Seahawks who were on the team in 2011 when they last missed the playoffs. Punter Jon Ryan, six-time Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas, cornerback Byron Maxwell and outside linebacker K.J. Wright are the others.
Baldwin followed his team record-tying 94-catch season of 2016 with 75 catches in 2017. It was his fourth consecutive season with at least 71 receptions. His eight touchdown catches were one more than in 2016. And Seattle’s $46 million target came within 9 yards of becoming the first Seahawk since Steve Largent with three consecutive seasons of 1,000 yards receiving.
On Sunday, following the 26-24 loss to Arizona in the season finale that was Seattle’s fourth home loss in a month and a half, Baldwin spoke with reddened eyes about how the Seahawks had too much talent to not make the playoffs.
Seattle finished 9-7 this season, 15th in the NFL in total offense, 11th in points, 14th in passing and a deceiving 23rd in rushing. Take out quarterback Russell Wilson’s team-leading rushing total of 586 yards, the majority of which were on scrambles away from defenders chasing him on pass plays, and the Seahawks would have been dead last in the league in rushing. They would have been almost 200 yards fewer than any other team.
There was a palpable sense of uncertainty and change in the Seahawks’ locker room Monday, doubt packed along with all the gear in all the cardboard moving boxes scattered across the vast carpet and room. Pending free agents such as Luke Willson, Luke Joeckel, Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls and Bradley McDougald said they didn’t know what their futures are.
“It sucks,” Willson, the No.-2 tight end, said of free agency for the second offseason in a row.
Jimmy Graham said nothing. The $10-million-a-year tight end’s contract is ending after 10 touchdown catches this season, his most since 2014, his last season with New Orleans before his trade to Seattle. Wilson, who led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes this season, said Monday he wants Graham back to throw passes to next season.
“Jimmy’s one of my best friends in the world,” Wilson said of the 6-foot-7 former college basketball power forward. “He’s like a unicorn; there are only so many of them in the world.”
Even just one more than we realized, apparently.
But the Seahawks have far more to do with their limited money against the salary cap than bring back Wilson’s unicorn at the age of 31 for perhaps $8-10 million per year.
The need for new running backs. More revamping of the problematic offensive line. More depth for the battered defensive line. Replacements for Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril, the defensive stars who are facing decisions on their careers after season-ending neck injuries. Richard Sherman’s and Earl Thomas’ contracts ending after the 2018 season.
And Graham seems to know it.
When he entered the locker room following the team’s exit meetings with coaches on Monday, he saw the horde of media members and camera waiting inside and flashed a look of “I’m out of here.” And then he was. He U-turned out of the room and eventually off into the players’ parking lot outside and free agency.
“I think it’s just frustrating,” Baldwin said, of not just the Seahawks’ offense but their entire, lost season of 2018, “because we have so much talent on this team and we are capable of doing so much more than we did this year.”