I’ve been providing my impressions of each practice at Seahawks training camp from the sidelines at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton.
Doug Baldwin took today’s first day off from practices to share his first-person impressions so far from the field.
The team’s No. 1 wide receiver used his Facebook account to post his thoughts on the first four workouts of camp, which ended what coach Pete Carroll calls the first “phase.” The second phase, which will include full pads for the first time, starts Wednesday morning.
Baldwin’s post is like his own version of The Players’ Tribune, the Derek Jeter-led, athletes’ first-person site for which Russell Wilson is a senior editor.
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▪ "John Schneider is a hustler,” Baldwin writes about his general manager. He has a special appreciation for Schneider; the GM gave Baldwin his NFL chance as an undrafted free agent from Stanford in 2011 -- then gave him a $13 million contract extension with $6.2 million guaranteed at signing before last season.
▪ “This is the best receiving core that I’ve been around in all my years of football,” Baldwin states. It’s the most crowded and competitive position on the roster again this preseason. Seattle has usually kept six on the regular-season roster under Schneider and Carroll, though last year they came out of the preseason with seven on the 53-man roster.
▪ “Tyler Lockett can be something special.” Baldwin writes what everyone watching and (for coaches) evaluating practices can see: The rookie wide receiver, kickoff and punt returner from Kansas State has been impressive with his precise, smooth route running, knack for separating from defenders while the ball is in the air, his hands and then his elusiveness with the ball.
It’s interesting to see Baldwin gushing about Lockett. The rookie could end up taking some routes away from Baldwin in his preferred, inside slot position. And Lockett’s arrival diminishes likelihood we’ll see Baldwin resume his part-time role as a kick returner.
The endorsement is encouraging for the team that traded four draft choices to Washington to move up from the end of the third round so Seattle could draft Lockett before someone else did.
The bigger picture to Baldwin’s post: The growing trend of athletes essentially eliminating the middle man (me, and fellow journalists) and using online outlets to provide first-person opinions and accounts. Posts such as this are lifting the curtain on professional sports in new and revealing ways, while on the players’ own terms. For someone as nuanced and sophisticated as Baldwin, it’s a win for the fan. But what about those not as savvy?
Do you see this as a good or a bad trend for the way you learn about the athletes you watch?