Sports

WR Williams adjusts bar upward for self, Seahawks

RENTON - Receiver Mike Williams knows he hasn't been awful. But he also knows he has not made the kind of impact he believes he can for the Seattle Seahawks.

“As far as these first four games I just wish I could do more,” Williams said. “We’re still finding our way as an offense and what works, and what personnel works. People want quicker results and faster results, but they don’t really understand what goes into having 11 new people getting on the same page. But from just a personal standpoint, there’s nothing to write about.”

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll also expects more from his former player at Southern California. So much so that he felt comfortable jettisoning the team’s highest-paid receiver, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, just before the regular season started, and trading another veteran, Deion Branch, just two days ago.

Carroll said he believes Williams has the talent to be a No. 1 receiver for Seattle, and now is the time to start showing it.

“I think there is an expectation of that,” Carroll said. “I think I’ve seen him that way. He was drafted to be that way. And now that we’ve seen him after really a long period of time of really being consistent, we should expect Mike to make things happen and control aspects of the game. He’s a big dude catching the football. So we’ll find out. We have to keep going to him to make sure that happens.”

Williams agreed.

“I spent enough of my brief career being a bare-minimum dude or just barely getting by,” he said. “I think we’re on the same page as far as the excitement of how I can max this thing out. And I’m trying to build for my future, so every rep and every play is an audition for me.

“It ain’t going to all come at once – 90 catches or 100 catches or whatever. It’s a process. So I’m just going to grind.”

So far, Williams does not have the stats of a No. 1 receiver. He’s second on the team in receptions with 11 for 138 yards and no touchdowns through four games. He has spurts where he appears to be a focus of the offense, but other stages of the game where he fades into the background and is all but forgotten.

And he’s had to deal with some nagging injuries, including a shoulder issue against St. Louis two weeks ago.

Williams said he was particularly frustrated he could not do more at Denver in the Seahawks’ second game of the year. Williams had a thigh issue heading into the game and finished with just one catch for 17 yards, giving way to Golden Tate in the second half.

“In the Denver game, I got a little frustrated because I felt like I pushed myself to play with the leg and everything,” Williams said. “And I was excited about going against a player the caliber of Champ (Denver cornerback Champ Bailey), and then I did not really get the looks to size myself up to a player of that caliber. But that was just an internal thing.”

Williams understands he will have his struggles in returning to the league after sitting out for two years. And just like Seattle’s offense in general, he is trying to figure out where he fits in and what his role will be each week. And he’s also come to the defense of his quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, who received some criticism after a poor performance against St. Louis two weeks ago.

“If your quarterback is taking heat or whatever, then what group directly affects that one way or another? That’s got to be his wideouts,” Williams said. “If the quarterback is struggling, to me in my world that means the wideouts have to play better.

“I don’t think anybody’s discouraged or questioning what’s going on. I think we’re just motivated to go out there and do right and win, especially on the road. There’s no panic mode, nothing like that. You just hate to see one guy take the blame, when he doesn’t drop back and throw it to himself.”

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks

SEAHAWKS’ OPPONENT THIS WEEK

CHICAGO BEARS (4-1)

10 a.m., Sunday, Soldier Field

Against the Seahawks: Sunday’s game marks the 12th time the teams have met, with Seattle holding a 7-4 advantage – including winning three of the last five. The Bears won the game last year at Qwest Field, 25-19.

Stats and stuff: Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler, who missed last week’s 23-6 victory over Carolina because of concussion symptoms, was cleared for practice today and should get the start on Sunday. Todd Collins filled in for Cutler against the Panthers and threw four interceptions. Cutler was sacked nine times in the first half of his team’s 17-3 loss to the N.Y. Giants two week ago and came away with a concussion. ... Free-agent pickup Julius Peppers has lived up to expectations so far at defensive end. Peppers signed a $91.5 million deal to leave Carolina during the offseason and play for the Bears, and so far he has two sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. ... Running back Matt Forte has bounced back from a sophomore slump. He leads the Bears in rushing (300 yards, 2 TDs) and receptions (18 catches for 231 yards, 3 TDs).

Quotable: “We’ve felt the window was open for us from Week 1. We felt confident in the team we were going to put out there week in and week out.” — Chicago tight end Greg Olsen on his team’s chances of winning the NFC North division.

Eric D. Williams, staff writer

BEARS SCHEDULE

Sept. 12Bears 19, Lions 14

Sept. 19 Bears 27, Cowboys 20

Sept. 27 Bears 20, Packers 17

Oct. 3 Giants 17, Bears 3

Oct. 10 Bears 23, Panthers 6

Sunday Seattle

Oct. 24 Washington

Oct. 31 Bye

Nov. 7 at Buffalo

Nov. 14 Minnesota

Nov. 18 at Miami

Nov. 28 Philadelphia

Dec. 5 at Detroit

Dec. 12 New England

Dec. 20 at Minnesota

Dec. 26 N.Y. Jets

Jan. 2 at Green Bay

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