One of the few healthy players still in town during the month of February, Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin is working on securing a home in the Seattle area and working out daily at the team’s Renton headquarters with the hope of building on an impressive rookie season.
The Seahawks’ offseason workout program doesn’t start until April 16, with a rookie minicamp beginning May 11, followed by the beginning of organized team activities on May 22.
Seattle also has a mandatory minicamp from June 12-14, with the conclusion of the team’s offseason program June 15.
But Baldwin said the New York Giants’ win over New England on Feb. 5 in the Super Bowl served as a reminder of why he’s in the weight room.
“The Super Bowl just ended,” Baldwin said. “So those guys have been on the field working this entire time. And they didn’t take any time off, so why would I?
“That’s the way I look at it. These guys are going to have the same amount of time as I did off, so while they’re working I want to be working as well.”
As an undrafted rookie free agent out of Stanford, he was a long shot to make the team last season, let alone lead Seattle in receiving.
But that’s what Baldwin did. He finished with a team-high 51 receptions for 788 yards and four touchdowns, good enough for fourth in the league among rookies in receptions and yards.
Baldwin also finished 11th in the league in percentage of receptions caught for first downs (78.4 percent), and fourth in the league with 23 catches on third down to move the chains.
The hard-working Baldwin said he thinks he can do better.
“I felt like the stats and everything (were) real average,” he said. “But you’ve got to have that sense of confidence about yourself when you step out on the field.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t think I’d have the opportunity to step out on the field that early. And with that, the transition wasn’t really that difficult because we have such a great coaching staff and they explain everything so well that it makes it easier for you to understand it and grasp the offense.”
Baldwin’s production in 2011 secured his spot as Seattle’s slot receiver. But Baldwin wants to be considered a compete receiver. And in order to do that, Baldwin has to make plays from the perimeter of the offense as well.
“They say that I’m the slot guy, but every year they’re bringing somebody in to try to take your job – that’s the upper management’s job,” he said. “So my job is to make sure that whoever they bring in doesn’t have a chance. That’s why I’m here, to be honest with you.
“I want to be known as the greatest receiver who ever played the game, and it’s going to be hard to do that strictly out of the slot.”
Baldwin said he thinks those opportunities will come with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson at the helm for Seattle. Baldwin defended his quarterback, who’s been a target of criticism after failing to lead the Seahawks to a single fourth-quarter comeback in his first season in Seattle.
“Tarvaris can’t do it all by himself,” Baldwin said. “He’s sitting back there and he’s taking the pressure. He takes a lot of heat from fans and a lot of criticism from whoever, but Tarvaris is one of those guys that if he’s given an opportunity, he’s going to make the best of it.
“With the capability that he has, it’s up to the receivers, the running backs and the offensive line to give him that opportunity. Late in games I think we’re putting a lot on his shoulders, and a lot of guys, including myself, weren’t coming through for him in key situations when he needed us to.”
Baldwin said seeing the Giants and Baltimore have success during the playoffs – both teams Seattle defeated during the regular season – gives him confidence the Seahawks can build on the team’s 7-9 record.
Still, Baldwin said Seattle has to play more consistent from week to week.
“It definitely gives you a bit of confidence,” he said. “But at the same time it makes me wary because we had success against some of these teams like the Ravens and the Giants, but at the same time we lose the games that we’re supposed to win. So that inconsistency bothers me a lot.
“I’ve been raised my entire life that consistency is the way you’re supposed to live your life. What you say and what you do is who you are. And you do that consistently. For us, we just need to find that track to where we can be consistent. So when we go against the Giants or the Ravens, it’s the same game we play against the Washington Redskins or the San Francisco 49ers.”