Even with Doug Baldwin in the lineup the Seahawks offense wasn’t going to light up the scoreboard. Without him, Pete Carroll needs to get more creative.
The Seattle Seahawks are already behind the 8-ball after dropping their opener in Denver on Sunday. Unfortunately, life is going to get harder for Pete Carroll over the next several weeks, as Seattle will be forced to play without Doug Baldwin for at least a couple of weeks.
That’s a major blow to an offense that isn’t armed with a ton of talent at wide receiver. Baldwin is by far the team’s most talented pass catcher. He isn’t the most prolific receiver in the NFL, but he led the Seahawks with 75 catches for 991 yards in 2017. Replacing him with any receiver currently on the roster will be impossible.
Some fans might want to see the team go out and acquire a big name free agent like Dez Bryant, but that’s not the right way forward for the Seahawks. Instead, they need to take this opportunity to make significant changes to their offense. Seattle cannot expect to make a deep playoff run with the same offensive system they’ve used for the last several years.
Making such a big philosophical change isn’t going to be easy, but it’s what Carroll needs to do. His choices are somewhat limited by the shaky play of his offensive line. Still, Russell Wilson’s presence under center gives the coaching staff some interesting options.
Without Baldwin on the field, a greater emphasis needs to be placed on getting the ball out of Wilson’s hands quickly. His mobility in the pocket is great, but every time he’s forced to evade the rush it literally puts the Seahawks’ entire season in jeopardy. The fact that he’s one of the most accurate passers in the NFL should make quick throws an effective tool for Wilson.
The coaching staff should also place a greater emphasis on getting Wilson on the move. It’s fair to point out that also puts him in danger of taking a big hit, but it also gets him way from interior pass rushers. Wilson needs to choose when to run wisely, but getting him out on the edge could greatly increase the percentage of big play’s the Seahawks are capable of making.
In terms of personnel, Brandon Marshall should be the big winner while Baldwin is out. He’s not the star receiver he was in his younger days, but he’s still capable of making tough catches in traffic. He isn’t going to replace Baldwin as a deep threat, but he can be a valuable possession receiver who can help keep drives alive.
Losing Baldwin won’t emerge as a positive for the Seahawks in the short term, but if they play it right, it might pay long-term dividends for the team. A more creative offensive system might help Seattle keep its championship window open for a few more years.