Never bashful, Doug Baldwin pulled back the curtain a bit on the mid-season drama that helped the Seahawks turn around in 2015, saying that he clashed with coach Pete Carroll and assistant Darrell Bevell over changes that he thought needed to be made in the offense without injured RB Marshawn Lynch.In an interview in Los Angeles with ESPN.com’s Jim Trotter published Sunday, Baldwin talked about the early season struggles that made for a 4-5 start and put a return to the playoffs in jeopardy.
“We weren’t playing well, and a lot of what was being said (by players and coaches) wasn’t being pointed enough or sharp enough,” Baldwin said. “It was like, ‘It’s going to be OK, and I’m thinking in my head: Nah, it’s not OK. And it’s not going to be OK until we get our stuff together.’
“A lot of the leaders in the locker room, we started being more vocal — not only to players, but to coaches regarding the environment we were creating and the message we were sending. It took a while, but our play started reflecting how we wanted everybody to be.”
Baldwin was upset enough to confront Carroll about playcalling.
“I’m not afraid to say this, but Pete and I, we had heated debates on the sideline,” he said. “We had more debates on the sideline than in previous years. I want to help the team, and in my mind, as a receiver, you want the ball, you want opportunities to do things to help the team.
“I put my emotions out there to let it be known, and all the players will tell you, if you don’t have a player like that, that can harness that in the right way, then they’re not really worth anything. If I’m just out there, and I’m OK with us losing and not converting on third down, then what am I really there for? I’m just going through the motions.”
Baldwin described a confrontation with Bevell, the offensive coordinator, in which the receiver reverted to his “Angry Doug” persona.
“Bevell and I — we joke about it now — but we got into a very heated argument that some players had to step in,” he said. “It’s part of the game. If I could go back and handle it differently and act differently, I would. But I’m just very passionate about the game.
“Part of me wanted to go on a rant toward critics and say, ‘I told y’all.’ But another part of me — the part that has the humility — knows that my real goal and real focus is to try to win championships.”
Baldwin is in the final of a three-year contract extension worth $13 million, coming off a season in which he set personal bests for catches (78), yards (1,069) and touchdowns (14), the latter tying for the league lead. He had 11 of his TDs in the final six weeks as changes to the playbook and the offensive line helped create a more efficient passing game that reduced the rush pressure on QB Russell Wilson.
Baldwin and the Seahawks would like to get another extension done.
“Doug Baldwin is what we are all about,” general manager John Schneider said this off-season. “He has been a heartbeat player since he entered the building.”
Baldwin told Trotter than he wasn’t worked up about potential talks for an extension.
“I didn’t sign my new deal until almost June last time, so the offer is going to come,” he said. “John pretty much told me that the offer was going to come after the draft. Even if it doesn’t come, I’m not worried about it. Why not? Because there are other things I value in life. I don’t value worrying about that.
“We’re going to go back to the run game; we’re not going to be throwing the ball as much as we did. That’s why the only thing that I’m keyed in on is making sure that I stay as efficient as I was. Like, catch rate. If the ball is thrown my way, if it’s a catchable target, do I catch it? I think last year I had only two drops, maybe.
“I’m not going to get 120 catches a season. That’s not built into our offense.”
Seahawks add, drop linebackers
The Seahawks Monday waived/injured LB Christian French and signed LB Khairi Fortt.
A fourth-round pick by the Saints who left Cal early in 2014, Fortt (6-foot-2, 242) was waived in October that year and picked up by Cincinnati and put on the practice squad. He was signed by Jacksonville and played three games, then released the past August. His departure from the Saints may have stemmed from missing team meetings.
French was signed as a undrafted rookie free agent after the draft.
Really? Was it not Doug, who, after the successful fake punt in the Carolina game, proceeded to drop the critical 3rd down pass on what was the most critical drive of the game? They then had to punt. Thanks Doug. Shut up and do your job.
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Wow. One dropped pass and he gets blown up? You’re strict.
You know the play that I am talking about right? This was playoff football, don’t forget. In the second half, literally, every down counted.
Yeah, maybe the PM would like to catch the next one. Doug is a core guy and I like the way he plays, but I don’t expect him to walk on water. Rice dropped a few too, and we Were getting fed up with the play-calling . . .
In his defense, the ball was underinflated.
Granted, he had to go down to get it, but it was a catchable ball.
““Bevell and I — we joke about it now — but we got into a very heated argument that some players had to step in,” he said. “It’s part of the game. If I could go back and handle it differently and act differently, I would. But I’m just very passionate about the game.”
If this is what turned the pathetic offense around during the season, then Baldwin needs the “Player of the Year” trophy from the Hawks. Bevell’s play calling was SO reserved and predictable, then all of a sudden the passing game opened up, RW was suddenly the most productive QB in the league, Baldwin suddenly has the MOST TD’s in the league, etc, etc. I was pulling my hair out watching the Hawks crappy offense, then it turned into the most exciting O in the league.
So thank you Doug – We appreciate your stepping up, as it is obvious this change is because of your waking players and coaches up. Hopefully this carries over to 2016!
I suspect there was lots more collaboration on the changes besides Baldwin’s clarion call. But if Baldwin claims much credit, well, we’ll ask Carroll and Schneider to deconstruct the decision-making.
The key to me seems that they re-prioritized how and when to use the short-pass part of the playbook during Lynch’s absence and the O-line training-wheels period.
And they can take the blame for falling behind 31-0 vs. CAR.
I had erased that first half from my brain – man Art, did you have to bring it up? It still is stunning, especially given the Hawks league leading scoring defense.
That first half in Carolina was ridiculous. I don’t think anyone can answer that one, including Doug. It’s part of why we watch the game, you want to see your team create great moments, but sometimes it just goes the other way . . .
I like that Doug recognizes that he won’t be getting 120 catches a season. Richard made a similar observation about the defense saying you won’t find anyone getting 15 sacks or INT’s because the defense isn’t built that way. Some players on other teams would be whining on how their coaches are costing them money. In the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era (and you could really say during the Paul Allen era) it’s about winning. When a player deviates from that he’s pulled aside and straightened out. If they can’t get on board that they’re gone.
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