It's time for Seahawks' wide receivers to step up
Seattle's starting wide receivers are out for season with injuries
It's a phrase that has become something of a rallying cry for the Seattle Seahawks, particularly on offense, where starters have been going down with injuries even as the team continues to win in the second half of the season.
Well when it comes to receivers, it will now have to be next, next man up, because with Mike Williams now on injured reserve, the Seahawks will play their final two games without both of their starting receivers. Williams, who broke his ankle in Sunday's win in Chicago, had surgery Tuesday and joined Sidney Rice, whose season was ended last month by multiple concussions, on Seattle's continually growing IR list.
But even with both of their starting receivers absent, the Seahawks are confident the offense can continue to function at a high level. While Williams, like Rice before him, will certainly to be missed, the remaining receivers are confident, in part because there is a good amount of experience in the group.
Ben Obomanu, who will step into the starting lineup along with Golden Tate, has started five games this year and was a starter for six games last season. Tate, who struggled to get on the field as a rookie, has shown considerable potential this season and has started three games since Rice's season ended. Deon Butler, who is coming back from a broken leg that kept him out of the first nine games this season, started eight games last year. Throw rookie Doug Baldwin, Seattle's surprise leading receiver, into the mix and the Seahawks still feel good about their receiver group.
"Golden has really been stepping up lately, Ben has started before, Doug has been playing like he's been playing all year, myself, I started games last season, so we've got guys who have been in games, made plays before," Butler said. "It's unfortunate that we've lost Sidney and Mike, but the guys we have out there, it's not like anybody is brand new out there."
Well, actually there is one brand new guy out there. With Williams out, rookie Ricardo Lockette is expected to make his NFL debut against San Francisco Saturday. Lockette, an undrafted rookie out of Division II Fort Valley State University, spent most of the season on Seattle's practice squad before being signed to the 53-man roster last week. He was inactive against the Bears last weekend, but Lockette is in the plans for this week, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said.
That will make Saturday a special day for Lockette for multiple reasons.
"I've dreamed about this since middle school," he said. "Saturday is finally the big day, and I end up playing my dad's favorite team, which is the 49ers, on Christmas. I already told him, 'Merry Christmas, I'll be playing against your team.' I grew up watching them for so long because he forced me to watch them, and now on Christmas Eve my first play will be against that team. It's a Christmas (dream) come true."
The Seahawks can only hope they respond to injuries at receiver as well as they have on the offensive line, where three of the five starters have gone down with season-ending injuries. Even without tackle Russell Okung, guard John Moffitt and tackle James Carpenter, the line has functioned surprisingly well both in the running game and pass protection, which is a testament both to the coaching of line coach Tom Cable, and the depth the team has acquired on the line.
"What I think is really exciting for us to see is when our guys did get banged up our backup guys have come in and stepped to the front and played like starters," Carroll said. "It's something that we're always hollering for and calling out that it's not about the guy leaving, it's about the guy stepping in. And our guys have done that."
Carroll was talking about his offensive line when he said that. Now he's hoping his receivers can respond the same way.
Seahawks add CB Adams
Seattle signed second-year cornerback Phillips Adams Tuesday to fill the roster spot that came open with Williams going on injured reserve. Adams, a seventh-round draft pick, spent the 2010 season with San Francisco, and has played with New England this season. Adams provides depth in the secondary, something Carroll said is helpful with Kennard Cox still battling a hamstring injury. Cox, a special teams standout, missed the game against St. Louis two weekends ago because of the injury. He returned to action against Chicago Sunday, but was unable to finish the game.
Carroll said the only other injury from Sunday's game was a head injury suffered by backup linebacker Malcolm Smith.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog
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