RENTON, Wash. – Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll knows his receivers don’t get a lot of love for their skills, and he doesn’t really care.
In Carroll’s view, all that matters is they get the job done.
“I’m not concerned with how much credit they get, but we have good catchers,” Carroll said Monday.
There was a lot of gloom-and-doom talk when Seattle lost Percy Harvin to hip surgery last month, a labrum tear that could keep him off the field until late November. Harvin thinks he'll be back sooner.
It was a bit weird to miss something you’ve never had, but Harvin was the off-season acquisition expected to make the Seahawks offense more explosive. The returning receivers were viewed by many people as average or a little above.
Golden Tate added four receptions for 51 yards, and returned four punts for 48 yards. Sidney Rice, who didn’t play in the preseason while nursing a knee injury, caught two passes for 35 yards in limited play. And Jermaine Kearse had the play of the game, a 43-yard touchdown on a deep sideline pass in the fourth quarter.
That score came one play after receiver Stephen Williams was wide open down the sideline for a sure touchdown, but Wilson slightly overthrew it.
“Stephen has shown us he can get behind guys,’’ Carroll said. “And Kearse has done a wonderful job. That was a fantastic catch he made [Sunday]. He can play every [receiver] position for us.”
Carroll went on to list the assets of all his receivers, one by one. First was Baldwin, the third-year player from Stanford.
“He has great quickness,’’ Carroll said of Baldwin. “He has the ability to change directions that makes him extremely quick. That suddenness is what gets him open. But it’s also the savvy he has and the extra time he has spent with Russell, so those guys are seeing the same things.”
Carroll also was pleased to see Rice have two receptions, one of 21 yards, in his return to the field.
“We planned on easing him into it,” Carroll said. “We spaced out his time to keep him fresh, but I was really pleased with what it did.”
Next up on Carroll's praise list was Tate.
"Golden’s catch-and-run ability is really unique,” Carroll said. “He has extraordinary athletic sense. He plays golf and he played baseball in college. He’s just a very gifted natural athlete. He has a great space awareness and sense for making guys miss.”
Carroll said a big asset of his receivers is understanding what is asked of them. For example, all the Seattle receivers are aware they need to improvise at times to extend plays with a mobile quarterback like Wilson. The Seahawks had several big plays Sunday against Carolina that came after Wilson was forced to scramble out of the pocket.
“Scrambling is inherent to the way we play,’’ Carroll said. “We deal with the scramble opportunities and maximize those. There’s a lot of big plays in those situations that we are trying to make part of our offense. We made some big plays off that yesterday.”
Whether planned or caused by the opponent’s pass rush, it’s part of what makes Wilson effective.
“He’s just so good at it, so the receivers have to be adaptable and demonstrate good effort,” Carroll said. “Our guys know it’s a big play waiting to happen, and it’s hard to deal with on the other side of the ball.”
So don’t tell Carroll about his receivers getting no respect.
“It’s a nice group whether they get recognition or not,” he said.