Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett thinks improving one part of his game will make him even harder to cover.
RENTON — Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin has always had high praise for Tyler Lockett, but recently Baldwin offered constructive criticism.
“One of the things we talked about in the offseason was working on his releases,” Baldwin said. “He’s so quick and so fast that there’s no reason for guys to be able to put their hands on him at the line of scrimmage. So we’ve been working on that, and he’s taking that to heart.”
Lockett turned out to be more productive as a receiver than even coach Pete Carroll anticipated. Only Baldwin caught more passes last year and Lockett finished third on the team with 664 yards receiving.
But when Lockett reviewed his rookie season, he thought his releases at the line of scrimmage weren’t as crisp or effective as they should have been (For those wondering, releases are moments at the line when a receiver is trying to break free from a defensive back; Lockett compared it to playing basketball).
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“Out of all the things I have to work on,” Lockett said, “I felt like off-the-line I was a C. And I was still getting open, but if I can get it to where I can’t even get touched at the line, then it’s going to be hard to mess with me.”
Said Baldwin, “I’m really excited to see other teams line up against him to see what he has in store for them because I think he’s ready to take off.”
Lockett’s releases are an important skill to sharpen. He is small and small receivers can struggle if defensive backs get their hands on them.
Lockett said he is forced to improve his releases every day against cornerback Richard Sherman, one of the game’s jam artists. Lockett wants to take his releases from “being OK” last season to “being excellent” this year, and he has a good teammate to learn from in Baldwin.
Kippy Brown, the former receivers coach for the Seahawks, used to say that Baldwin had the best releases on the team. Where Baldwin excels is changing the pace of the game. Sometimes he flies at a defensive back with speed and quickness, sometimes he deploys hesitation and jukes. The point is to keep it a guessing game, which is a nuance Lockett wants to add to his reservoir.
Lockett was a star in college at Kansas State, and this is the kind of tinkering that helped him get there and could help him get there in the pros.
“I saw what it could do for me at Kansas State,” Lockett said, “and it’s just being able to get back into that comfort zone. When I was at Kansas State, I knew when I needed to run routes, how fast I needed to run routes, where I needed to be. And it was easy for me because I knew the offense. So here, I know the offense and now it’s being able to add the other little elements in my game.”