Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin unleashed a season's worth of frustration as he talked to reporters for a final time this year on Monday.
There was obviously more that Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin wanted to say in the immediate aftermath of what might have been the most frustrating season of his seven years in Seattle.
But as he did following Sunday’s 26-24 loss to Arizona that ended Seattle’s season at 9-7 on Sunday, Baldwin on Monday tried to rein himself in when he felt he might be getting too close to violating what is one of coach Pete Carroll’s number one rules — to protect the team.
“So if I was to talk to you about what I believe are the issues, that wouldn’t be protecting the team,’’ Baldwin said as he met with a group of reporters as players cleaned out their lockers on Monday and headed into an earlier-than-expected offseason.
Not that Baldwin didn’t still say a lot.
Specifically, Baldwin said that any blaming of the team’s offensive woes on offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is misguided.
Baldwin, in fact, asked the assembled media if they watch film and can figure out on their own what the issues are as he defended Bevell, who has been the team’s offensive coordinator since 2011, the same year Baldwin arrived.
“Oh, man, you all are making it hard on me,’’ Baldwin said when asked if the team’s offensive game plan is too risk averse. “Do you any of you guys watch film? I really question that sometimes. You make these narratives. You put these topics, these main titles and (stuff), and it’s like you all don’t watch film. You don’t watch tape. And it really pisses us off sometimes as players. I really wish I could say more, but I’m not going to. Obviously, I’m frustrated because we lost, but I really wish, like, do your job. I’m not saying this to piss you all off or be (mean). But I wish more people, if you’re a journalist and your job is to do investigative reporting, then actually investigate and watch the (expletive) film.’’
So what was the problem with an offense that too often took too long to get going this season?
“I can’t say it,’’ Baldwin said. “My job is to protect the team right now, and I’m doing a poor job of that. How can I say this? It’s not play-calling. It’s not play-calling. We go into a game knowing what the defense is going to give us, the situations we’re going to be in. We don’t execute as a team. Offensively, that’s what we’ve seen countless time and time again that we do not execute the way we should. And that’s on us as players. You guys can blame Bev all you want to, but the truth of the matter us, Bev is not the problem. Probably already said too much.’’
But if Baldwin made it clear he did not think Bevell is the problem, he left it vague what he thinks is the problem. Baldwin spoke with similar coyness after the game Sunday when asked what the difference was in the two halves — Seattle had just 24 yards in trailing 20-7 at halftime before finishing with 296 and scoring two touchdowns in the second half.
“We played better,’’ Baldwin said Sunday, turning to look at one of the Seahawks public relations officials as he did as if to indicate he would do as he was told. “I mean, I would love to sit up here and tell you exactly what the problem is but I’m not going to tell you that. We’ve got a lot of work to do. A lot of work to do and we have the ability to do it.’’
Baldwin did acknowledge Monday that the lack of a consistent running game was a factor in the offensive issues this season.
“I think it’s pretty important,’’ Baldwin said. “The running game, the defense, that’s been Pete’s philosophy since he’s been here. The prime example I have is the Super Bowl. You go in the game against (Denver quarterback) Peyton Manning and they only score eight points. We were able to do what we wanted to do offensively. But if you took the offense out of the game, we would have still won because our defense scored a touchdown and they got the safety. It comes down to us really being who we say we are in every aspect.’’
So are the issues solvable?
“Yeah, I think they’re very solvable,’’ Baldwin said. “I think it just comes with a different focus, different mentality, maybe just more self-evaluation, and understanding who we are as men, first and foremost, in this locker room. Or in this building, I should say, and growing from there.’’
Baldwin’s adding of the “in this building’’ comment is telling as Baldwin obviously is implying that the coaching staff as a whole also has to take a look at itself in the offseason.
Change, though, needs to happen, Baldwin said.
“Yeah, just don’t know what all that brings,’’ he said. “But we want to obviously get better, because the trend we’re on now is not good.’’
The frustration of what he felt was a season that marks a lost opportunity was a constant theme of Baldwin’s comments Monday.
“I think it’s just frustrating because you have so much talent on this team, and we’re capable of doing much more than we did this year, and we didn’t do it,’’ Baldwin said when asked how this year compares to 2011, the last time the Seahawks didn’t make the playoffs in what was Baldwin’s rookie season. “That’s why it feels different. My first year, kind of figuring out, who are we, what’s our identity? And then establishing that as we went forward with core players, a core mindset, a core standard. It’s the same thing, it’s just for whatever reason, it didn’t come to fruition.’’