Doug Baldwin, the Seattle Seahawks’ leading receiver this season, doesn’t envy Carolina Panthers rookie Kelvin Benjamin for posting a thousand yards in the air.
That won’t happen with Seattle, which hosts the Carolina Panthers in an NFC playoff game Saturday at 8:15 p.m. (FOX). The Seahawks move the ball mostly on the ground with running back Marshawn Lynch, and Baldwin has made peace with that.
“You have to have a certain mentality in Seattle. Some guys just don’t get it that you might do more blocking than receiving,” said Baldwin, who caught 66 passes for 825 yards and three touchdowns this season. “But that’s your job. You need a tough mentality to play wide receiver here.”
Seattle’s receiving corps was frequently described during last season’s run to the Super Bowl as mediocre and nondescript. The Seahawks under coach Pete Carroll have annually been at or near the bottom in passing attempts.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The receivers seem to handle this with good humor. The guys on the other side of the ball in practice tend to stick up for them.
“They’re feisty, they’re dynamic, they’re clutch. They’re veteran, they’re champions,” said Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman. “This is the same group of receivers who last year were called appetizers or something. They’re called a lot of things, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a receiving corps with more Super Bowl touchdowns.
“Call them whatever you want, but on game day that means nothing. These guys play big time in the biggest games. A lot of guys play big time in the regular season, but what does that do for you in the playoffs?”
Special athletes: Saturday’s game features two of the top middle linebackers in the NFL in Carolina’s Luke Kuechly and Seattle’s Bobby Wagner. Carroll was asked to compare them.
“They’re both really good athletes who run like crazy,” Carroll said. “They are similar in that they’re very active, very good athletes who can run with any of the running backs.”
Wagner wasn’t interested in comparing himself to Kuechly: “I think I’m the only me here. The only person who reminds me of me is my little brother.”
That’s the plan: Wagner says the Seahawks have the potential to be remembered as one of the best defenses in NFL history: “I think if we put a couple more championships up there, we have to be considered. And that’s the plan.”