Percy Harvin’s loss figures to be some Seahawks’ gain. Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and even ex-Husky Jermaine Kearse may get a piece of the action.
In a sort of poetic nod to the loss of WR Percy Harvin, gray skies loomed above the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton Wednesday morning for the Seahawks’ sixth practice of training camp.
The workout moved from the field that runs adjacent to the spectator berm to the one that runs along the shores of Lake Washington. The result: A crowd that seemed less enamored with practice than news of the loss of Seattle’s top offseason acquisition.
Coach Pete Carroll wasn’t available to speak to the local media, nor was offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. However, Carroll told NFL Network afterward he remained positive about the possibility of Harvin returning in 2013.
His optimism did little to cushion the loss.
Given the 24-hour NFL news cycle, it was impossible to remain oblivious to these facts: Harvin will require surgery on the torn labrum in his hip, he will miss at least three-quarters of the 2013 season and Seattle is likely no more explosive offensively than they were in 2012.
Signed in March to a six-year, $67 million deal ($25 million guaranteed), Harvin’s absence shifts focus to Seattle’s core of healthy wide receivers, three of whom took the podium to address the loss of a player who in 2012 was on pace for nearly 2,400 total yards before tearing an ankle ligament during a Nov. 4 loss to the Seahawks.
WR Jermaine Kearse, the undrafted free agent from the University of Washington whose ability to play inside and outside could give him the chance to see the field. His response to a query borne from the loss of Harvin was nondescript.
“I’m not sure,” he said. Wherever they need me is where I go.”
WR Golden Tate provided perspective. Slotted behind Harvin on the depth chart, Tate becomes, alongside Sidney Rice — should he return soon from a knee procedure in Switzerland — the go-to target for QB Russell Wilson.
“We are very similar players, so things that they intended for him to do, I’d be more than happy to do that,” Tate said. “I want to get the ball any way I can, and I want to try to make a play. I’m really similar to Percy. I feel like at any moment I can make a big play to boost us or give us a go-ahead score, or whatever they need.”
Tate threw a touchdown to WR Sidney Rice in a blowout win Nov. 7 against the New York Jets, hauled in 45 passes for 688 yards and caught seven touchdowns. Those searching for a sleeper selection in their fantasy football league take heed: Tate will likely return kicks and punts, too.
“Obviously it hurts to lose Percy for a long time like that,” he said. “I know it’s hurting him. It’s killing him because he wants to be out here. Where we ended last year without him — I’m confident. We’re going to need to make more plays without him around, but where we are now we have so many playmakers from head to toe.”
Seattle’s passing offense ranked 27th (189.4 yards) in the NFL last season, though that can be attributed more to Bevell’s run-first philosophy that places emphasis on wearing down opponents, rather than hitting them over the top with play-action.
WR Doug Baldwin, whose production dipped in his second year after an impressive rookie season, should receive the opportunity to be more than a third-down safety valve. It hasn’t escaped him that he finished last year with just 29 catches and 366 yards.
“The chip never leaves. That’s not even a question. I’ll have a chip on my shoulder until the day I die,” he said. “There’s 32 teams that didn’t draft me and who told me that I wasn’t good enough to get drafted. There’s some teams out there that still don’t think that I’m good enough to be on the field, so they’ll learn one day.”