BY Art Thiel 08:20PM 10/22/2014

Harvin’s Seahawks void has eager candidates

Rookie WR Kevin Norwood couldn’t believe Harvin was traded, but by Friday evening he realized he was going to play. He had a priceless reaction: “Thank you Jesus!”

Doug Baldwin was back in the slot position Sunday and responded with seven catches for 123 yards. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

RENTON — While reporters nationally and locally search the Seahawks for more palace intrigue in the Percy Harvin ouster, there is another aspect getting scant attention. Rookie WR Kevin Norwood knows it better than anyone.

As with many of his teammates Friday afternoon, he didn’t believe the news at first of the trade of the Seahawks’ most explosive player to the New York Jets. Norwood boarded the third bus, scanning for Harvin on one of the first two buses. Norwood doesn’t use social media, so he kept on looking for Harvin boarding the plane to St. Louis.

After arrival and in team meetings, coaches told Norwood, a fourth-round pick from Alabama, that he was active for the game. For the first time in his brief NFL career, he was 100 percent go.

“I was like, ‘Thank you, Jesus!’” he said. “Let’s go!”

He meant no ill will toward Harvin.

“I was very excited — I started praying,” he said. “It’s my turn now. I started to get into the playbook making sure I’m getting it right.”

After a Wednesday afternoon spent listening to players and coaches dodge substantive answers to Harvin questions amid the ominous 3-3 start to the season, it was fun to hear Norwood talk about his advancement due to Harvin’s firing.

But even before filling in as s receiver, Norwood had another new experience – filling in on the kickoff coverage team for another fallen teammate, FB Derrick Coleman, who broke his foot during warmups. Norwood was victimized on a 75-yard return that set up the Rams’ first touchdown.

“That was crazy,” he said, smiling. “My head was on a swivel. As the Lord knows, I got stiff-armed.”

Norwood’s day was fairly representative of a tumultuous afternoon in St. Louis that began as a mess and morphed into a glimpse of a more robust future. The Seahawks’ final three possessions produced touchdowns on drives of 82, 91 and 80 yards.

The Rams’ defense was so helpless against QB Russell Wilson in full flower that Coach Jeff Fisher went with a high-risk fake punt deep in their own territory, figuring he had a better chance to get a first down than he did in keeping the Seahawks from a touchdown after a punt.

He was right.

But the fact that the offense found its footing, for perhaps the first time this season, was why the feeling at the VMAC was more upbeat than might have been expected for a team under scrutiny and upon a seasonal turning point: Teams with four losses before midseason rarely make the playoffs, much less the Super Bowl.

“The mood is optimistic,” said WR Doug Baldwin. “We finally got going.”

It’s no surprise that Norwood and Baldwin are among the happier campers following the purge of Harvin. While Norwood got in the NFL books with his first career catch, a four-yard screen pass, Baldwin had seven receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown in the return to his old slot position vacated by Harvin, with whom he had a fight in late August.

Baldwin, who said he texted Harvin his best wishes, has pushed on from the conflicts.

“When you spent 12 to 14 hours with these guys every day, you’re not going to like everybody,” he said. “You’re not going to agree about everything.

“However, the biggest problem we have in media is with every loss, everything is magnified. When you win, everything gets covered up. It’s just the nature of the business.”

In other words, there was plenty of workplace crankiness last season, but 16-3 obscured nearly all of it.

What deserved some magnification Sunday was that for parts of the game, the offense was down to a third-string tight end, a third-string center, a second-string fullback and was missing its most explosive player. Yet they were a couple of inches from a two-point conversion and a tie.

As a factor in game strategy, the absence of Harvin was the least of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s problems.

“The game was tough as it was,” he said. “The fullback, the tight end, shuffling groups. We had to be flexible.

“We just flopped around a little at first. We had some mental mistakes.”

Bevell, who was coaching in Minnesota when Harvin began his career with the Vikings, was careful to avoid laying blame upon Harvin, whose reported insubordination had to have been the biggest issue for him.

“I was disappointed, you know,” he said. “I was disappointed. I did have a history with him, and I thought it would be a different outcome. But I guess that’s just the way it went.

“I think we have a phenomenal atmosphere here. It’s led by Coach Carroll. I think he gives the guys great freedom to be who they want to be. I think he sets the tone for the whole program. It’s an upbeat program. Obviously we are very positive here.”

Now that the coaches and players are getting past the Friday afternoon bushwhack of a premier player, all they need to do is win a game to prove they are over themselves.

Baldwin: Lynch ‘mutiny’ untrue

Baldwin offered no corrections to the minutes regarding coverage of the Harvin trade that was the talk of the NFL nation. Except for one thing.

Regarding the report that Lynch was reluctant to get on the bus to the airport after learning of the trade, he said, “Let me clear that up – that’s stupid.

“He went to ask somebody, and found out it was true, and got back on the bus. There was no hesitation.”

Asked about the sports debate between talent and chemistry and whether it is possible to have addition by subtraction, Baldwin paused and offered a small smile.

That’s a good question,” he said. “I don’t have an answer.”


  • PokeyPuffy

    As crappy as the Rams game turned out, it was fun to watch the offense. Wilson looked very alert and moved quickly. The tempo and flo was definitely there. 26 points should have been good enough for a road win against the rams, clearly other issues arose.

    • art thiel

      The offense discovered the pre-Harvin routine, which included Baldwin in the slot and more read-option keepers for Wilson.

  • RadioGuy

    I don’t feel a lot of sympathy for Darrell Bevell. He spent enough time with the Vikings to know what the Seahawks were getting when they dealt for Harvin, so his “I’m disappointed” line rings pretty hollow. What did you expect, Darrell? Too bad Schneider wasn’t able to throw Bevell in on the trade but I’m guessing the Jets weren’t willing to give up a used athletic supporter in return.

    • Joe Fan

      I think Bevell may have hurt his immediate chances of becoming a head coach.

      • art thiel

        Good point.

    • art thiel

      Bevell obviously was an endorser of Harvin’s acquisition. All successful coaches have a hard time believing that some athletes are incorrigible. Look at Holmgren with Robinson and Stevens, Belichick with Hernandez. Many other examples of boxes unchecked next to the category of “plays well with others.”

  • notaboomer

    just win baby!

  • poulsbogary

    recriminations, accusations, he said-she saids, soap operas, heck, even skin tones? Has the disintegration begun? Are the wheels falling off?

    • art thiel

      This is how it works with post-championship teams. Seahawks have never been here before, so predictions about an outcome are useless.

  • jafabian

    The Hawks need to get back to some old fashioned, Knox-inspired smash mouth football. I’m not sure they have the horses for that beyond the RB’s. The O-Line seems to still have the same problems as last season and depth is a huge issue. (Pork Chop Floyd, we miss you.) Losing Harvin isn’t the issue as opposed to what everyone’s role is now with the primary player of Bevell’s schemes gone. Not the best of time to retool the offense at mid-season.

    Biggest problem right now is focus. Too much bickering, finger-pointing and division. Plus the team has in essence traded Dennis Johnson and didn’t even get a Paul Westphal in return. Wish we could have at least gotten a lineman or a FB but that’s water under the bridge. The Hawks are still the team to beat. Sadly, you have add “if they make the playoffs: to that right now.

    • art thiel

      Not sure there’s much bickering. And the guy they miss is Paul McQuistan, a sentence I never thought I’d write.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    I think the Hawks protected themselves in the draft in case this scenario came to pass after being around Percy last year.Analysts were saber rattling that offensive line should have been a priority not receiver. We take Richardson and Norwood and they immediately get integrated into the rams game. It was a wise move it seems.
    As far as Lynch shedding any sweat over mister “I’m not going back in” to play against Dallas?I laughed at that getting on the bus thing from the outset. Lynch wants the ball EVERYTIME… he couldnt have been overjoyed about how much they were using the (now)new Jet as a running back. Harmony restored for he and Baldwin et al and we at least know it could be a recipe for righting the ship. It all begins where old Seahawk teams used to go and die…. an early start and win on the east coast. Go Hawks.

    • art thiel

      I think the O-line remains a priority, but WR was obviously in the back of Schneider’s mind knowing Harvin was creating a potential mess.

      • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

        Well if the glass half full scenario is to be accepted maybe a little of that saved “Harvin Money ” can go to the O~Line next year. We have been harking about improvement for 2~3 yrs now.

  • ll9956

    I seriously doubt that it will take any inspiring oratory from PC or any of the other coaches to motivate the Hawks this Sunday. Let’s hope the outcome is different than last Sunday.

    • art thiel

      I believe the Seahawks are all literate enough to read the standings as well as the expiration date on their contracts.

  • Raymond Meyers

    I’m betting “look up at the ball” is a phrase you’ll hear around the special teams guys this week.

    The only crisis in Seattle is the one ginned up by the subset of NFL punditbots who need crises to give their sorry typing any meaning.

    Go Hawks.

    • art thiel

      TV casts drive the weekly drama to call attention to themselves. If you know that, things become easier to sort. Having said that, the champs trading Harvin was a big damn deal.

  • Gerald Turner

    Football is a violent game, every team needs a spark of destructive energy. What happens when you don’t have it? Remember T Russkills sisters of character? His choir boy club? They got punched in the face over and over. Brutal. The danger is that the spark of darkness gets out of hand. Playing with chaos is a dangerous thing. Sometimes your lightning rod of hate gets charged with double homicide. The great coaches are always looking for this primer. But it’s hard to ride the tiger. Last time I got a glimpse of Jeremy Stevens he was grabbing his crotch in a TD celebration in Tampa. Ugh. Was it Percy’s locker room fire that propelled the Hawks to glory? I think so. I also believe that Pete C will be looking out for another bad boy. He knows the secret. Anger-fear-desperation, complacency impossible.

    • art thiel

      To your point, Seahawks won SB while leading NFL in pens. Carroll accepts some penalties of aggression. But pre-snap pens? That’s attention to detail, which has slipped this year.

  • jburnshire

    I’d love to see Norwood get more plays. I know Pete likes players who contribute on special teams, on top of their normal duties. I think Norwood’s size and hands could be useful now (ditto for the red zone) and down the road. More so than what PRich brings to the table.

    I like Prich, but unless he’s consistently winning battles for contested balls regularly in practice, and catching catchable passes at a high rate, might as well give Norwood the nod in my opinion.