By Alex Bigelow
Special to 710Sports.com
Much can be said of Sidney Rice's two-plus seasons as a Seahawk.
His production on the field maybe hasn't quite met the high expectations that accompanied his arrival and a five-year, $41 million contract in 2011, but make no mistake, the news of his season-ending ACL tear is going to have an impact.
"Sidney was the guy who led everything," said Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin while on "Seahawks Weekly" on 710 ESPN Seattle. "Not having him in the locker room or in our meeting room is going to be different, but at the same time, his presence is still with us because he taught us so much."
Seahawks WR Sidney Rice, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Monday's win over the Rams, is looked at as the team leader at that position. "His presence is still with us because he taught us so much," Doug Baldwin said. (AP)
Rice has only accounted for 15 catches and 231 yards thus far this season while only producing 22 yards after the catch (for comparisons sake, backup fullback Derrick Coleman has 43 yards after the catch), but somebody is going to have to fill in for Rice's absence. Whoever that is remains to be seen, but Baldwin doesn't seem concerned.
"It's crazy to me because we have guys that haven't even seen a snap of football on Sundays yet that are just as talented, if not more talented, that the guys playing on Sundays," he said.
Second-year wideout Jermaine Kearse, who's recorded eight catches for 128 yards and two TDs this season, seems like the leading candidate to fill in for Rice on the outside.
"(Kearse) can do pretty much everything," Baldwin said. "He can play inside, he can play outside. He is a dominant player when he gets the opportunity to do so."
Regardless, the Seahawks 28th-ranked passing attack has left much to be desired. And while Wilson sports 13 touchdowns to just four interceptions, the past three games have seen the Seahawks offense produce on average 210 yards per game through the air, a far cry from what Baldwin believes is possible for this unit.
"The positive is that we are growing -- (that) we have so much room for improvement," Baldwin said. "We've got so much room to continue to grow that I don't know where this offense could go because when we get to the point where everything is clicking, we are going to be unstoppable."
The nearing addition of injured wide receiver Percy Harvin will likely provide a boost to Seattle's offense, but in terms of explosiveness, that's one facet the Seahawks seem to be doing quite well.
Seattle is currently tied for 10th in the NFL of plays going for more than 20 yards with 27, and Golden Tate's 80-yard touchdown reception against the Rams last week is a perfect example of the dynamic athletes Seattle's offense boasts.
"Now, being an explosive team, both in the passing game and run game, I think that is a big positive for us because we know we can make plays when we are called upon to do so," Baldwin said.
Baldwin's belief in the offense improving goes two-fold with helping out a defensive unit that has largely lived up to its dominant reputation. But despite being one of the most tenacious units in the league, the offense, Baldwin said, needs to produce more so the defense isn't put in positions to preserve wins late like Thursday against St. Louis.
"As an offense, we had about 44 plays last game, and the defense was out there too many plays," Baldwin said. "We feel for that because we want to be able to say that we contributed to the win more so than what we have been able to do the past few games."