By Brent Stecker
Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin was never quite on the same page as quarterback Russell Wilson in 2012.
In his second NFL season, Baldwin didn't top more than four receptions in a game from then-rookie Wilson, and his receiving yards total dropped from 788 in 2011 to 366 in 2012. Because of that, improving the chemistry between Baldwin and Wilson was a point of emphasis for the Seahawks in training camp.
Judging by their performances in the 12-7 win over Carolina on Sunday, it's paying off – Baldwin caught eight of his nine targets for 91 yards against the Panthers, establishing himself as Wilson's go-to receiver on third downs.
Baldwin joined 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz" on Monday, and he explained that he simply needed more time to find his comfort zone with Wilson.
"I wasn't healthy at all during the preseason last year. I was dealing with a whole bunch of hamstring injuries, so I didn't have the time to build that rapport and chemistry with Russell in preseason last year," Baldwin said. "And also Russell didn't take the full amount of first-team snaps (in 2012 training camp), he only took a third of them. Now he's our guy behind center, and I was healthy for the majority of the preseason and was able to go ahead and build that rapport with him, and I think it showed yesterday."
As "Bob and Groz" discuss in the video below, Baldwin's clutch plays Sunday made him look a lot more like the player who took the team by storm in 2011 than the one who struggled in 2012, which is something the Seahawks need to make up for starting the year without big acquisition Percy Harvin.