Third degree: Getting Doug Baldwin involved in critical situations
RENTON -- A year ago, Doug Baldwin became the first undrafted rookie to lead his team in receptions since the 1970 merger.
It wasn't just the total number of receptions that was impressive, though. It was the timing.
He caught 25 passes on third down, which was tied for seventh-most of any player in the league.
"We had gone into this season thinking that Doug would be a focal point," coach Pete Carroll said, "and we have not been able to get that done yet."
Baldwin has caught four passes for 23 yards so far this season. Some of that is health related as Baldwin missed all four exhibition games because of a hamstring injury, suffered a dental injury in the season-opening loss at Arizona and then missed Game 3 because of a shoulder injury.
But some of it is also adjusting to a new quarterback in Russell Wilson after building a rapport with Tarvaris Jackson a year ago.
"I haven't had much time with Russell, particularly on third downs," Baldwin said. "I kind of grew with Tarvaris last year. He always knew where I was going to be and when I was going to be there last year. I had that chemistry with T-Jack. It's just a growing process with Russell."
The Seahawks faced nine third downs last week, and called a pass play on five of them resulting in two sacks and three incompletions. That's a key area for improvement this week, and expect Baldwin to get some consideration.
"This is an important week, I think, for Doug," Carroll said. "We've got to get Doug back into things."