Terrell Owens, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Revolting Receiving Problem

When teams bring in these aging egotistical troublemakers – and in this case, I’m talking about guys like Braylon Edwards and Terrell Owens – I usually have the same thought:  “Damn, those teams must be TERRIBLE at wide receiver!”

I don’t necessarily think that the Seahawks are terrible at wide receiver, but that’s probably because I’m too close to the situation.  When I look at other teams – the 49ers, the Bengals, the Jets, the Bills – who have employed guys like Edwards & T.O., I see the dregs of the dregs.  Teams so depleted, they’re practically FORCED to try these guys out.  I mean, I can see no other reason to surround your team with these perpetual headaches.

Which is why I have to take a step away from the Seahawks for a moment and REALLY look long and hard at this team:  how bad ARE they at receiver?

Instead of trying to pinpoint their greatest attributes and their potential for greatness, let’s look at them for what they really are right now.  And, right off the bat I can tell you that there are no sure things.  Sidney Rice might be, except the only thing you can be sure of with Sidney Rice is that he’s going to be injured and miss time this season.  Doug Baldwin had a nice rookie campaign, especially for someone who came in undrafted, but how much of that is true ability and how much of that is him looking particularly good in comparison to the other duds we’ve got around him?  In other words, if Doug Baldwin was a member of the 1988 Houston Oilers, would he even be their 5th receiver?

There’s quite a drop-off from there.  Ben Obomanu is the Jason Vargas of the Seattle Seahawks.  Un-exciting, un-spectacular, un-sexy.  Deon Butler is the Blake Beavan of the Seattle Seahawks, in that both of them do one thing well and ONLY one thing.  For Beavan, it’s throwing strikes.  For Butler, it’s his speed.  Ricardo Lockette also flashes a lot of speed and a lot of promise with his size, but the fact of the matter is he has only caught 2 balls in his professional career (and I keep reading about how he’s always dropping balls in camp).  And until Golden Tate proves it with a 1,000-yard receiving year, he has yet to prove he’s more worthy of playing time than guys like Edwards and T.O.  Guys who have done it at least once before (and, in the case of T.O., have done it repeatedly throughout a Hall of Fame career).

On the whole, this batch of receivers looks pretty shitty on paper.  I don’t have a great handle on the rest of the NFL and how they stack up at the position, but I would have to bet that the general consensus from fans across the country is that Seattle has the worst, if not one of the top five worst receiving corps in the entire NFL.  So, really, it’s no surprise that the agents for Edwards and T.O. have been pounding on our door.

Why would they want to come to Seattle?  Because no other team would have them.  Pete Carroll has proven to be open-minded about everyone who crosses his path.  He will give everyone a chance, no matter how old, or how long it has been since they’ve played in a live-action football game.  But, even if Seattle ISN’T their only option, I’m sure it’s their best option.  Because they love being in the limelight.  And that limelight will even reach to the farthest corner of the NFL (Seattle), because there is no one else in this market who could POSSIBLY outshine them.

This morning, and for the rest of the day, people will be talking about Seattle because Seattle is talking to T.O.  And, if Seattle signs him to a contract, these same people will continue to bring up Seattle in conversation.  And, if T.O. makes the team for opening day, Seattle will have relevance for as long as he’s healthy and playing regularly.  If you’re trying to “build up a program” as Carroll has so often said, getting the rest of the country to talk about your program is pretty important.  Because it means that you’ve arrived.  And, if you’ve arrived, then that means you’re going places.  And, with teams that are going places, you’ll have players who want to come here.

But, it’s a double-edged sword.  Because these same people will be talking about you whether you win or lose.  And, if you lose with T.O., you’d better be ready for the backlash of second-guessing.  Head coaches can survive the T.O. Experience, even if it fails.  But, if it DOES fail, it will be a fiery, spectacular failure that will be on your permanent record for the rest of your career.

My first impression of T.O. coming to Seattle was a resounding:  NOOOOOOOOO!  But, now I have to wonder:  if we’re so bad that we’re resolving ourselves to trying out 38 year old prima donnas who haven’t played in the league for over a year, are we really as settled at receiver as I once thought?  I mean, if these guys can come in out of nowhere and win starting jobs, then just how fucked ARE we?

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