Last year, the NFL got only a brief glimpse of receiver Percy Harvin before February. Then came the Super Bowl, and Harvin arguably would have been the game’s MVP if the defense hadn’t instantly dominated Denver.
This year, with Harvin as healthy as he’s been in years, Harvin could reprise the man-among-inanimate-objects routine on a regular basis.
“He’s a tremendous threat,” Carroll told reporters regarding Harvin on Monday. “You can feel his speed and that burst that he has, really challenges you. You don’t know if he going to go all the way so just the opportunity to give them that problem makes them stay up a little later, trying figuring out how to stop him. That’s good because it helps everything else. Really good players have always helped other guys play well. I think Percy’s factor could be one that really does help other guys also. It won’t always be his stats and numbers and that. And he’s fine about that. He’s got a great attitude about helping. . . .
“We don’t have any doubt, what we want to do and what he’s capable of doing. We are really, really excited about it.”
The Seahawks discovered at some point before Super Bowl XLVIII that Harvin’s explosiveness serves the offense particularly well by putting him in motion before the snap. If he gets the handoff, it’s off to the races, with Usain Bolt facing off against Tony Siragusa. If Harvin doesn’t get the ball, the defense nevertheless will have to adjust after the simultaneous pucker that comes from thinking Harvin will be zipping away.
Teams that can get within hitting distance of Harvin will defend him the way the Saints did — by hitting him as hard as possible in the hopes of rattling him or knocking him out of the game. (Bounties or not, a real incentive exists to put truly dominant players on the sidelines.) Which means that it will be wise for the Seahawks to be careful with how they use him.
This all assumes that defense can keep up with him. Based on what happened in the Super Bowl, there’s a chance that opposing defenses will spend most of their time running through the place where Harvin just was.