At a time when some reports suggest Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson lost support in the locker room last season due to the struggles of the offense, one of his teammates explains that Wilson actually won admiration for playing through injuries.
“He dealt with a lot of injuries,” Baldwin told PFT Live in an interview that debuted on Tuesday. “I won’t express those here, I can’t. But he dealt with a lot.”
Wilson had two serious injuries about which everyone knew — ankle and MCL. Baldwin’s comments suggest that there were more.
“To his credit, he battled his way back to get back on the football field,” Baldwin said. “He battled through his own mental process to deal with the pain. He gained a lot of respect in our locker room because of it. That was a key thing for him, to be able to get hurt in the fashion in which he did, everybody saw it, and then [it] comes back that it’s some significant injuries. For him to battle his way [back], he gained a lot of respect in our locker room. We’re looking forward this season for him to be healthy, get out there on the field and stay healthy so we have the best chance to win again.”
Despite the injuries and perceived struggles of the offense, Baldwin’s numbers increased over an impressive 2015 performance. He explained that the offense tilted more toward the pass because of struggles in the running game.
“I’m looking forward this upcoming season [to] running the ball more,” Baldwin said. “And I know, counterintuitive for a receiver, but the truth of the matter is that we have a philosophy in Seattle where if you run the ball and you control the clock and you play stout defense, you’re going to give yourself an opportunity to be successful. And we’ve seen that. So I’m looking forward to getting back to that philosophy, being able to run the ball as efficiently as we have in the past, so we can give ourselves an opportunity to get back to the Super Bowl. Ultimately, that’s the goal, right? Win games and win the Super Bowl.”
That’s the same goal 31 other teams have. The difference in Seattle is that the Seahawks have made it at least to the final eight for each of the last five years, and they’ll likely be knocking on the door again.
So despite the strong personalities and the tales of dysfunction and the concerns about Wilson not being Aaron Rodgers and whatever else they have to deal with, the Seahawks have found a way for half of a decade to deliver at a high level.