Doug Baldwin, who wasn’t too angry on this day, met with the media on Wednesday. He talked about the offense without Percy Harvin, the improvement of Russell Wilson, the lack of respect the receivers get and other things
Q: Have you had a chance to reflect on the opportunity this team has, not only to play in a second straight NFC Championship game but to do it at CenturyLink Field in front of the 12s?
DOUG BALDWIN: Not really. Not yet, I would say. To kind of go deeper into that answer, Derek Jeter, when he retired, he said if he could go back, do anything different he would try to go back and enjoy the wins more.
As a true competitor, you can’t do that. You have to always stay in the moment, stay focused on the task at hand and what’s next. For us, being in the moment, that’s all we’re focused on. Right now focused on preparing for the Green Bay Packers. So really can’t reflect on it just yet.
Q: The touchdown against Carolina, that was a lot of anticipation over that. Is that a throw Russell Wilson makes maybe a year ago?
DOUG BALDWIN: Good question. I think he does, I think it comes out a little bit later. I think he wants to see it more sometimes.
But just like Sherm [Richard Sherman] said, he’s grown in the aspect where he just lets it go. He trusts the guys around him, trusts his offensive line that they’re going to hold it up for him. The tight end, that they’re going to make their adjustment. And obviously he trusted me to throw the ball up well before I got on my break and trust me to make the play.
So I would say he would have made that throw, but not as consistently as he’s been making it this year.
Q: After Percy Harvin was traded, did you guys go back to what worked before or did you find new ways to do things, or was it both?
DOUG BALDWIN: I think when that situation occurred, we tried to do the best we could with what we had. And I gotta give a lot of credit to Darrell Bevell and Tom Cable. They put us as players in the best position to make plays. They utilized our advantages and our strengths. And we went with it. I don’t think ‑‑ we didn’t go back to anything. We just kind of let the cards fall as they may and the pieces just fell into place.
Q: On your touchdown and also on Luke Willson’s touchdown, it looked like you and Russell were in communication beforehand, knew what was coming. How much has your chemistry grown this year?
DOUG BALDWIN: It’s been huge. We started ‑‑ I would say my second year in the league when his rookie season, I think the Chicago game is when we started to have that communication.
And it was intermittent. It was here and there. Never truly consistent until this year. And it’s been extremely fun because when you have a guy like Russell you can look at him and give him a certain look and he knows exactly what you’re talking about.
And it’s that chemistry that you’re talking about is something special. So on that specific play, you can see the communication happening right away once we get at the line of scrimmage. I actually wasn’t completely sure because of the look I was getting.
It didn’t seem like the coverage was going to be exactly what we thought it was. But he just said, Screw it, we’re just going to call it anyways and see what happens. And I mean that communication happened at the line of scrimmage without words being exchanged. So for us to be able to have that communication, that ability, is going to be amazing for us down the line.
Q: How special has this journey been when you entered the league and you’re in your second ‑‑
DOUG BALDWIN: I’ll tell you when I retire. I can’t look back on it just yet. We got some goals we’ve got to accomplish.
Q: B.J. Daniels played some receiver with you guys sometimes and all that. How good is he at that and kind of the way he is all over the place in practice?
DOUG BALDWIN: I can’t say enough about B.J. Daniels. He’s an unbelievable athlete, just capable of doing everything. Obviously we know him as a quarterback. He’s got a great arm. Great accuracy.
But his athletic ability is what stands out to me. Not only when he goes to play receiver but as a kick returner, running back on our scout team.
He does so many things for us and he’s phenomenal at it. He showed a tendency to catch the tough catches in traffic. He has the ability to do that.
He makes guys miss when he’s at running back and at kick returner. So he has a lot of attributes that are going to I hope and I think are going to lead to his success in this league. So anxious to see what he can do for us.
Q: You have a decent track record returning kicks in the NFC Championship game. Are you going to lobby for that this week with Paul Richardson out?
DOUG BALDWIN: Maybe.
Q: Are you concerned that B.J. Daniels could take that responsibility?
DOUG BALDWIN: Nope. (Laughter).
Q: Doug, there are clearly a few more people here today than normal. How much does it help that you guys went through this last year to prepare for this week?
DOUG BALDWIN: I just got done saying that on a radio interview. It’s huge for me. And for us as a team. I think as a younger group, we kind of take that for granted. And I believed when I was younger, being naive, I thought that it was kind of overrated, that the experience was overrated.
But now being in this, my second year, going to the NFC Championship the second year, that experience is crucial. Not only because of the physical aspect of it but also the mental aspect of it. You learn to pace yourself dealing with you guys as media, no offense, but you guys do add a little bit of stress to our lives.
And being able to handle that in the appropriate manner and going about our way of studying and preparing for this game and being able to handle everything that comes along with it, because our families are getting at us as well, that experience definitely, it enables us to just be more patient, be more calm and just handle things in the appropriate manner.
And so I think come game time it’s going to be a lot easier for us as well.
Q: Something with Jermaine Kearse, going back to the NFC Championship game, the Super Bowl, the last week, he’s had a lot of big catches in playoff games. Anything to that with him?
DOUG BALDWIN: Jermaine just loves playing the game of football and he loves getting his opportunities in big games. As a team, we don’t talk about getting up for any game. We treat every game as the same. Championship opportunity week in, week out.
But one of the things I’ve noticed about Jermaine is that he’s always in it mentally. It doesn’t matter if he gets one target in the first half or ten targets in the first half, he’s going to be ready when that fourth quarter pass comes his way and he’s going to make the play the majority of the time.
So that’s what I’ve known about Jermaine. He’s always prepared for the moment. It doesn’t matter if it’s a preseason game or if it’s in the Super Bowl, he’s prepared for the moment.
Q: Luke Willson and kind of what he brings to your receiving corps?
DOUG BALDWIN: He’s a tight end, technically, but as a receiving tight end, he brings a lot to the table. I think a lot of people, well, just in general, because we don’t pass the ball that often, he’s taken for granted a lot. And his capability as not only as a pass catcher but a run after the catch asset to us is it’s unbelievable. And I think he’s starting to get a little bit more recognition now because he’s gotten more opportunities.
And he’s not much different than what he was when he came into the league, obviously he knows the game a little bit better in experience‑wise, but in terms of a polished receiver and polished run after the catch guy he’s pretty much the same, he’s just getting more opportunities.
Q: We’re talking about Russell Wilson’s skill set and passing, getting the ball out faster, how he’s progressed, all that kind of stuff. When you think of a franchise quarterback or did think of a franchise quarterback before him, what came to your mind and how does he fit into that, I guess?
DOUG BALDWIN: He doesn’t fit the mold of anything that I’ve thought previously would be a franchise quarterback. And I think he still gets a lot of hate and discredit, I guess, because of the fact that we don’t throw the ball that often.
However, what he’s asked to do in this offense he does it extremely well. He doesn’t turn the ball over which he’s been hounded since day one: Take care of the ball. He makes smart decisions with his legs. And also when he’s doing that, when he’s making smart decisions with his legs, he’s still looking down the field to make plays in the passing game.
That’s huge for us as receivers because we know that any given play anything can happen. We could have a play and guys could be covered up and Russell can scramble out of the pocket and make something happen for us.
To have that on your team, it’s extremely rare, and the capabilities that he has in terms of not turning the ball over when he does that is rare as well. When I look at it, I don’t necessarily think of him as a typical franchise quarterback but for this team he’s our franchise quarterback because he does everything we need him to do and more.
Q: You played with Andrew Luck. Was he kind of what you thought of as a quote/unquote franchise quarterback?
DOUG BALDWIN: Yeah, because he was the prototypical quarterback. And he had that label on him when he came to college. Even in high school he had the prototypical pocket passer, but he had the athletic ability to do some of the things that Russell does, obviously not as athletically gifted but has those capabilities.
So, yeah, and kind of just growing up as a fan of the game, that’s pretty much the stereotype, pocket passer, Peyton Manning‑type guy. That’s the guy that you want as your franchise quarterback. But we’re seeing now the tendency is leaning more towards athletic quarterbacks because of the way the defense is playing and just in general you want an athletic quarterback that’s capable of moving. So I think that perception has to change a little bit.
Q: Pete Carroll talked about Russell’s ability to hear something once and make an adjustment. He said it was almost uncanny, there was something about throwing a pass to the outside, throw in the middle, be open, so he did it from that point on?
DOUG BALDWIN: I think Pete was just being nice. No. (Laughter).
Q: Is he one of those guys who hears something once and can adjust his game accordingly?
DOUG BALDWIN: Yeah. He’s one of those guys that just ‑‑ he takes in so much information. And his ability just to ‑‑ it will be in the middle of a game be like, hey, this cornerback is playing this particular way, let’s try this.
And in the middle of the game, I’ll think maybe he forgot about it, then he actually does it. And he’s got so much on his plate. So much is going on that he has to control and read.
But in those moments you really see just how talented he is, mentally as well. He’s capable of taking all that information in and making plays on the fly, and it’s unbelievable to me, because obviously I get to watch it every day in practice, but he amazes me in games as well.
Q: Green Bay, secondary, overall in the last few games, especially Ha Ha Clinton‑Dix, do you see any differences from week one?
DOUG BALDWIN: A little bit. They’re playing ‑‑ obviously week one, you still are trying to get your feet wet, figure out who you’re playing with. Preseason doesn’t really allow you to do that fully.
So going back and watching the tape now you see those guys playing together. They’re playing a lot more sound. They’re extremely athletic, very fast.
We’re excited about that opportunity, about that challenge, because the speed that they bring to the table is something we don’t necessarily see every day. Not trying to knock on our defensive backs or anything, but it’s a challenge for us because of their speed. But they’re playing so much more together, that’s also going to present a challenge because they’re in the right spots at the right times.
Q: How about you and Jermaine, do you think you’ll ever get the credit as lead receivers, go out for appetizers at Applebees the other night?
DOUG BALDWIN: We didn’t. Obviously telling people we go to Applebees, you probably shouldn’t go to Applebees. Honestly, I don’t think so. I don’t think we’ll get the credit. And to be completely honest with you, we really don’t care. I mean, we care to some degree. Let me not lie to you guys, but we use it more as motivation, obviously.
But I don’t think we’ll get the credit because we’re not in a passing offense. We’re not going to get 100 targets or 100 catches in a season because we just don’t throw the ball enough to do so.
But we take pride on making the best of our opportunities when we get the chance to. So that really is what counts for us, and as long as our coaches and our teammates know and appreciate us and they share that sentiment, then we’re fine.
Q: How is Clay Matthews playing inside more changed the defense?
DOUG BALDWIN: Man, it’s done a lot of things for them. I think their stats, their rushing yards allowed is cut in half. Also, if you look at their offense, their rushing yards gained is almost double.
And a lot of people look at that and say that doesn’t really have an effect. But I think it does. If you look at rushing yards, it’s cut in half. That eliminates the first downs that opposing offenses are capable of getting.
Him specifically, he’s such an athletic guy, a linebacker, big body in that box, he’s capable of doing a lot of things and stopping the run.
And so if he stops the run on the opposing offense and they don’t have the ball as often, and then his offense gets the ball more often and they get more chances to run the ball, more opportunities to get first downs.
So it’s directly affecting a lot of things that I don’t think people really notice or can appreciate. So his effect in the middle has a lot to do with their success as a whole. So anxious again for that challenge.
Q: As a cover guy, does he then become somebody that you have to worry a little bit more on slants or things like that?
DOUG BALDWIN: Oh, yeah, when you’re running across the middle, you want to know where that guy’s at. Like I said, again, it’s another opportunity for us, another challenge that we look forward to because we know how talented he is. So when we get our opportunity, we’re going to try to do the best we can.