Rookie receiver Golden Tate has stood out as one of the stars at Seattle Seahawks camp. He's made more spectacular grabs than any other receiver, by most accounts, but his stats through two exhibition games barely register: three catches for 13 yards.
Nine other Seattle players have more yards receiving to this point. What's the deal? One, the Seahawks are bringing along Tate a little more slowly than his camp production might indicate. They realize he's rough around the edges when it comes to route running and the finer points. It's also common for rookie receivers to flash during practice, but not so much in games, at least right away.
I asked quarterback Matt Hasselbeck about Tate's preseason production and he flashed back to his days as a rookie with Green Bay. Hasselbeck thought he'd played well during minicamps and training camp, but it didn't translate to his preseason debut in a game for the Packers in Japan.
"They might as well have been calling the plays in Japanese," Hasselbeck said. "It was like I lost my mind. Andy Reid called me in after the game and said, 'You embarrassed me. What was that?' I said I’m sorry. So, I feel for those guys. I've been there. It’s not easy."
Tate has looked too good during practices to disappear entirely. But it's also unrealistic to expect great things from rookie receivers. Michael Crabtree was an exception for the San Francisco 49ers last season -- a rookie wideout with the polish of a seasoned pro.
"He’s shown a lot of ability and in some things he’s just been really, really amazing, and in other things he’s a rookie," Hasselbeck said. "I’m sure he’s used to doing things a certain way. He's on a new team now, a new program; they’re probably working with him on technique things, and they're probably working with him on assignments and splits and all kinds of stuff. It's a lot."