RENTON, Wash. -- Five games into the season, here’s a list of five players who have gotten it done on the Seattle Seahawks offense and five who need to improve:
Top five, counting down:
5. Wide receiver/kick returner Jermaine Kearse -- He’s made the most of his limited play as the team’s fourth receiver. Kearse only has four receptions, but two were touchdowns, which ties him for the most on the team among receivers. He made a spectacular TD grad last weekend at Indianapolis on a leaping 28-yard catch along the sideline, managing to stay in bounds as he reached for the pylon. Kearse also has done a good job on special teams, blocking a punt last week that became a Seattle safety, and averaging 24.7 yards on three kickoff returns.
4. Wide receiver/punt returner Golden Tate -- He leads the team with 18 receptions and has done a good job on gaining yards after the catch. Tate has one TD reception, but should have two. He was wide open down the sideline last weekend for what would have been a touchdown, but Russell Wilson overthrew him. Tate also leads the NFC in punt-return average at 12.4 yards per return.
3. Slot receiver Doug Baldwin -- He has 17 receptions for a team-best 296 yards. More importantly, Baldwin had made some difficult grabs that helped decide the outcome of games. He made a near-miraculous catch in the season opener at Carolina when Wilson just threw it his direction on a third-and-8 and Baldwin came up with a spectacular sideline grab. Baldwin also had a 51-yard catch against San Francisco that set up a touchdown. But his tip-toe grab in Houston game kept alive a fourth-quarter TD drive. Baldwin somehow stayed in bounds for a 25-yard reception when the Seahawks had third-and-7 at their own 5 yard line.
2. Running back Marshawn Lynch -- He is third in the NFL with 410 yards rushing on 96 carries, including 102 yards last week in the loss at Indianapolis. Lynch went Beat Mode on one play, breaking at least six tackles on a 43-yard run that started at the Seattle 2. Lynch is the key to the power-running attack the Seahawks want to use to keep the defense honest and open things up for Wilson off play-action.
1. Quarterback Russell Wilson -- The statistics don’t show it, but Wilson has continued to play at a high level with an offensive line that was missing three starters the last two weeks, and also was without tight end Zach Miller against the Colts. Wilson rushed for 102 yards at Indianapolis, because he realized running was his best option with an offensive front that was struggling in pass protection. Wilson has been under siege a lot of the time, but still has eight TD passes for a 91.2 quarterback rating.
Five who need to show more:
5. Fullback Derrick Coleman -- It isn’t that he’s doing a lot of things wrong, he just hasn’t shown a lot to help the offense. Coleman is a victim of comparison to Michael Robinson, a veteran fullback the Seahawks released before the season started, mainly for financial reasons. Robinson was a strong lead blocker for Lynch, but also one of the team leaders in the locker room.
4. Offensive tackle Paul McQuistan -- This is a bit unfair because McQuistan is playing out of position as Russell Okung’s replacement at left tackle the last three games. McQuistan is a much better guard, where he started the first two games, than he is a tackle. He has struggled at times going against some of the best pass-rushers in the league, but it’s hard to look good when you replace a Pro Bowl left tackle that protected Wilson’s blind side.
3. Guard J.R. Sweezy -- Here’s the little secret that no one talks about much. Everyone knows the Seahawks offensive line has struggled without three starters, but neither starting guard has played well. Sweezy was one of the pleasant surprises last season when he converted from a defensive line to offense in his rookie year. But Sweezy has been overpowered at times this season by opposing defensive tackles.
2. Guard James Carpenter -- He returned to a starting role at left guard when McQuistan had to move to Okung’s tackle spot. Carpenter missed most of training came with a foot injury and hasn’t looked like the dominant blocker the Seahawks were expecting when they made him a first-round draft choice out of Alabama in 2011. Both Carpenter and Sweezy probably will play better this weekend if Pro Bowl center Max Unger returns, as expected. Unger will make the right calls up front to help all the linemen be where they need to be on each zone-blocking assignment.
1. Wide receiver Sidney Rice -- He has two TD catches, both of which came in the blowout victory against Jacksonville. But Rice only has 10 receptions in the first five games, and five of those came in the game against the Jaguars. Rice had one catch against Houston and one against Indianapolis in the last two games. Rice flew to Switzerland for a platelet-enriched plasma treatment on his knee during training camp, so it’s possible the knee still bothers him.