Lockette making his mark on special teams

RENTON, Wash. -- Judging by coach Pete Carroll's comments Monday, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette should feel good about his chances of making the 53-man roster.

Carroll wasn't talking about Lockette's receiving skills. He was praising his talents on kickoff and punt coverage teams.

"He is as an exciting a player on [coverage] special teams as anyone we've got," Carroll said of Lockette, who runs a 4.3, 40-yard dash. "And he's just getting going. He loves participating and contributing on them. He's really tough and as fast as you can get."

Lockette had two tackles inside the 20 on kickoffs in the 34-6 victory over the Chicago Bears Friday night, but the play most fans will remember was Lockette's bone-jarring hit on Bears punt returner Darius Reynaud, slamming Reynaud backwards right as Reynaud the made the catch.

Lockette, however, was flagged for helmet to helmet contact. He had two similar hits last season on punt coverage.

The Seahawks coaches often make roster decisions on backups based on how much they can contribute on special teams. Lockette is battling for one of two open receiver spots, but his special teams play gives him an advantage.

"He had two great plays on kickoff coverage [Friday]," Carroll said. "He hit one guy at the 8-yard line and another guy at about the 12. And he had the big play on the punt coverage. Unfortunately, it was penalty, but those are extraordinary plays he made."

Carroll said Lockette wasn't always a good special teams player, remembering back when the Seahawks originally signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2011.

"I remember the first time we put him in on a kickoff team in a preseason game in San Diego [in 2011]," Carroll said. "I was excited about it because of how quick he is. He ran maybe a 4.9 on the kickoff. He couldn't get going and couldn't see where he was going.

"So from that visual to see what he's doing now, he's come a million miles. He's a big factor."