Seahawks receivers are ready to pick up slack

RENTON — Doug Baldwin and the rest of Seattle’s receivers know they can’t replicate what Sidney Rice brought to the Seahawks. Especially not in the most literal sense.

“I mean, I can’t grow,” said Baldwin, who stands 5-feet, 10-inches. “I can’t get any taller. Sidney’s just a bigger target for Russell, obviously, and he’s amazing at catching anything, and like we know he’ll give up his body to do so. It’s difficult to replicate the things he does in those positions. He’s great at having awkward-body catches.”

Smaller or not, however, the Seahawks receivers are ready to pick up the slack with Rice out for the rest of the year having suffered a torn ACL in Monday’s win in St. Louis.

“Our receiver room is a family, and Sid’s kind of like the head of the family,” Baldwin said. “Just his presence is so important, and to have him not there anymore is devastating to us, but it’s next man up. We’re going to take advantage of the opportunities that we’re given and wish him well.”

Baldwin, normally Seattle’s slot receiver, will take over Rice’s starting role, Pete Carroll said, and Rice’s absence also will mean a bigger role for Jermaine Kearse. The Seahawks also promoted Ricardo Lockette off the practice squad.

“It’s very unfortunate and he’s been a big part of it, so we’re going to miss the heck out of him,” Carroll said of Rice. “But as always, it calls for the next guys. So Doug Baldwin steps up and Jermaine steps up to fill in, and we move up Ricardo Lockette, and we count on all those guys to take up the slack. But you have a veteran guy like that that we’ve counted on a long time who’s big in the system, we’re going to miss him.”

Seattle’s other starting receiver, Golden Tate, figures to see his role change the least, as he already was on the field for the majority of Seattle’s offensive snaps, but he could end up being targeted more. Regardless of how his or anyone else’s roles change, Tate thinks Seattle’s receivers are ready to make up for Rice’s absence.

“I think we’ll be just fine without Sidney,” Tate said. “Obviously it hurts to have him taken away, but the show must go on. We’re a strong enough team and we have enough depth that missing one guy is not going to kill us.”

Of course, Rice’s absence certainly will be mitigated by the return of Percy Harvin, who has yet to play for his new team since having hip surgery this summer. Harvin returned to practice last week, but experienced some soreness late in the week and the schedule for his return is very much still in the air. Carroll said Harvin would not practice Wednesday, and that the receiver’s status beyond that is unknown.

Carroll also made it clear that Harvin’s return won’t be rushed, even with Rice now out for the season. When you combine those comments with the fact that Harvin did little last week in practice and sat out Wednesday as well, it seems somewhat unlikely he will play against Tampa Bay this weekend.

“With the workload that he’s had to endure to get back and to get in shape, there’s going to be some stuff, and he’s been a little bit sore from last week,” Carroll said. “So we just want make sure we don’t go too far, too fast.

“We’re looking for the long-haul thinking in recovery, so we just make sure that we can manage our way through that. We’re being very careful. He didn’t do a whole lot last week, he did very little. So it seems like it’s best to keep him in that mode for a little bit longer. So we’ll see. That’s today for right now.”

Tackles progressing

Seeing Russell Wilson sacked seven times last weekend certainly made people wonder how soon starting tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini will be back, and while neither will play this week, both are making good progress according to Carroll.

Okung, who is on the injured reserve list with a toe injury and carries the “designated to return” distinction, can’t come back to game action until Nov. 17 against Minnesota. However, Okung is eligible to return to practice this Friday, and Carroll did not rule out that possibility. Giacomini, who is recovering from knee surgery, is “getting really close” to returning to practice.

“Breno’s really day-to-day right now, I would think by next week he’ll be pretty active in what’s going on, so we’ll see what that means,” Carroll said.

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com.

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