Jackson, Flynn throwing to ‘hungry, hard-working’ receivers

Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn, who are competing to be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback, have played with Pro Bowl wide receivers.

For Jackson, who was signed in free agency last year, it was while with the Vikings and he was throwing to Percy Harvin and also current teammate Sidney Rice. For Flynn, who was signed in free agency this year, it was while with the Packers and he was throwing to Donald Driver and Greg Jennings.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, have not had a Pro Bowl wide receiver since Brian Blades in 1989 – and Blades was only the second wide-out in franchise history to make it to Hawaii, joining seven-time selection Steve Largent.

The Seahawks have three wide receivers on their roster who have more than 80 career receptions and 1,000 career receiving yards in the NFL, but two were sideline spectators during Tuesday’s offseason program workout – Sidney Rice and Mike Williams, the incumbent starters. Here’s a look at each receiver’s career numbers:

Player Games No. Yards Avg. TD
Sidney Rice 57 178 2,613 14.7 20
Mike Williams 56 127 1,526 12.0 5
Ben Obomanu 58 83 1,151 13.9 7
Deon Butler 34 57 611 10.7 4
Golden Tate 27 56 609 10.9 3
Doug Baldwin 16 51 788 15.5 4
Kris Durham 3 3 30 10.0 0
Ricardo Lockette 2 2 105 52.5 1
Charly Martin 8 1 6 6.0 0
Raymond Webber 0 0 0 0.0 0

Rookies: Phil Bates, Jermaine Kearse, Lavasier Tuinei

But today, after another offseason program workout that was held in warm, sunny conditions and on the manicured outside practice fields at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Jackson said he liked the team’s current group of wide receivers. It’s an eclectic mix that includes Rice and Mike Williams, the on-the-mend incumbent starters; Doug Baldwin, who led the team in receiving as a rookie last season and has switched to his college number (89) so Flynn could have No. 15; veteran Ben Obomanu, who GM John Schneider recently called “one of the more underrated receivers in the league”; and the promising quartet of Golden Tate, Deon Butler, Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham.

“That’s what makes those guys work harder, because they know they’re unproven and they’re trying to prove themselves,” Jackson said. “When you’ve got guys that are hungry like that, and willing to work, that makes things a lot better.”

In fact, Obomanu, Baldwin and Lockette were so hungry during the players’ extended break following the season that they traveled to Alabama to workout with Jackson.

“It’s like a friendly competition – every guy in the receiving corps wants the ball,” Jackson said. “So they see one guy working hard, and they don’t want to get outworked because they know it pays off in the end because quarterbacks really like that.

“As you get more familiar with the quarterback, you become a guy a quarterback can trust and that gets more balls thrown your way.”

Jackson already had that trust with Rice, who also was signed in free agency last year and caught 32 passes before shoulder injuries that required surgery and lingering concussion symptoms forced him to go on injured reserve after playing in only nine games. Jackson developed that trust with Baldwin, who led the team in receptions (51), receiving yards (788) and TD catches (four) after being signed as an undrafted free agent.

Flynn is in the process of building that trust factor after joining the team 7½ weeks ago.

But Jackson isn’t the only one who’s high on the Seahawks’ wide-outs that are either rehabbing or mostly unproven. The club passed on selecting a wide receiver in the draft, because the group was “pretty average,” as Schneider put it. Instead, the passing game will move forward with what Schneider calls “some really cool, young guys that are exciting and with different attributes.”

Added Schneider, “I like it because it’s a really unique group. You’ve got size. You’ve got instant separation. And you’ve got guys that can get down the field a little bit.”

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