Seahawks Believe WR Tyler Lockett Will Make Significant Impact in Final 3 Games
Prior to a shin bruise sustained during Week 10 in San Francisco, Tyler Lockett was performing at an All-Pro level for the Seahawks. He was on pace for over 1,200 receiving yards, easily the highest total since coach Pete Carroll arrived in 2010.
But after spending a few days in the hospital, the fifth-year receiver has battled through his leg injury along with the flu over the past three weeks.
Given those issues, Lockett has suffered a significant decline in production. Over the Seahawks past three games, the 2016 Pro Bowl receiver has caught just five of his 11 targets for a total of 81 yards.
The Kansas State standout has also played four straight games without recording a single touchdown, his longest streak since the 2017 season. This past Sunday in Los Angeles, Lockett also generated his third-lowest yards per reception rate (10.75) of the season during a 28-12 loss.
Despite these current struggles, Lockett may finally be ready to turn the corner this weekend in Carolina, as he’s recorded 10 catches for 170 yards along with a touchdown in three career games against the Panthers.
Just as offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer stated after Thursday’s practice, the speedy receiver appears to have finally regained his health and quickness.
“I think he’s coming back. He ran some things today that looked really, really, good. Looked really, really fast,” Schottenheimer explained. “Looked like his legs were bouncing back. It was good to get him some catches last week. I don’t know how he feels but, he looked terrific these last two days.”
Lockett returning to his superstar form will be vital for the Seahawks' offense over the final three remaining games. His connection with Russell Wilson is an integral part of their success, especially when it comes to producing explosive 20-plus yard pass plays.
Prior to Thursday’s practice, Wilson spoke to reporters about Lockett’s value within Seattle's offense and his desire to see a spark from the struggling receiver.
“Tyler is a huge part of our offense. We want to get him going throughout the game and just get him the football,” Wilson said. “He’s such a special player. You definitely notice him on the field when he’s making those plays.”
Throughout this season, Lockett has served as the primary option in third-down situations, as he currently leads all Seahawks receivers with his 43 first-down receptions, according to ESPN.com.
Lockett’s recent health concerns forced Seattle to rely on tight end Jacob Hollister and reserve receiver Malik Turner during two critical situations against Los Angeles. Both players failed to capitalize, making two inexcusable drops that ended possessions.
As Schottenheimer detailed following Thursday’s practice, those types of mistakes need to be corrected going forward.
“Unfortunate missed opportunities,” Schottenheimer said. “Certainly not the reason we didn’t play as well but, there are things that you teach fundamentally that those guys could do better.”
With the Seahawks likely destined to play in an NFC West title game against the 49ers in just two weeks, it’ll be key for Lockett to bust out and take pressure off of other receivers in the passing game. Hopefully those improvements will be on display as Seattle looks to win its third straight game over Carolina dating back to the 2016 season.