As the Seahawks prepare for their regular season finale against the St. Louis Rams, they are taking all precautions necessary to ensure victory.
One of those precautions was announced earlier today on special teams.
Doug Baldwin, who has returned only four kickoffs in his three years in the NFL, will be the lead kick returner for Seattle on Sunday and perhaps into the postseason as well.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) December 26, 2013
Jermaine Kearse and Robert Turbin have shared the majority of the time at the position this season, but an injury to Kearse and poor ball protection from Turbin on Sunday made Baldwin the front-runner to return kickoffs.
Golden Tate is still expected to return punts this season.
At the start of the season, Percy Harvin was expected to handle the return duties, but he has only played in one game this season so the Seahawks were forced to improvise.
Baldwin hasn’t returned kickoffs regularly since 2007, his freshman year at Stanford. There, he returned 23 kicks for 555 yards, an average of 24.1 yards per return. As a sophomore, he worked more as the punt returner and returned 18 punts for 155 yards, an average of more than eight yards per return.
As a junior and senior at Stanford, Baldwin returned a combined four kickoffs for 126 yards. In his four-year collegiate career, he never scored a touchdown on special teams.
In his three years as a Seahawk, Baldwin has returned four kickoffs for 97 yards. During Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals, he replaced Turbin and had two returns go for a combined 57 yards, including a 37-yard return.
The Seahawks will be looking for that explosiveness again on Sunday.
On the depth chart, wide receiver Bryan Walters is listed as the second return man and running back Christine Michael is listed at No. 3.