Wide receiver Sidney Rice of the Seattle Seahawks is done for the year after tearing his ACL in the first half of Monday night’s divisional clash with St. Louis.
The receiving corps was already without Percy Harvin, and this injury is another blow to the passing game.
Rice’s stats aren’t all that impressive, as he got off to a slow start and managed only 15 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns. Those three scores, however, were tied for the team lead among receivers.
Immediately after hearing about Rice’s season-ending injury, speculations persisted over whether the Seahawks would decide to speed up Harvin’s return to the lineup. I believe it would be unwise for the Seahawks to do that.
Rice’s injury is a blow, certainly, but it’s not going to devastate the passing attack to the point of the team rushing Harvin into pads just to immediately compensate. Russell Wilson is going to do just fine with Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Zach Miller, and, when he returns, Harvin.
What Rice brought to the table was some length and a veteran presence to the receiving corps. But since he was neutralized for most of the first eight games, his loss doesn’t create a gaping hole in the Seattle offense. In fact, no one even knows whether Rice will be in blue and neon green next year. Rice is near the final year of his contract, and he’s had injury issues in the past. Harvin is definitely in the Hawks’ future, and Golden Tate is solidifying himself as a dependable number two receiver, with Doug Baldwin a solid slot man as well as a favorite target of Wilson’s.
Rice is not an integral part of this offense. The Seahawks are a run-first team, anyway. The passing game comes second. However, a veteran receiver is very valuable to a young quarterback like Wilson. For the first few weeks without Rice, especially if Harvin isn’t back, his absence will be felt.
With Rice gone and Harvin not quite back, look for Jermaine Kearse to especially get more targets. Kearse knows he’s got an opportunity to show Darrell Bevell that he deserves a role in this offense. If he can step up and make some plays as the number three receiver lining up in the slot, he could convince the Seattle front office that Rice isn’t needed next year, and that he can be the number four man behind Harvin, Tate, and Baldwin.
Bottom line, this injury will be felt as Harvin remains unavailable and the other younger receivers step up, but after a week or so, especially once Harvin comes back, the offense will be more than compensating for the loss of Sidney Rice.
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