“The sense of urgency kind of wavered into the realm of frustration,” Baldwin said. “We were frustrated that we weren’t as successful as we know we can be. We weren’t dominating games. We weren’t consistent offensively. Honestly, I was frustrated throughout the course of the year.”
The Seahawks won the NFC West but failed to advance past the divisional round for the second straight year. Baldwin did his part, finishing with a career-high 94 catches and 1,128 yards. But the Seahawks were never able to find consistency offensively, and the defense fell apart after Earl Thomas went out with an injury.
Baldwin realizes the Seahawks’ window for winning another Super Bowl will not stay open forever, and he said that sense led to some of the volatility surrounding the team in 2016.
Richard Sherman had dust-ups on the sidelines with members of the coaching staff on multiple occasions. One involved defensive coordinator Kris Richard, and the other was with Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell after the team tried a passing play from the Los Angeles Rams‘ 1-yard line during a game in December.
Baldwin and Sherman have been teammates going back to Stanford, and Baldwin shared his thoughts on the cornerback’s outbursts.
“I say that Sherm’s greatest asset can also be his greatest weakness,” Baldwin said. “He’s very smart. And sometimes he thinks he’s smarter than he is. And I have no issues, qualms saying that, because I’ll say that to his face. I love him to death because at times he is very considerate and very thoughtful, but other times he lets his pride get in the way. But that pride is the same thing that’s propelled him to be the greatest corner in our game today.”
Baldwin added that some of the altercations are a result of the culture Carroll has created — one built on competition and emotion.
The team thrives when it feels like it’s barely holding itself together, Baldwin said.
“There’s times when it can become a distraction,” Baldwin said. “But we have guys on our team who are mature enough to know when to take it over the line and when to back off. And sometimes Sherm is the main one who does that because we get frustrated at times. As competitive as we get, we know how successful and how good we can be, and when we’re not living up to that expectation, it is frustrating.
“Sherm might say something to Pete, to John [Schneider], to myself, to [Bevell] that on the outside, it may seem negative. But because of the chemistry that we have, because of the rapport and the relationships that we have within this team, it’s not necessarily taken as a personal threat or a personal comment.
“It’s taken as, ‘Hey, I’m competing. I just want you to know that I feel like we need to go in a different direction. We need to do something different.’ And I’m not saying that it’s always positive or that it’s always expressed in the right manner. But what I’m saying is that it’s not taken as a negative thing within our locker room, within our four walls, because we have that chemistry and that rapport and that relationship, like I said.”