The Seattle Seahawks are undergoing all kinds of changes in their passing game, starting with the Russell Wilson trade to Denver that leaves a quarterback competition between Drew Lock and Geno Smith. Not all that compelling, but at least whoever does start for Seattle at the game’s most important position will have the benefit of two exemplary receivers — the serially underrated Tyler Lockett, and size/speed matchup nightmare D.K. Metcalf.
During his Tuesday minicamp media availability, Seahawks passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal gave some interesting examples of what makes Metcalf specifically great.
“I’ve told people he’s the best receiver I’ve ever been around that took the techniques from practice into the game,” Lal said. “If we ran a stutter-hinge versus Patrick Peterson, how it looked and walked through, how it looked in an individual period, how it looked in team is exactly how it looked against Arizona. You can look at the tape. I’ve actually made cut-ups of, here’s how he did it here, and here’s how it looked in the game.”
Here’s how it looked when the Seahawks faced the Vikings in Week 3 of the 2021 season. The stutter-hinge is a route where Metcalf pushes a vertical look, gives the cornerback a double move, and then, looks to come back at the end of the route to present a favorable picture to the quarterback.
The next example Lal brought up was a 19-yard reception against the Patriots in Week 2 of the 2020 season, when Metcalf was facing Stephon Gilmore at a time when Gilmore was arguably the NFL’s best cornerback.
Lal didn’t mention this vicious whip route that left Peterson, a future Hall of Famer, out of the picture, but it’s worth reviewing.
Remember, folks: DK Metcalf can't run routes. pic.twitter.com/sa6t5D2Sq3
— Doug Farrar ✍ (@NFL_DougFarrar) June 15, 2022
The next route Lal mentioned was against cornerback Stephon Gilmore, then of the Patriots, in Week 2 of the 2020 season.
“The Stephon Gilmore ‘V’ route, [the] pylon route that he caught, we’ve got walkthrough reps of him running it exactly like that. He had to get a yard inside the hash. He had to get his eyes back for a count, otherwise Stephon would not undercut him. It’s very rare for a receiver under duress, under the lights to go do that in a game and he did it perfectly.
You watch the clip, as soon as he touches the hash, his eyes come back inside, Steph goes underneath, and he puts his foot in the ground and goes over the top. Had it been one yard off, that play wouldn’t have worked. Even with all that precision, it was still a bang, bang play downfield. So he’s the best I’ve seen at that.”
The myth with Metcalf has always been that he’s a rudimentary route-runner — a canard that was easy to blow off from his first days in the NFL.
Metcalf is now looking for a second contract that will pay him in line with his abilities. If the Seahawks are to make the most of an uncertain quarterback situation, getting something done with Metcalf — who’s in the final year of his rookie deal — would seem to be Job One.
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