As it is, his impending return — whether this week or after the bye — won’t add much to the offense. Not immediately anyway.
But, if the Seahawks can get to the point where Wilson has time to throw some deep balls, Richardson and Tyler Lockett should offer a great deep duo.
Richardson, the second-round pick in 2014, had come on strong late in his rookie season and the team really missed him after he got hurt in the divisional playoff win over Carolina. He would have helped Wilson immensely in the NFC title game and Super Bowl — games where Jermaine Kearse almost completely disappeared.
“If you guys remember, Paul was really starting to come on late in the year,” Pete Carroll said Monday. “He was catching a lot of passes and kind of intricate route things that we were doing with him — advanced stuff, timing things that we were really counting on him, and he was getting in and out of his breaks beautifully. So we really started to go to him late in the season. So it was a great sign and it was unfortunate that he got banged up.”
The Hawks haven’t missed Richardson this season because they have been too busy trying to figure out how to use Jimmy Graham. And Richardson’s absence has allowed Lockett to become the No. 3 receiver — the rookie third-round pick has become a contributor more quickly than Richardson did last year.
Now, with the Richardson primed to return and contribute again, it will be interesting to see how Darrell Bevell works Richardson in. By the end of the season, P-Rich should be the No. 4 receiver, bumping Ricardo Lockette to the sideline.
If Bevell doesn’t just throw a bunch of bubble screens and actually uses the downfield ability of speedsters Lockett and Richardson, Wilson will have some awesome weapons by the time the playoffs arrive. Of course, that assumes Seattle’s pass protection improves. That all remains to be seen.
If Seattle does what it should next offseason and puts all of its resources (draft picks, spare cap space, whatever) into improving the offensive line, the franchise could finally have a well-rounded offense in 2016.
Graham, Lockett, Richardson and Doug Baldwin will be a great quartet (the Seahawks aren’t going to pay Kearse, who probably will find a deal somewhere).
For now, the Seahawks will just try to work Richardson back into the action.
“I don’t know where we’re going to pick up from there,” Carroll said. “We’re just going to wait and see. … But we’re hopeful he’ll be a real big factor for us when we can get him back in there, and we’ll just fit him in.”