Late this afternoon news broke that the New York Jets acquired Percy Harvin from the Seattle Seahawks for a conditional draft pick. This could prove to be a great move for the Jets, a team that needs all the offensive help they can get. The Seahawks, on the other hand, never used Percy Harvin right and the offense suffered because of it. It’s a deal that stands to fare well for both sides.
Percy Harvin was supposed to be the last piece to the Seahawks Super Bowl puzzle. He was a non-factor all last regular season due to injury and didn’t add much in the playoffs either. Everyone may remember his kickoff return in Super Bowl 48, but the bottom line is this: the Seahawks didn’t need Percy Harvin last year, and they don’t need him this year.
Harvin was supposed to be the ultimate weapon, a total game changer. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, the only change he made was one that adversely affected an already near-perfect Seattle offense.
The Seahawks offense may be one of the most basic in the NFL, but they have it down to a nearly unstoppable science. They aren’t built to come from behind, so they perfected the art of ball control. The Seahawks want to run the ball down your throat. Simple, maybe, but when other teams can’t defend it, why mess with what works? It’s only when they get cute that they get into trouble. That’s what happened last week in their shocking loss at home to Dallas.
It started great for Seattle. A field goal and a blocked punt had them ahead 10-0 before the Cowboys even knew what hit them. Dallas stuck to their game plan and clawed their way back into it, but the Seahawks helped them along. Instead of using Lynch and milking the clock, they got pass happy. They ran eight plays after the blocked punt, including the last two give up plays of the half. That’s eight offensive plays in 22 minutes!
Sometimes coaches get out of their comfort zone. Sometimes coaches go away from the grain. Sometimes coaches get too cute. That’s what Seahawks Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell did with Percy Harvin. On opening night against Green Bay, Harvin was a force. Seattle had him line up all over the field – at wide receiver and at running back. The Packers had no idea what hit them. Harvin was beating them on end arounds and with screen passes. The Packers had no answer as Harvin carved them up in the first half. At halftime, the Packers made some adjustments, and held Harvin to under 30 yards in the second half. The Seahawks haven’t made an adjustment with Harvin since. Here are his game logs since opening night.
vs Chargers: 1 catch for 5 yards
vs Broncos: 7 catches for 42 yards
vs Redskins: 5 catches for 27 yards
vs Cowboys: 3 catches for 0 yards
Percy Harvin, one of the fastest players in the league, is averaging just 6 yards per reception. That ranks 139th in the NFL, placing him well behind receiving stalwarts Cole Beasley, Jace Amaro, Dennis Pitta, and Austin Pettis.
So this is a good move for the Seahawks. Using Percy Harvin for end arounds, WR screens, and 4 yard ins clearly does not work. Percy Harvin should be used like DeSean Jackson and hopefully this is how the Jets plan on using him.
The Redskins don’t do much right, but what they’ve done with DeSean Jackson is a rare Redskins right. Despite the sub-par quarterbacking, Jackson is having a great season. Jackson is averaging 20.8 yards per reception, and has touchdowns this season of 81, 60, and 64. He basically runs four routes – a deep fly, a deep post, a quick slant, and a long crossing route. Percy Harvin should follow his lead and do nothing but those routes.
He has the speed to burn defenders. Dial up a shot in the huddle, take a five step drop and let it rip. Either Harvin will run it down and it will be a score, or it will be an incomplete pass. When the matchup is right, a quick slant can be just as effective. Get Harvin the ball in space and let him take off. These routes do two things: 1) They minimize the hits Harvin will take. It has been well documented that Harvin isn’t the most durable. 2) He has the ball in the secondary, where beating one person could mean a touchdown. By running end arounds and handoffs, he has to beat multiple defenders. It’s not his style. It never suited him.
Used correctly, Harvin could be a big plus for the Jets. This could be a great thing for Geno Smith who could use a guy who can put up some huge numbers. Hopefully the Jets use him right.