The ankle and knee injuries that bothered Russell Wilson in 2016 are no longer impediments to the quarterback or the Seattle Seahawks’ offense.

Doug Baldwin, a veteran receiver for the Seahawks, has seen that first-hand through the preseason.

‘We were ineffective in the run game with him because he wasn’t healthy’

He expects Wilson to go back to making as much impact with his legs as he will with his passing arm. And Wilson’s contribution to the Seahawks’ running game is where Baldwin believes the biggest difference in his performance from 2016 will show up.

“It wasn’t so much his scrambling to throw the ball down the field,” Baldwin told Bruce Murray and Brad Hopkins on the SiriusXM Blitz. “He still had a little bit of that. He was still able to be elusive and get the ball down the field when he needed to, but I think where it really hurt us was we were ineffective in the run game with him because he wasn’t healthy. So that really inhibited our ability to do anything on offense. When we needed to run the ball with the running back and the quarterback and use that dynamic that we’ve been really good at, we haven’t been able to do it.

‘I think you’ll see a Russell Wilson you’ve already seen in the preseason’

“That inhibited our offense from being as effective as we know we can be, so we’re getting back to that now. And I think that you’ll see a Russell Wilson you’ve already seen in the preseason that’s still very elusive, still very fast and can be a huge part of our run game, and that, in turn, helps the rest of our offense be effective.”

Baldwin also believes Wilson has done a good job of blocking out the criticism he heard about his performance last season.

‘He’s really had to mature in a number of different ways’

“It doesn’t affect him emotionally,” he said. “And I think this year he’s really had to mature in a number of different ways. And it’s made his game on the field a lot more crisp and a lot more effective and efficient. And I think, generally, what it comes down to is he’s had to make his world smaller. He’s married, he’s got a baby now. It really puts things into perspective, into focus, and he has things that really need his attention and his focus.

“And he can’t spend and waste his energy on things that aren’t important, so I think that that’s really what’s helpful to elevate his game.”

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