to have spent eight years in the NFL and to have established himself as one of the better players on several elite teams.He also knows he's fortunate to have gotten this far without having a season defined by obvious injuries affecting his play 鈥?until this year."I was talking to some friends about it the other day in the league and it feels like every player who is fortunate enough to play a long time in the NFL has a year like this where they cannot knock the injury bug Seahawks Quinton Jefferson Jersey ," Baldwin said. "It's just part of the game, part of the lifestyle."The Seattle Seahawks haven't gotten the production this year that they have come to expect from a player who has been their top receiver for most of his career since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He has just 41 catches for 465 yards and four touchdowns entering Sunday night's game against Kansas City.Those are decent numbers but not up to Baldwin's standard. Baldwin hasn't had fewer than 66 receptions in the past four seasons. The fact injuries are the main reason he's struggled this season makes it even more frustrating."It's been pretty difficult. Really difficult," Baldwin said.Baldwin hasn't gone through a year like this with injuries since early in his career.It started in training camp with a knee problem that forced him to the sideline for most of the preseason. When he returned for Week 1 against Denver, he almost immediately suffered an injury to his other knee when he was tackled awkwardly. He missed two games and ultimately had other problems that have hung over his season."I think the knee was the trigger for everything," he said.For the past six weeks, it's been either a groin or hip injury that has slowed Baldwin. He missed Seattle's win two weeks ago against Minnesota during which Russell Wilson threw for a career-worst 72 yards, in part because the Vikings didn't have to worry about Baldwin being on the field.Six days later with Baldwin again healthy enough to play, he caught two touchdowns in a 26-23 loss to San Francisco."That was great to see him have a big game and look so effective for us," coach Pete Carroll said. "It's just been frustrating for him. He just has not been able to get it going with the consistency he knows he can do and we know he can do, so it's a big deal. You can see he and Russ were really hooking up and made some great plays (against San Francisco) 鈥?crucial third downs and big plays and all that. It's good to have him back in action."The hip problem popped up two days before the Seahawks played San Francisco in Week 13. He was still able to play that week against the 49ers, but needed a week off to recover. He's spent seemingly as much time in the training room as on the practice field.The injury issues have raised questions about his future, how much longer he wants to play and whether that future will be with the Seahawks. He's 30 and is signed with Seattle through the 2020 season. But his salary cap hit is more than $13 million in each of the next two seasons."If you know me I have a plan for everything. There is a method for the madness," Baldwin said.For now, he's enjoying being on the verge of clinching a playoff berth and believes the style of play Seattle has employed this season can make the Seahawks dangerous in the postseason."I think a lot of us are getting healthy at the right time. We're coming into our own at the right time and I'm really looking forward to obviously securing our playoff berth first but then getting into the tournament and being able to show what we're capable of against playoff-level talent. I'm really excited about our chances," Baldwin said.Mirage or Oasis? Projecting the rest of the Seattle Seahawks’ 2018 season Sunday afternoon saw the Seattle Seahawks crawling out of the NFC West basement by (finally) winning a game, toppling the Dallas Cowboys 24-13 at CenturyLink Field. On the face of it, an 11-point win at home Youth Ethan Pocic Jersey , with a 100-yard rusher and a +3 turnover differential might make you think that the team has officially turned the corner. I’m here to pour a tiny bit of cold water on that notion.Even Pete Carroll couldn’t help himself post-game when he talked about playing the game they wanted to, particularly with running the ball and controlling field position via the punting game. The thing is, though...The running game was bad, it was inefficient, wasteful at times and ill-advised.Using data from Warren Sharp’s Sharp Box Score, we see that the Seahawks ran a whopping17 times on 1st down alone for a grand total of 39 yards, which comes out to 2.3YPC and 41% Success Rate. Both of those metrics, YPC and Success Rate were below league averages of 4.2 YPC and 44% respectively in 2017. While running on 1st down is generally inefficient, the Seahawks were more inefficient than usual and yet committed to doing so on a horrifying 68% of their first downs. It’s one thing to commit to a philosophy, it’s another to stick to a philosophy that regularly puts you behind the sticks when you know you’re either bad at it or doing it far too often.The Seahawks are again being far too conservative on 4th down. Right after intercepting Dak Prescott (and having a huge return wiped off the board), the Seahawks had a three-play drive for six yards ending with a drop by Brandon Marshall. The ball was on the Dallas 45-yard line, the Dallas defense hadn’t exactly looked great to that point, and the Seahawks defense has looked shaky for the previous two weeks. Rather than go for it on 4th down, the Seahawks punted 38 yards (dragging Michael Dickson’s average punt yardage down). Assuming even a league-average chance of making the 1st down, the Seahawks stood to benefit more by going for it than had they punted. Work done ages ago by Brian Burke and Kevin Quealy shows how NFL coaches continued to leave points on the field by being too conservative on 4th down.The pass rush finally showed upThe defense got pressure on Sunday in ways they didn’t over the previous two weeks, with 10 QB hits of Dak Prescott, 5 of which were sacks Youth Rashaad Penny Jersey , and a pair of interceptions courtesy of Earl Thomas (Tongue in cheek: “Pay the man!”). The reason for cautious optimism here is three-fold. First, the Dallas receivers are legitimately bad, generating little separation at the line of scrimmage or late in routes. Secondly, the offense has been described as remedial in some circles, even garnering stinging criticism from former Cowboy WR Dez Bryant and is the butt of a great many jokes on Twitter. Most importantly however is the situation on their offensive line. Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick is out indefinitely with Guillain-Barr茅 syndrome, rookie second-rounder Connor Williams has been struggling mightily at guard, and La’el Collins is doing his best Germain Ifedi impression at right tackle. With those things in mind it’s hard to get too excited by the performance. We’ll have to wait until the Los Angeles Rams home game in two weeks before we can draw any solid conclusions about their effectiveness, or lack thereof.After reading this, you might be thinking that I’m completely down on the Seahawks, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. I like Chris Carson as a player even if I think the Seahawks are using him poorly (give him the ball in the air).I happen to think that Russell Wilson, when he’s on his game, is a great player and he showed some of that on Sunday with a number of decisive throws into really tight coverage, including the TD to Tyler Lockett.Mostly though it comes down to schedule. The Arizona Cardinals are bad, the San Francisco 49ers just lost their franchise QB Jimmy Garoppolo for the season and the Oakland Raiders are a dumpster fire, courtesy of Jon Gruden. That makes for five very winnable games this season, even if everything else is a complete toss-up.There are definite bright spots looking forward but it’s still impossible to say if they’re a mirage or the real deal.