The Seahawks have been very good with their special teams this season, they're ranked in the top 5 of the NFL. Their punt coverage this season has been outstanding, and they were close to setting a record for fewest punt return yards given up in a season until they gave up a 32-yard return against the Rams in the final week of the regular season.
One big reason the Seahawks have been so good is their gunners Jeremy Lane and Ricardo Lockette. The two are always the first ones down the field on punt coverage, and they often leave returners with no other option other than to call a fair catch.
While Lane has received Pro Bowl consideration, Lockette, a former division 2 track champion, has made a name for himself as a premiere Seahawks special team player, especially in the past month.
After bouncing around the NFL with several teams, Lockette - originally signed by the Seahawks in 2011 - ended up back in Seattle this season. It was then that he embraced his role on special teams.
"When I first came in I wanted to be the star receiver, but I had to learn a lot and I am working my way up through special teams," Lockette said.
He's earned a spot on the roster in large part because of his speed. "The Rocket" isn't just a nickname. "I feel like no one on the field can run with me step-for-step," he said. "And if you are that fast and can run with me step-for-step, you're the punt returner and I don't want you to get started running and therefore I take my shot before you even get moving."
Lockette has had a major impact over the past month. There was a blistering hit on Justin Veltung of the Rams in December, then there was the hit on Lockette's good friend Lamichael James of the 49ers in the NFC Championship game.
That hit knocked James out of the game for a bit and Lockette was crossed off his buddy's Christmas card list.
"Lamichael is one of my close personal friends," Lockette said. "He texted me the day before the game and said, 'Hey Lock, I'm gonna return it but don't hit me.' I was like okay, I'm not gonna hit you."
Lockette is hoping to make an impact on this years' Super Bowl with his play. Last season he was with the 49ers, but he didn't get a chance to play against the Ravens in Super Bowl 47.
"One of the worst things is getting to a point in your career where your goal is right in front of you and it's taken away," Lockette said. "I was on the sideline and felt there was something I could do to help us win. I felt we lost that Super Bowl because of something I didn't do, and I didn't want to let that happen again. I am blessed enough to have the opportunity to go 2 years in a row, so this year I'm going to do everything I can and everybody on the team is going to give it their all to bring this Super Bowl back to Seattle."
And Lockette has had plenty of time to think about how the Super Bowl would end if he could script the ending. He said, "Game tied, fourth quarter, punt the ball, he tries to catch it and fumbles on the 3. I dive into the end zone, touchdown! Seahawks win the Super Bowl!"