What to Watch – Seahawk Running Game

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 By Kevin Garber

 

I know, I know, we’ve talked about it a lot on twitter, the podcast, and it has been mentioned in articles. I also am aware it has been discussed beyond the realm of From the Hawk’s Nest, but at this point one cannot sell short the importance of the running game for the Seattle Seahawks.

On drives resulting in a touchdown this season, the Seahawks have ran the ball (73 snaps) more than thrown the ball (69 snaps), and done so with a great deal of success. The Seahawks have had four players run a significant number of times this season, plus one in Christine Michael who was supposed to see a role. Degrees of success have varied, but there is little to deny the overall effectiveness.

Player ATT YDS AVG TD
M. Lynch 111 482 4.3 3
R. Wilson 44 362 8.2 3
P. Harvin 11 92 8.4 1
R. Turbin 21 81 3.9 0
C. Michael 6 17 2.8 0
  193 1034 5.4 7

A team average of 5.4 is very good, and though Lynch’s 4.3 avg puts him 24th he is still showing a lot of wiggle and the usual tackle breaking ability. Harvin is gone, but even without his sweeps the running game looks fairly healthy. Russell Wilson has bailed out a lot of plays this year with his legs, let alone what he has done on designed QB runs this year.

I understand we want to avoid running Wilson because of injury risk. In contrast, with the likelihood of Lynch not being back next year or the year after at the latest it seems questionable to continue to not run him as the season goes along. His average is weighed down by a few rough games, but as I already said he still passes the eye test with room to spare.

I think at this point Robert Turbin is who we think he is. He is a solid back to have in rotation on a team, and if we were running out a finesse back he wouldn’t be a bad change of pace. He isn’t “the guy” and really doesn’t seem to have the abilities you’d want in a feature back, but he is a solid piece to have on the roster.

In a similar situation to Lynch, but for a load of different reason is 2013 2nd round pick Christine Michael. Nobody is quite sure what to think of him since he has seen all of 24 touches in his time with the team. In theory Michael has the speed and ability to make plays in space, but it has yet to be seen if that trait followed him to the NFL. He did see a season high 4 touches last week against Carolina, but did not impact the passing game at all. It will be interesting to see his differing skill set over the next few weeks.

It’ll be interesting to see how Turbin’s use at FB effects his touches, as well as how much Michael sees the field. This week against an underwhelming Oakland squad we may see a trial run and find out a bit more about what life without Lynch would be like.

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