While there was a lot of interesting stuff said at the Seahawks’ Town Hall last night, what got the most attention nationally was the comment of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell that the team may go with more of a tailback-by-committee approach in 2014.
NFL.com even said he “raised the specter” of it, apparently implying it would be a bad thing for the Seahawks.
I don’t see the Seahawks thinking it would be a negative, though, if they went that route.
Instead, as Bevell indicated, the reason would be to get more playing time for second-year running back Christine Michael.
That’s something that is no surprise as the Seahawks have been suggesting for a while now that Michael will get more carries in 2014. And right now, Michael and Robert Turbin are all the coaches are seeing when they assess the tailback position with Marshawn Lynch (above) having so far not participated in OTAs.
Bevell talked pretty enthusiastically about Michael’s play, noting a couple of times his better mastery of the “details” of the game, undoubtedly a nod to things such as blocking and understanding the playbook a bit better.
So Michael’s going to play more this season — recall that he was active for 10 of 16 games last year but only got carries in three contests. It wasn’t so much finding a place for him on the gameday active roster that was the issue, but carries, with Lynch again among the NFL’s leaders in rushing attempts. Lynch had 301 carries last season, his second straight season at more than 300, after having 315 in 2013. Factor in the 285 of 2011, when he missed one game, and he has averaged just over 300 carries the last three seasons.
Bevell also made clear last night that he doesn’t necessarily see the Seahawks throwing a whole lot more in 2014, even if the weapons may be there to do so, saying they wouldn’t hit the 500-pass attempt mark — the Seahawks threw it 420 times last season compared to 509 rushing attempts.
The breakdown of those attempts for the four leading rushers last year looked like this:
Russell Wilson, 96
So what would a by-committee approach mean? Lynch at 250 and Michael/Turbin at 150 or so? An even 200/200 split?
My hunch is that if Lynch is healthy and still as productive as he’s been the past three years that it will be hard to take him off the field a ton. The Seahawks lead with their running game as much as any team in the NFL, and Lynch has been the key to that approach the last three seasons as the Seahawks have risen from obscurity to Super Bowl champs.
The Seahawks have a unique opportunity to put themselves into rarefied NFL air by repeating as Super Bowl champs this season. While they need to prepare for a possible Lynch-less future that could begin as early as 2015, given his $9 million cap hit for that season, the Seahawks won’t do that at the expense of accomplishing the ultimate goal. And that’ll be the balancing act that figures to determine exactly how much of a by-committee approach the Seahawks ultimately put in place.
Now, a few other links. …
— Pete Carroll’s comment about loving to beat Jim Harbaugh also got lots of attention, such as this from NFL.com.
— You can watch the Town Hall again here.
— ESPN.com’s Terry Blount says Wilson’s $20 million a year is coming.
— Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus wrote in an ESPN Insider piece that the Seahawks still have the best roster in the NFL.
Wrote Monson of the Seahawks:
“It is no surprise that the defending Super Bowl champions top this list. The defense is stacked with arguably the best corner and safety in the game in Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, who lead a fearsome secondary. The pair is helped out by a formidable group of pass-rushers up front and a solid linebacker corps.
The offense can’t quite match the standard set by the D, but Marshawn Lynch heads a loaded backfield and the receiving corps has plenty of depth, if no elite standout. Russell Wilson is a quality starter, and Tarvaris Jackson is a capable backup while Terrelle Pryor provides an interesting X factor to the depth at the position. The only slight weak spot to the team is on the offensive line, but the Seahawks are perfectly set up to mitigate that negative. As if things weren’t good enough, the Seahawks also have comfortably the league’s best special teams units with Jeremy Lane the pick of the bunch.”
— The Madden cover voting ends tomorrow.
— Carolina coach Ron Rivera, an apparent believer in the Madden Curse, is voting for Richard Sherman instead of his quarterback, Cam Newton.
— Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com puts Byron Maxwell atop his list of breakout players for 2014.
— You can see rookie cards here of Paul Richardson as well as former Huskies Bishop Sankey and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.