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Bevell: Seahawks will use ‘running back by committee’

With Marshawn Lynch racking up the miles on his odometer and a pair of backups waiting in the wings, there’s been some question as to whether the Seahawks will begin employing a backfield timeshare in 2014.

“We really like what Christine Michael is doing right now,” says Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

According to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, they will.

“We’re going to be a running back by committee,” Bevell said Wednesday during a question-and-answer session with Seahawks fans.

Splitting carries has become the norm in today’s NFL, which makes what Lynch has done over the past three seasons as Seattle’s primary ball carrier even more impressive. He topped 1,200 yards rushing for the third straight season in 2013 and was one of only two running backs who carried more than 300 times.

While there’s been no indication that a precipitous decline is on the horizon, history shows that running backs’ production wanes beginning after the age of 27. Lynch turned 28 earlier this offseason.

His absence from voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) has given the Seahawks a chance to get extended looks at Robert Turbin as well as Christine Michael, a second-round pick in 2013 who played in only four games as a rookie. Michael has been one of the standouts during the two OTAs that have been open to the media, showing the athleticism that led the Seahawks to draft him with their first pick in 2013 despite not having any immediate need at the position.

“He’s just a million miles ahead of where he was in terms of understanding what we want scheme wise, pass-protection wise, route wise, and we know he’s a natural runner,” coach Carroll said last week. “He’s got explosive talent and we just want to get him fit in.”

Bevell noted Lynch’s absence when asked about Michael on Wednesday.

“We need to see what’s going on with Marshawn,” Bevell said. “Obviously he hasn’t been here for the OTAs but we fully expect him to be ready to go.”

He then used the opportunity to praise Michael for the strides he’s made from his rookie season, particularly in the one area in which the team has said he needs to improve the most: pass protection.

“But we really like what Christine Michael is doing right now,” Bevell said. “As I said earlier, the quickness, the speed, the toughness that he’s showing. But really what I like more than even the physical stuff is how he’s really paying attention to the details. He’s starting to do a nice job of that, focusing on his footwork, focusing on the protections.”

Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.