With NFL free agency beginning this week and seven-time Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson one of the biggest names available, it’s understandable that significant buzz kicked up when rumors started linking him to the Seattle Seahawks.
Would adding Peterson be the kind of addition that puts the Seahawks back in the Super Bowl picture? Gee Scott of 710 ESPN Seattle isn’t buying into it.
While Peterson would give the Seahawks’ backfield a proven veteran presence it lacked in 2016, Scott thinks the pros are outweighed by the cons for Seattle should it sign the 2012 league MVP.
“It would be a make-or-break situation,” Scott said on his show Tuesday night. “Bringing Adrian Peterson in for this team, I believe, would be the equivalent of going all-in at the poker table. … This would be a gamble like, you know, this is the missing piece. If you bring him in and he’s not the guy, now what are you going to do?”
There’s reason to believe he isn’t the missing piece that eluded the Seahawks for much of last season after the retirement of Marshawn Lynch, too. For one, as 710 ESPN Seattle producer Curtis Rogers pointed out, Peterson doesn’t have much experience playing in an offense like Seattle’s. And while Lynch didn’t either before coming to Seattle from Buffalo, the difference was that Lynch was 24 when he joined the Seahawks, eight years younger than Peterson is now.
“Adrian Peterson runs out of the backfield – I formation,” Rogers said. “And you’re gonna bring in a guy who’s 32 years old, who’s only known one way to run the football, and you’re gonna try and teach him an entirely different scheme? It’s gonna be really tough to see success with that on your team.”
The stats bear that out. According to this article by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert, nearly 95 percent of Peterson’s career carries have come when the quarterback was under center, while he has only 132 attempts ever out of a shotgun formation. Not only that, he’s performed noticeably better carrying the ball behind a lead blocker (4.91 yards per carry), like in the I, than as a single back (4.61 yards), which would be the case out of the shotgun.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks put a lot of emphasis last year on building a new corps of running backs that fit their system, adding three RBs in the 2016 NFL Draft behind Thomas Rawls, who broke out as an undrafted free agent filling in for much of 2015 when Lynch was plagued by injuries. Scott doesn’t see much benefit in deviating away from the development of those players by giving the lion’s share of carries to a player who will be on the roster for one or two years.
“Remember, you drafted three running backs last year in the draft. So you’ve already kinda made an investment,” Scott said. “You’ve got Alex Collins, who was a rookie, who I think is gonna be an alright back, and we’re gonna wait and see with C.J. Prosise. The quick fixes, that’s not what this team is about. I don’t think the Seahawks are that far away. You saw where they finished last season, losing to the Atlanta Falcons (in the NFC divisional playoff round). Bringing (Peterson) in would not be a good thing.”
Scott is confident the Seahawks already have the missing piece on the team, saying people have been too quick to write off Rawls after he was slowed by a pair of injuries himself last year – especially considering he ran for a Seahawks playoff record 161 yards in a playoff win over the Detroit Lions.
“Have you guys given up on Thomas Rawls? Because I just for some reason don’t see the same excitement as before, and I don’t know why,” Scott said. “Not only did he come back from the ankle injury, he came back from the leg injury to start the season and he still came back and was kinda productive. Towards the very end of the season and in the playoffs, he looked really good. As a matter of fact, he broke Marshawn Lynch’s playoff rushing record. I don’t understand how that excitement doesn’t go into next season.”