DANNY ONEIL

Seahawks RB Alex Collins makes strong impression in mock game

Aug 7, 2016, 6:19 PM | Updated: Aug 8, 2016, 12:45 pm

RENTON – Thomas Rawls was added to the Seahawks’ active roster on Sunday but didn’t do anything more than catch a few passes and never donned a helmet.

That left Seattle’s backfield wide open for rookie Alex Collins, who stole the show during a mock game in which the Seahawks played at full tempo, though not quite full contact. Coaches instructed defenders not to wrap up or tackle their opponents. Collins scored two touchdowns, and even more notably, caught a pass that gained more than 50 yards on a scramble drill.

“It was a big day for Alex to get the shot,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We’ll be getting a little healthier coming back Tuesday so it will look a little different to us.”

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That starts with Rawls, who is coming back from the season-ending ankle injury he suffered in Baltimore last December. He was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list to begin training camp but has now passed his physical and is active and eligible to practice.

C.J. Prosise and Zac Brooks – the two other running backs from Seattle’s 2016 draft – were out with strained hamstrings. Brooks is expected back Tuesday; Prosise may not return to the field until Aug. 15. Christine Michael has received the majority of the work with the first-unit offense, but he was ill Sunday.

And though Rawls is back on the roster, he wasn’t so much as wearing a helmet during Sunday’s workout. The left the stage wide open for Collins.

“The more I can stay healthy,” Collins said, “it just benefits me as far as getting out there and getting active and seeing it. And that’s what we need because there’s only so much you can do in the film room as far as studying and everything else. When you’re out there, it really shows how much you know and how much you need to work on. Being out there and getting all the reps that I can, it really shows me what I can focus on as far as, like, if I need to learn more in the passing game or if I need to work on my cut moves or whatever it is.”

Well, the passing game looked pretty good for Collins on Sunday. In the first half, he turned his route into the flat upfield after quarterback Russell Wilson escaped the pocket.

“We went into scramble mode,” Collins said, “so I just immediately went deep because he started to scramble my way. He just threw it up there and gave me a chance, and I was able to get underneath it and catch it.”

His day wasn’t done. Not by a long shot. He ran into the end zone twice and then spent nearly an hour signing autographs for fans after practice. He was the last player to leave the field, showing off a pair of ink-stained hands as proof of working overtime.

The only question on Collins’ day came early in the mock game when he lost control of the ball after going down at the line of scrimmage. The defense was awarded a fumble recovery on the play.

“I ran through the hole,” Collins said. “I tripped up on some knees, the offense and defense collided and I got stuck in there and then fell forward and I fell on the ball. And it just kind of popped out from there.”

So he was down?

“For sure,” Collins responded, smiling.

Carroll said he would want to see another look at that.

“The play looked like it was over,” the coach said.

Collins had a tendency to fumble early in his career at Arkansas, but that has not been an issue since being drafted.

“He’s done great,” Carroll said. “That’s the first time the ball has come out. He has done a really good job and he has been very secure.”

Now we’ll see if Collins can hold onto a spot in the backfield with Rawls returning and Seattle poised to get healthier at running back.

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