Gee Scott: Christine Michael is the Seahawks’ best running back

Sep 22, 2016, 11:13 AM | Updated: 11:36 am
Through the first two games, Christine Michael has far outperformed Thomas Rawls in Seattle's backf...
Through the first two games, Christine Michael has far outperformed Thomas Rawls in Seattle's backfield. (AP)

The Seahawks’ running back situation was one of the main story-lines all offseason. Marshawn Lynch retired, Thomas Rawls was recovering from a major ankle injury after a surprising rookie season, Seattle drafted three potential replacements and Christine Michael stood out during the preseason.

Two games into the season, the backfield is no less muddled, but 710 ESPN Seattle’s Gee Scott told “John Clayton” that he think he knows who is the team’s best running back.

“With all due respect to Thomas Rawls, the Seahawks’ best running back is Christine Michael,” Scott said. “Period, point blank.”

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In the limited snapshot of the season so far, the stats support that assessment. Splitting carries behind a struggling offensive line, neither back has topped 70 yards rushing in either game, but Michael leads Rawls in total rushing yards (126 on 25 attempts to 25 on 19 attempts), and yards per carry (5.0 to 1.3).

Zac Brooks was cut before the season started and the two remaining rookies running backs, Alex Collins and C.J. Prosise, have seen limited opportunities. Collins was inactive for the opener and gained zero yards in his two rushing attempts Sunday. Prosise lost yardage on his one attempt in the opener, though he showed his skills as a receiver, catching one pass for 13 yards against Miami. He didn’t play Sunday due to a hand injury.

Despite three years of inconsistency, Michael has the top pedigree of the bunch as a former second-round pick who is one of the best athletes on the team. As Danny O’Neil noted, the major hurdle for Michael in the past has primarily been mental. He’s also had issues with fumbling, which he did in Sunday’s loss to the Rams.

Nonetheless, Scott said Rawls has not yet shown enough to prove he is the team’s back of the future.

“We are going to find out if Thomas Rawls is going to come back to the back that we saw that he was the first 12 games of the season, but that’s the thing about the NFL, it can happen just like that,” Scott said. “You can be great one minute and there’s a possibility you’re not great the next. So sometimes you just have to wait and see. You don’t count the past when you’re talking about future games.”

While Scott and other Seahawks fans might be hyper-focused on the team’s lack of a true lead back, Clayton took a broader perspective, noting that Seattle’s backfield is in better shape than those of most other teams.

Clayton noted that there were eight relatively big-name running backs injured over the weekend, which will put a major kink in their respective team’s plans. That includes Detroit’s Ameer Abdullah and San Diego’s Danny Woodhead, who are done for the season; Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, who will be out until at least the playoffs after suffering another knee injury; as well as Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin, Miami’s Arian Foster and Carolina’s Jonathan Stewart, who are each expected to miss time.

“Seahawks fans are going to be worried about the Seahawks but what you don’t take into perspective is … they have three options, and C.J. Prosise is a fourth option,” he said. “… There’s problems on other teams and some are more severe than this.”

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