Christine Michael or Bryce Brown? Pete Carroll says Seahawks will ride the hot hand at running back

Dec 26, 2015, 4:48 PM | Updated: 7:54 pm
Bryce Brown had 43 yards in last week’s win over Cleveland, second on the Seahawks to Christi...
Bryce Brown had 43 yards in last week's win over Cleveland, second on the Seahawks to Christine Michael. (AP)
(AP)

RENTON – Seahawks coach Pete Carroll insists there is no predetermination as to whether Christine Michael or Bryce Brown will shoulder the majority of the workload at running back Sunday against St. Louis.

The Seahawks will instead ride the hot hand like they did last week, and while that doesn’t give any clarity to fantasy football players trying to decide which player to start, Carroll believes it’s a tried-and-true approach that’s ideal for a real-life team playing an actual football game.

“We’ve been doing this for a long, long time that way,” Carroll said. “If you’ve got some options, then let the guys play and see what happens. It’s funny how sometimes it just works out and surprises you that it goes different than what you would think. I think it’s a plus for us at this point to have the flexibility.”

Carroll mentioned that fullback Derrick Coleman is also an option at tailback, but considering how much more effective both Michael and Brown were last week, they would seem to be in line for the most carries. Coleman started against Cleveland, carrying five times for 10 yards. Michael led Seattle with 84 yards on 16 carries while Brown added 43 yards on nine attempts.

With Thomas Rawls on injured reserve and Marshawn Lynch out indefinitely as he continues to recover from abdominal surgery, it could be Michael and Brown sharing carries until Lynch returns or one of them emerges as the primary option.

“They kind of got over the hump last week, and so we’re just getting ready to play football with them right now,” Carroll said. “Both guys are really on it. They feel good, they’re excited about the opportunity again.”

Here are three more things to watch for Sunday:

Who starts at right cornerback? DeShawn Shead is available after missing most of last week’s game with an ankle injury, but Jeremy Lane has played well the last two weeks while stepping in at right cornerback in his absence. Moving Lane outside would mean inserting Marcus Burley at nickelback. Seattle would presumably feel more comfortable doing that given how he’s has played recently, including last week when he had an interception and a sack. “Marcus has done a good job for us too, coming off a really big game last week. So we just feel that we have some flexibility,” Carroll said. “So as we get prepared through the weeks, we’ll look at the matchups and make some decisions and kind of unveil that on game time.”

Kasen Williams’ debut. Former Washington wide receiver Kasen Williams was promoted from Seattle’s practice squad on Saturday and could make his NFL debut. His role on Sunday will likely depend on how much – if at all – Doug Baldwin is able to play. Baldwin is listed as questionable due to a hamstring injury, which means Williams could be a part of a wide-receiver rotation that has only three other healthy bodies at the moment. One thing to watch with Williams is how much and how well he plays on special teams, which is a must for any receiver on the bottom end of a depth chart.

Special-teams trickery. The Rams have burned Seattle with a few successful trick plays on special teams the last few years. In 2012 it was a fake field goal that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown pass from the holder to a wide receiver who had inconspicuously lined up uncovered near St. Louis’ sideline. Last year, St. Louis returned a punt for a touchdown after diverting the attention of almost everyone one Seattle’s coverage unit to the other side of the field. Later in the same game, the Rams converted a fake punt to seal their victory. That play came with St. Louis at its own 18-yard line and with just under 3 minutes left in a two-point game, which showed just how bold the Rams can be with their special-teams trickery.

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Christine Michael or Bryce Brown? Pete Carroll says Seahawks will ride the hot hand at running back