Seahawks would benefit from diversifying their ground game

Oct 3, 2014, 11:51 AM | Updated: 12:31 pm

Marshawn Lynch has 52 carries through three games compared to 10 for Robert Turbin and none for Christine Michael, who has yet to be active. (AP)


The Seahawks came out of an early bye week and are headed to Washington, D.C. for a Monday night game with precious few questions to answer regarding health or depth.

Aside from tight end Zach Miller and safety Kam Chancellor, who are both dealing with ankle injuries, the Seahawks are healthy and productive. In fact, the only question that I have is actually a result of the health and depth of Seattle’s roster:

Who else is going to run the ball?

Marshawn Lynch is the bell cow in the Seahawks’ rushing attack, but with the return of Christine Michael and the production that Robert Turbin has flashed – albeit in limited action – this would be a good time for Seattle to diversify its ground game. With the early bye the Seahawks will now have to go 13 straight weeks in an increasingly difficult schedule, and monitoring the wear and tear on Lynch has to be a concern. No. 24 has to be ready to go when the postseason begins, and any lingering effects of a long run could hurt Seattle’s chances.

There’s also the fact that quarterback Russell Wilson is Seattle’s second leading rusher by attempts and yards. Only one other team with a top-12 running back lists its quarterback as the second leading rusher: San Francisco. Wilson is an incredibly sharp player and doesn’t put himself in the path of big hits often, but more attempts means more opportunities for injury. Finding another back to handle carries would help in that regard.

The final part of this running-back equation is that both Turbin and Michael should be pushing Lynch for time in the backfield at this point. Everyone knows the force of nature that Lynch is, but it’s fair to ask why the other two aren’t bringing something to the table that forces them into the gameplan.

Coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell have proven very adept at folding new talent into the scheme and putting players in the best position to make plays. An experienced back like Turbin should have something to offer that gets him looks aside from the occasional blow for Lynch, but he has only 10 carries through three games.

Michael is even more perplexing as he was regarded highly enough to warrant a second-round pick and he has shown in practice and preseason games the speed and elusiveness that earned him that spot. Seahawks coaches claim that Michael has beaten back the maturity issues that kept him from getting on the field as a rookie, that he’s now healthy and ready to go, yet he hasn’t been able to crack the game-day roster. Michael’s contributions to the team mean even more when considered against the fact that the Seahawks have to know what kind of player he is not just this year but moving forward.

The Seahawks leave the bye week in relative health and with a trio of running backs that need to produce while Seattle navigates the rest of the schedule. From spelling Lynch to keeping Wilson out of harm’s way to providing defensive coordinators with sleepless nights, there are plenty of reasons to see what these guys can do in the next 13 weeks.

If all goes well, this will prove to be an embarrassment of riches and the only question in the months to come will be what Seattle does with only one ball and all these backs.

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Seahawks would benefit from diversifying their ground game