The Seahawks showed they can run the ball successfully yesterday — with this O-line and these running backs.
Whatever the reason — the opponent, some schematic tweaks, greater commitment to run — this was their identity reborn. Re-established.
Calais Campbell, working for the NFL Network post-game, stated:
“Seattle’s unbeatable when they get the run game going because their play action is unstoppable.”
One performance doesn’t make everything right. It does offer pause for thought though. Is it a one-off, or have they turned a corner?
This is a young offensive line, crafted for the future. Was last night a glimpse into that future? Maybe, maybe not. The challenge next week is to prove this isn’t a one-week-wonder.
Can they buy some faith as a unit?
It’s likely the Seahawks will keep adding to the O-line regardless — but the extent is open to change. Another collapse against Atlanta and perhaps they’ll feel obliged to spend free agent dollars on some proven, veteran replacements? Finish the season like they did against Detroit and they can probably justify adding extra competition via the draft and saving their cap resources for other positions (eg D-line).
At running back it feels inevitable they will add at least one more body in the off-season (if only to replace the spot vacated by Christine Michael). Thomas Rawls, infectious as he is during press conferences and a joy to listen to and root for, is arguably his own worst enemy. His penchant for physicality despite a modest frame has led to injuries.
He has Marshawn Lynch’s mindset, toughness and running style — but perhaps not his ability to absorb punishment.
When he plays like he did against Detroit — it’s clear he has an important role. It might be that his workload needs constant management. Yet when he’s on it — he can be spectacular and dynamic and everything they need. A tone setter.
C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins could be enough as a supporting cast — but do you want to risk the same problem happening again? Especially with the recent injury history of Rawls and Prosise?
Elijah Hood opting to turn pro after all was a potentially crucial piece of news this week. Slated to go somewhere in the middle rounds, Hood matches the type of running back Seattle has drafted in recent years in terms of physical profile (as highlighted in this piece I wrote for Field Gulls in November).
Hood isn’t necessarily going to come in and be a superstar — but he isn’t going to cost you an ultra high draft pick either. So unless you’re determined to go big at the position either with a veteran move or an early round prospect — he makes sense as an explosive, cost-effective option for this team.
The other good thing about the performance last night is it reminds you how talented and balanced Seattle’s roster is overall. They have needs — but who doesn’t? If they can run the ball, the defense will benefit. Everything connects.
And instead of needing to contemplate major overhauls and restarts, you’re looking at a whole range of different possibilities:
— Can they use their free agent money to go after a big fish D-liner such as Calais Campbell?
— Can they consider doubling down on the D-line, with a free agent splash and a first round pick given the extensive depth in that area in this class?
— Can they consider spending a high pick on a 6-4, 245lbs weapon (David Njoku) who could be set to run in the 4.4’s and in High School jumped 2.09 metres in the high jump — #1 among his peers during that particular indoor track season.
— Can they consider adding to the secondary with a high pick, something they haven’t done since Earl Thomas in 2010?
The above suggestions play into the hands of the draft class overall. There aren’t many good offensive tackles slated to go in the first two rounds. There’s better depth in the middle rounds — and that’s likely to be the same at running back. This is a draft class for DB’s and DE’s — with some freaky athletes mixed in at other positions.
It’s not worth overreacting to one game and assuming everything is fixed with the running game. Yet the Seahawks showed what they’re capable of. Let’s see if they can repeat the success in Atlanta next week and maybe change the complexion of the off-season in the process.