What to expect from the 2018 Seahawks: Hint- It isn’t 4-12

What to expect from the 2018 Seahawks: Hint- It isn’t 4-12

It is absurd how many people have completely written off the 2018 Seattle Seahawks. I’ve seen countless predictions that have the Seahawks anywhere between 4 and 6 wins. I guess I can see the angle of losing a lot of high profile players from a defense that was considered elite for the better part of six seasons. I guess you could make the jump that because the team finished 9-7 and missed he playoffs last year, the natural progression would be for them to continue in a downward trajectory. I guess I can see how these thoughts would creep into one’s mind. But just because I can see how you got to that conclusion doesn’t make it any less idiotic.

To be honest, this whole idea that the Seahawks are completely doomed is just lazy. To arrive at this conclusion you have to ignore a lot of things.

Let’s start with the dismantled defense argument, one that appears the strongest at face value. The Seahawks will not have players like, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman, and Kam Chancellor this season. All of these guys have been prominent members of an all-time great defense. But here’s the thing… It’s nothing new. Rewind to last year and you’ll see that down the stretch Michael Bennett was the only one of those four actually playing. So really the only difference other than Bennett is the Seahawks have now added depth to make up for some of the losses that they couldn’t compensate for last year.

Let’s look at what this 2018 team is really missing. And before anyone gets inflamed by this, understand that These guys are some of the best players I’ve ever watched and all of them deserve a salute for what they accomplished in Seattle. What I’m about to say relates purely to where we are presently in 2018.

Michael Bennett- Age 32, slowing down and somewhat divisive in the locker room.

Cliff Avril- Age 32, forced to retire because of neck injury.

Kam Chancellor- Age 30, forced to unofficially retire due to a neck injury.

Richard Sherman- Age 30, coming off of a torn achilles, locker room cancer, and still, yes STILL miffed about what happened in Glendale four years ago. In fact he clearly had something to do with yet another article coming out bashing Pete, Russell and trying to explain why the dynasty was never realized. There are some interesting points in there, but if you really want to know why 2015, 2016, and 2017 did end like they could’ve look no further than the mirror, Mr. Sherman. He couldn’t move on, so thankfully the Seahawks finally did. you can read the Sports Illustrated article here. Oh in case you forgot, here’s another hit piece Richard Sherman signed off on a year ago.

As it turns, the 2018 Seahawks aren’t really missing as much as some might think. Is the defense unproven? Of course. Are they going to be the elite unit we’ve seen in years past? Probably not. But that’s ok. They don’t have to be perfect. They just have to slow down opponents.

Which leads me to my next point. RUSSELL WILSON! That’s right, the ELITE, franchise quarterback that single handedly kept the team relevant last year. This point is pretty simple. How can people say this team will win four, five, or six win team when Russell Wilson is the quarterback? An elite QB is worth seven wins by himself. So do people just not respect Russell? That is the only possible explanation. I’ll take the side of history. Russell has won 11, 13, 12, 10, 10, and 9 games in his six seasons with Seattle. He’s only gotten better. So I’m going to take the over on six wins.

Speaking of wining games, we are all aware that Pete Carroll is still the coach, correct? Allow me to provide everyone a refresher. Pete Carroll has won a minimum of seven games since he came to Seattle in 2010. So those who doubt this team believe that Pete Carroll in his ninth season with an established franchise quarterback will have his worst season yet? Unbelievable.

I just don’t see the pending disaster the way others do. If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it.

The Seahawks aren’t going 4-12, 5-1, or 6-10. Why? Because they’re going 10-6.

And here is really why:

  • Addition by subtraction on defense. Not all around, but specifically with Sherman and Bennett.
  • Russell Wilson.
  • Pete Carroll
  • Strong core leadership with Russell, Doug Baldwin, Doug Baldwin, Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright, Justin Britt, and Duane Brown.
  • Explosive stable of young running backs.
  • Good kicker/great punter( yes, I’m serious).
  • This team is now young and hungry rather than old and disgruntled.
  • A team that respects Pete and that he can mold into winners.

I can’t wait to see what this season has in store.

Go Hawks!

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Eyes on the Hawks: Five things to watch for as preseason football gets underway.

FeaturedEyes on the Hawks: Five things to watch for as preseason football gets underway.

By Andy / PNW Sports

If you’re a Seahawks fan reading this, you’re probably wondering what in the world we’ve been doing for the better part of a year. Yes, we are supposed to be covering all things sports in the Pacific Northwest and the Seahawks are a major part of that landscape. However, I failed you. I’m just going to own it. I haven’t given you the coverage and content you deserve (all 3 of you).

So I’m here to make amends. Let’s get this season started out right. Im going to give you a quick rundown of five things to watch for as the Seahawks take the field for their first preseason game against the Colts tomorrow evening.

  1. Offensive Line– Tomorrow isn’t going to tell the whole story, but I would hope we see some encouraging signs for the big fellas up front. It starts with them. They need to give Russell more time than a quick “one two step” (yes that was a shameless Ciara reference) on pass plays and they need to make holes big enough for some of these young running backs to “level up” (oh, there I go again). The unit returns a healthy Duane Brown at left tackle, Ethan Pocic and DJ Fluker at the guards and Justin Britt at center. Oh yeah, as of now the human penalty flag, with feet ever submerged in concrete, Germain Ifedi will get the nod at right tackle. I don’t say that to be overly harsh. I hope he is a new player this year. I just want to see him be smart and show progress. If he doesn’t, expect a very short leash this season. I like George Fant to take over the right tackle spot at some point this season. It all begins tomorrow for a unit that just wasn’t good enough a year ago.
  2. The young secondary- I’m excited for these guys. The Legion of Boom is gone. It was the gold standard and an era we’ll never forget. But it’s time to start anew. I want to see young and hungry this season rather than old and disgruntled. Shaquill Griffin showed flashes last year, but he now faces a new challenge of sliding into the number one corner spot. It’s a task I believe he’s up for, but there may be some growing pains along the way. Aside from Griffin the other established player in the secondary is Bradley McDougald. His versatility is a huge asset for this team as he can play both strong and free safety positions. After those two guys, the secondary is a bit of a question mark. Keep an eye out for who seizes the moment tomorrow and weeks to come. At corner I’ll be looking to see who challenges incumbent starter, Byron Maxwell. I like Tre Flowers and Justin Coleman to be hot on Maxwell’s heels for reps. Coleman will play a lot in the slot regardless, but I think the guy has the capability to be a hard nosed defender on the outside too. It will also be important to see who pushes for the free safety position while Earl Thomas continues his hold out. Some popular names so far in came have been Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill.
  3. Kicking and Punting– I can’t believe I’m including this, but this will be one of the more interesting things to watch throughout preseason. Who wins the kicking battle between 40 year old,  Sebastian Janikowski and 4th year pro Jason Myers? Janikowski has a long, decorated resume, but can he still kick at a consistent high level? That remains to be seen. I just want to see someone who is better than Blair Walsh. At punter we have fan favorite, Jon Ryan and 5th round pick Michael Dickson. A good ol’ fashioned Canadian, Aussie showdown. Truthfully, it looks as though the Seahawks feel like it’s time to move on from Ryan or else they wouldn’t have drafted a punter. But you have to hand it to Jon for going down swinging and forcing the Seahawks to stick to to the “Always Compete” standard. Speaking of Dickson, that dude has some insane film. He could change the punting game forever. I think he’ll be a huge weapon for the next ten-plus years.
  4. New Coaches– Pete Carroll cleaned house last winter. See you later Tom Cable, Darrell Bevell and Kris Richard. Nice to meet you, Mike Solari and Brian Schottenheimer. Welcome back, Ken Norton Jr. Having that many new coaches on a staff is a big deal. I think the shake up was for the best, but it will be very interesting to see how the team performs with new blood on the sidelines.
  5. How close are we to flag football?– Everyone was panicking after the Hall of Fame game a week ago. I didn’t see much other than some of the highlights. I am definitely concerened as to where the future of football is headed, but I’m going to wait and see before I hit the panic button for 2018. Oftentimes, the officials call things much tighter in preseason as they try to emphasize rule changes. If these ticky-tack calls are still drawing flags in week three of the regular season, I’ll be concerned. I’ll be interested to see how tomorrow nights game is officiated.
  • Go Hawks!

Monday Morning Update from PNW Crew

FeaturedMonday Morning Update from PNW Crew

By Con/PNW Sports Fans

The team as been MIA. We apologize. But what is there to really write about? Neil Olshey sucking for the third straight year? Summer MLB baseball; YAWN. Pac-12 media day? Meh.

At PNW we are still on the euphoria of shutting down TD Ameritrade, having a chariot pick us up for our victory parade in downtown Omaha towards an authentic Cuban cigar lounge. Who has it better then us in college baseball? Answer: No one!

In the next few days we will be coming out with a few previews for Seahawks 2018, OSU football fall camp and whatever Brian Braught can drum up.

As always, our info will be detailed, fans perspective, realistic and always free to everyone. We are die-hards who believe in coverage that is accurate and detailed that other die-hards will appreciate the overall picture of each program and team we cover vs the paid stuff you get or the local things that are written by people who don’t even like those teams or some unpaid high school journalist. Looking at you Danny Moran.

That being said, any suggestions or questions are ALWAYS welcomed and wanted to improve our coverage or assess certain positions or questions about players specifically. Reach out to us on twitter or our personal lives if you know… you know…

PNW Sports Fans

3 Quick Hits; Weekend Warriors

Featured3 Quick Hits; Weekend Warriors

By Con / PNW Sports Fans

Here on another addition of 3 quick hits to start off your week. Our random thoughts and observations from any weekend activities.

1. OSU Baseball just misses sweep: While one of the PNW crew members is busy in the Basque country, an unlikely member was glued to the Oregon State baseball series vs Stanford this weekend. It was a pleasurable site watching OSU pound the Cardinal into submission game one and game two and to start game three. Then it all fell apart when frosh Kevin Abel walked 30 straight batters… Ok maybe not that many but you get the point. However, this does not put a damper on taking the series from your only competition in the Pac-12. OSU bats are FIRE right now. They will continue to be the rest of the season. The lineup is too good for any pitcher to get past. But the elusive Sunday starter still remains a mystery. We had faith in Abel as he had a few brilliant performances recently and with Grant Grambrell not being able to pitch effectively in t-ball right now,  Abel is one of our only options. We will see what Pat does. I prefer to try Brandon Eisert out as Sunday starter. He is more experienced then Abel and has proven the ability to keep his pitch count down and be semi consistent. We will see how this develops. Quote of the weekend from Steven Kwan regarding Pat Casey as a coach: “He’s the biggest motivator ever, the best coach I’ve ever had, but really hard to play for at first. He had the look that would bring you to your knees. That played into my self-doubts, made you think you’re the worst baseball player ever.”

GOD BLESS YOU PAT. NEVER CHANGE.

2. HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY??? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY?HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY? HOW DID BRAD STEVENS NOT WIN COY?

PROOF THE NBA IS RIGGED. RIP DWANE CASEY THOUGH. Best record in FRANCHISE HISTORY and gets fired? LOL. Terry Stotts should retire then…

3. It’s a slow sports season…Braught what is happening with the Mariners? Oh yeah they suck again and over-committed to all fans and got everyone hyped about how good they were going to be and half their team is injured I guess. Oh and the Ichiro experiment? He is quickly to the front office…as what? Hopefully head translator so he can speak to the clone of himself he will bless the Mariners franchise with. Seriously, I am calling for a complete overhaul and dismantling of this franchise. A la the Florida Marlins except not with the slime ball Derek Jeter and with actual intelligence in trades and signings, not another MLB team working hard to make the Yankees better…

 

PS: Great job Wayne Tinkle for getting a midget point guard who can’t really shoot. So he will be slashing to the rim I guess at 5’5″??? Awesome strategy. But hey Nate Robinson is/was the ultimate OSU basketball killer…

 

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Seahawks draft recap: No grades, just thoughts

The draft has come and gone and this is when all of the “experts” start handing out grades based on the picks all 32 teams made. That is probably one of the dumbest exercises I’ve ever heard of. It’s honesty just filler, because grading a team’s draft selections before they even set foot on a football field is a joke. Like I’m supposed to just accept the fact that one of the “draft analysts” at the big networks have a better idea of what a team should’ve done than the GM? It is such an idiotic practice to grade a draft as soon as the final pick is in. I’ll end the rant there, but as you can tell, the whole thing fires me up. As was evidenced by the Seahawks picks, teams draft to need and fit, not to what some stat nerd at ESPN had on their mock board.

So instead of draft grades, I’m just going to give you a brief summary on each player the Seahawks selected and what they bring to the table. If your looking for grades, maybe I’ll hand those out in 2020, when I actually have an idea of what this class is.

Rashaad Penny -RB San Diego State -Round 1 Pick 27

The Seahawks wasted no time making a statement in the 2018 draft. With the selection of Rashaad Penny in the first round, Pete Carroll and John Schneider told the wold that they   want to get back to their principles. This program was built on a run game and defense. Having Russell Wilson is what sets them over the top, but it makes his life much easier when they can run the ball.

Penny brings toughness and stability to a position group that desperately needs it. Some say drafting Penny in the first round is a stretch, but Pete and John got what they wanted. Throw on the tape and you’ll realize why they were so excited to land this guy. Penny never misses games, is a blend of power and speed, can catch the football, is a threat to score on every play, and is deadly in the return game.

I can’t wait to see this guy get on the field. He’ll have to earn his carries, but the potential is great. Penny, Carson, Davis, Prosise, and Mckissic? Yes please! Whoever emerges from that group will have earned their way onto the field and I expect to see a much improved ground attack in 2018.

Rasheem Greene – DE USC- Round 3 pick 15

This guy is an absolute beast. He wreaked havoc on every offensive line he faced. His athleticism makes him extremely versatile. I stated last week (right along with running back) that the defensive line needed some depth. Pete and John showed once again what they are committed to with this selection. I think this kid has a chance to make an impact immediately.

Will Dissly- TE Washington- Round 4 Pick 20

Sensing a theme here? Me too. Physical, punishing football. The Seahawks aren’t bringing Dissly in to be the next Jimmy Graham, This dude is a converted defensive lineman who wore number 98 throughout the entirety of his college career. Will is going to mix it up in the run game and be a nice frame for Wilson to throw too, Again, he’ll have to earn his way with veterans  Ed Dixon and Nick Vannett already on the roster. However, don’t be surprised to see all three on the field at once this season.

Shaquem Griffin- OLB Central Florida- Round 5- Pick 4

This was seemingly everyone’s favorite pick and for good reason. Chances are even the casual fan has heard of Shaquem Griffin. He was an All-American linebacker last season while helping UCF to an undefeated season.

But what most people know Griffin for is the fact that he accomplished those impressive feats with one hand. Shaquem had a nerve disorder as a child that caused him so much pain, doctors amputated his left hand when he was young. He overcame that setback and has become one of the best stories in sports.

A lot of teams overlooked Shaquem because of his missing appendage, which is great news for the Seahawks. Griffin is an absolute steal and is probably the hungriest player in this class. He is ready to show the world what he can do at the highest level. Griffin’s biggest asset is probably his quickness. He can move better than just about any linebacker you’ll find. I can’t wait to see this guy in action.

Oh yeah… his twin brother is cornerback, Shaquille Griffin. How cool is that? I can’t wait to see what these two accomplish together.

Tre Flowers- S Oklahoma State- Round 5- Pick 9

Tre flowers was a nice pickup for the Seahawks in the 5th round. He is very solid in coverage which is why some people think the Seahawks will ultimately move him to corner. Either way, this kid has a good frame, can run and plays each snap like he’s on a mission.

Michael Dickson- P Texas- Round 5- Pick 12

That’s not a typo. The Seahawks did in fact draft a punter in the first round. I know, I about spit my beer out at Flattail Brewing (Go Beavs!) when I saw the pick come in. But hang with me for a second. This is perhaps the most insane punter I’ve ever seen at the collegiate level. He booms the ball and can seriously manipulate spin and bounce better than anyone i’ve ever seen. If you’re still furious, I totally understand. It’s a punter, it just feels wrong. All you need to know about Dickson is that he won the Ray Guy Award, declared early ( yes a punter that came out early) and was named MVP in the Longhorn’s Bowl victory. Take a deep breath.

Jamarco Jones- OT Ohio State- Round 5- Pick 31

I can practically hear the murmurs of “what about the offensive line?” from my couch as I type this. Don’t forget that the Seahawks traded their second round pick to the Texans in exchange for Duane Brown. Brown will probably sign an extension at some point this year, so think of him as the Seahawks drafting a pro bowl caliber left tackle in the second round. Justin Britt is steadily entrenched at center, Ethan Pocic and DJ Fluker will fill in the guard spots, and the team will get George Fant back who will probably take over at right tackle. So that just leaves Seattle with the task of filling in with depth. Jamarco Jones will provide that and could be a solid player down the road.

Jake Martin- OLB Temple- Round 6- Pick 12

Martin comes to the Seahawks as a bit of a project. Honestly I haven’t heard much about him or watched film extensively. However I know the Seahawks wouldn’t have selected him unless they thought he could come in and compete. Who knows? Maybe this is the next unknown commodity to become a star on this defense. We’ll see.

Alex McGough- QB Florida International – Round 7- Pick 2

Other then being a fun name to say, Alex McGough brings some good attributes to the table. A fiery competitor is the first thing that jumps out to me when watching this QB play. He plays each down like it’s his last. Sometimes you have to keep your emotions in check as a QB, so while I think his attitude is a positive trait it’s also something to watch.

McGough is also pretty athletic and shows the ability to throw on the run and also pick up yards on the ground. The Seahawks like having a QB that’s a threat with both his arm and legs. Though far from polished, I think McGough will be a good camp arm to have and could push Austin Davis for the back up spot come August.

Pete and John got their guys:

It’s obvious to me that the Seahawks were looking to regain their identity in this draft. Who knows how all of these guys will pan out. But one thing is certain; this is going to be a hard nosed physical football team, once again built on defense and running the ball.

I’m looking forward to things getting back to normal.

Go Hawks!

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NFL Draft: Five things for Seahawks fans to watch for

field-sport-ball-america.jpgBy Andy / PNW Sports Fans

The 2018 NFL Draft gets underway this Thursday at 5pm PT at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. There is no shortage of storylines heading into this year’s spectacle. As usual, all eyes are on the young quarterbacks and a few other eye popping playmakers. For Seahawks fans, the draft is intriguing for different reasons. For us, the intrigue comes from wondering what unknown gem Pete Carroll and John Schneider will find. Although the last few years have been a little disappointing, I think we might be staring down the barrel of another legendary draft for Seattle’s dynamic duo.

Here are five things for Seahawks fans to watch for heading into Thursday:

Will the Seahawks actually draft someone at 18?

The Seahawks are slotted to have the 18th overall pick in the first round. For anyone who has followed the team more than a couple of years, it feels like a forgone conclusion that the they might be looking to trade back to secure more picks. According to Brady Henderson of ESPN.com , the last time the Seahawks used their original first round pick was 2011 when they selected James Carpenter. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see the Seahawks once again trade back in favor of securing more picks, especially considering the fact that the team doesn’t have a second or a third round pick. That being said, Pete and John are always predictably unpredictable.

Biggest Needs

This one might seem obvious given how horrendous the offensive line has been. While the line needs to be addressed, it’s far from the only position group that would benefit from reinforcements.

The Seahawks could also use some fresh bodies on the other side of the trenches. With the departure of Michael Bennett and the probable medical retirement of Cliff Avril, the Seahawks will be leaning heavily on Frank Clark. If the Seahawks want to get a consistent pass rush, they’ll need to add edge depth that can play meaningful snaps early.

Running back is also a need in this class. Sure, the line was bad, but the running backs weren’t doing a lot to help the big fellas out last year. I like that the team held on to Mike Davis for insurance and Chris Carson showed promise before getting injured. But the team can’t take any chances with a poor rushing attack in 2018.

Other positions of need? Look for additions at receiver, tight end and linebacker. A lot of you are probably screaming at me to include defensive backs on this list, but I actually really like the potential of the youngsters here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they’ll bring in some guys to compete, but I think some of the athletes from last year’s class have a chance to join Shaq Griffin in the starting backfield.

Is Earl staying?

Speaking of the secondary. . . The biggest question of the offseason has been whether or not Earl Thomas will be traded. I think the longer it goes, the less likely it is that Earl plays elsewhere in 2018. If that’s the case, I’d be thrilled. Unlike his former Legion of Boom teammates, Earl still seems to be playing at the top of his game. While his window of dominance might be gradually closing he is still a huge asset on the back end of that defense. Especially when you consider there will be several  young players fighting for snaps around him.

A deal could certainly go down on draft day, but with each passing day I feel better about the fact that the man I affectionately refer to as the human missile will be back with the team for another season.

Significance of this draft

Simply put, this draft is of major significance. The Pete and John legacy will either be cemented or softened depending on how the 2017 and 2018 classes pan out. They will either be remembered as orchestrating a great five year run and then fizzling out, or showing that they built a generational culture that continued to win for a decade plus.

We won’t be able to judge that for at least a couple of years, but these last two classes will  write history one way or another.

How to feel after it’s all wrapped up

If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably walk away from this experience feeling somewhat indifferent. Sure, the draft is exciting and all, but it’s impossible to know what you got out of it until the season comes around. Sometimes you don’t know what you have for two or three seasons. No matter how much of an expert people claim to be, it’s impossible to perfectly predict how a class is going to mature. Chances are almost every player the Seahawks select will be a name you’ve never heard in your life. That’s just the way it is. Once the picks are in I’ll watch some film and get excited. But truthfully, the draft leaves me feeling a little empty.

Though the draft isn’t my favorite event on the sports calendar, it’s still of great importance for a franchise looking to get back to its principles. I’m excited for a clean slate in 2018 and a renewed hunger inside the Virgina Mason Athletic Center.

Go Hawks!

2016 Seahawks Position Group Analysis: RUNNING BACKS.

thomas-rawls

Photo Courtesy: Sports World Report

By Andy / PNW Sports Fans

As training camp starts up and we inch closer to real football I’ve begun to pass the time by breaking down each of the Seahawks position groups. Today let’s dive into the 2016 Running Back competition.

First off it wouldn’t be right if I wrote this without paying my respects to the legend, and in my humble opinion the greatest running back of all time. Marshawn Lynch. He will be sorely missed. Enjoy some of his best moments.

Who They Are:

Thomas Rawls: Thomas Rawls came to Seattle as an undrafted free agent. So it’s safe to say we saw his success coming given the Seahawks track record. As Marshawn battled through an injury plagued season, of which he missed 12 games, Seattle needed someone to step up in the backfield. Thomas Rawls did just that. He got his first career start against Detroit. A typical Seahawks Monday Night game where the offense struggled to find its footing and the game ultimately ended in controversy (though anyone who claims they knew the illegal batt rule is a liar). However, the next week in Cincinnati was a different story. Rawls looked like a seasoned all pro ripping off 169 yards on 23 carries including an explosive 69 yard house call in the second half. From that point on Rawls seemed to be the next diamond in the rough of the Pete and John era. Rawls was extremely productive in his rookie campaign tallying 830 yards on 147 attempts. He no doubt would’ve eclipsed the thousand yard mark had he not suffered a broken ankle in December against Baltimore. Rawls had filled in so well for Marshawn, but his own sudden injury turned out to spell doom for Seattle heading in to the 2015 playoffs. Though the injury was serious, Rawls has spent his days relentlessly rehabbing to get back to being his explosive self. Last week Rawls was officially cleared and taken off the PUP list, which is a welcome event for Seahawks fans. Rawls will have to shake off a little rust once he starts taking game snaps again, but I think he is going to prove last season’s performance was not an anomaly. If my prediction comes true, look for this offensive attack to be highly potent.

Christine Michael: I’m not one who usually puts much stock in to preseason games as far as score results, but when it comes to evaluating players battling for spots it’s pretty telling. Christine Michael looked like a completely different guy on Saturday in Kansas City. The same guy that struggled to focus play in and play out was locked in from the first snap of the game. The guy that used to dance around instead of running into the hole looked as if he was being shot out of cannon upon taking each handoff. Everyone will tell you that they’ve seen flashes from Christine Michael but the inconsistency in his short career has overshadowed the potential. Last year was a bit of  sobering moment for Michael. After being released by the team that drafted him, Michael was picked up by Dallas. For a moment it seemed he might be able to fit there, but late in the season he was released. Michael then found his way to Washington’s practice squad. He was once again cut. As fate would have it in late December Michael was in need of a team and the Seahawks depth at running back was wearing thin. C-Mike approached his second tour of duty in Seattle with a renewed focus. He had watched the time in his NFL career nearly Prematurely run out. However, he did enough in his short end of the season spurt to catch the attention of his coaches. In fact they felt good enough about how far Christine Michael has come that he has taken all of the first team reps in Thomas Rawls absence. He made the most of his opportunity Saturday as I watched him rip run after run in the first quarter. There was no hesitation, there was no dancing. I saw a guy that understood the blocking scheme and how to read it. I saw a guy that ran full speed, straight ahead into the cracks of daylight. Most importantly, I saw a guy who looks like he is finally starting to get it. That is a very exciting thought. If Michael can figure out the mental aspect of his game, this backfield will become scary fast.

CJ Prosise: I thoroughly enjoyed watching the tape on CJ Prosise from his days at Notre Dame. A converted receiver, Prosise isn’t your prototypical running back. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either. His time at receiver has given CJ a diverse skill set. And not to beat a dead horse, but Pete Carroll and John Schnieder love guys with a unique set of skills. That must’ve been why they used their third round pick to select the standout Fighting Irish running back. Coaches have seemed to be high on the young prospect since he’s arrived in Seattle. From everything I’ve heard in the media, it sounds like Prosise is poised to step into the third down back role that Fred Jackson filled last year. Given his quickness and ability to catch the ball, I think this could be a great fit for the rookie. Again, from early training camp reports and the way coaches talk about him i gather that he is in line to earn significant playing time. Prosise has temporarily suffered a setback to those aspirations as a hamstring injury has held him out of practice and the first preseason. CJ still has plenty of time to prove himself, but this is the time for rookies must leave an impression. Compound the injury with Christine Michael’s stellar performance on Saturday and Alex Collins breathing down his neck, Prosise finds himself in a dogfight. As a third round pick I don’t think he’s in any danger of being cut. I do think he will have to earn his keep if wants to see the field in 2016. I really like what Prosise brings to the table, but until he actually plays, it’s going to be difficult to get a read on him.

Alex Collins: Three straight 1,000 yard seasons while playing at Arkansas. Does anything else need to be said? Just in case you are reading this and are failing to grasp that, Arkansas is in the SEC. THE SEC! Alex Collins is only the third player in conference history to accomplish that feat. Anytime you are on a short list with Herschel Walker, you know you’re doing something special. Aside from the impressive stats, the film don’t lie. The fifth round pick’s tape is impressive. Collins runs hard and recklessly in such a manner that has already led to comparisons of  Marsha. . . woah! Slow down! I’m not ready to go that far. But this kid is not scared to run right through those foolish enough to get in his way. Collins brings a physical presence that matches the DNA of the Seahawks running game. Now unlike the  some of the delusional folks down south I realize there is difference between SEC and NFL football. A big one at that. As with all of the rookies we will have to how Collins adjusts to this level. So far so good as he’s been solid thus far in training camp and has earned high praise as a result. If i’m being honest, I really want to see Collins become a force on this team. He is so fun to watch and has that running style that just makes you want to jump out your recliner and punch a hole in the drywall.

Zac Brooks:  The Clemson product was the third running back the Seahawks took in the 2016 draft. Brooks had to wait a while to have his name called as he went in the seventh round. But we know that it doesn’t matter what your draft position is on this team. If you can play, they find a way to keep you around. Brooks is another tough runner with some burst. Like Collins, I think Brooks has that fearless running style that Seattle drools over. However on a roster chalk full of hungry running backs, Brooks may find himself as the odd man out. An injury has also impeded his death chart progress. And when your a seventh round pick you don’t have the luxury of missing too many practices before you find yourself in a mother line of work. I hope Brooks finds his way on to this team, because I think he’s a solid player, but at this point that seems like his opportunity might be slipping away.

Final Assessment:

Marshawn Lynch isn’t walking through the door at the VMAC this year. He is absolutely irreplaceable. That doesn’t let this group of running backs off the hook. For this team to be elite in 2016 it will need solid production from its running game. Marshawn Lynch or not, the identity of this team is still imbedded in a physical brand of football. And that means hitting on defense and running backs that aren’t afraid to lay the lumber either. This entire group is relatively young and has something to prove. I think they have enough gamers to be a dominant unit this year, but they’ve got to approach every single game with urgency and a desire to impose their will. I am excited to see this backfield in action in 2016.