Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SEAHAWKS: State of the Running Backs

Beast Mode
This is the latest installment of our "State of the Seahawks" series. Click here to view the state of the quarterback position.

The Seahawks have a lot of holes. Offensive line, cornerback, defensive line, quarterback. Running back is not in that group.

At the moment, the Hawks have Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett, and Leon Washington in the running back stable, and I don't expect that to change. Why?

By not drafting a running back in the draft (most notably Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram, who was available) the Seahawks front office gave Lynch, Forsett, and Washington a vote of confidence . Now, it's up to that trio to prove that the Hawks' vote of confidence was not in vain.

To Continue...

But can these three running backs put together a solid 2011 season? Take a look at the numbers these guys put up last season behind one of the worst and disorganized offensive line in football.

Lynch: 575 yards, 3.5 Yds/Att, 6 TD.

Forsett: 523 yards, 4.4 Yds/Att, 2 TD.

Washington: 100 yards, 3.7 Yds/Att, 1TD.

Not great numbers from these guys, I know. Forsett's 4.4 yard rushing average is decent, along with Lynch's 6 touchdowns. But keep in mind that these three guys ran an offensive line that had 10 different combination last season due to injuries to Max Unger, Chester Pitts, and Ben Hamilton. You have to look past the regular box score to find

All three of these guys have talent. Just look at Lynch's run in the playoffs vs. the Saints. Incredible. I seriously could not name another running back with the kind of sheer willpower Lynch demonstrated on that play. In 2009, Forsett had the best elusive rating (a combination of rushing attempts, receptions, missed tackles forced by the running back, and yards after contact) in the NFL. Leon Washington returned 3 kickoffs for touchdowns in 2010.

But what really makes this trio work is the dramatically different skill sets they all have. Lynch destroys defenders with his surprising 5-11, 215-pound frame and never ending motor. He runs like a maniac.

Forsett doesn't have the destructive running abilities Lynch has, but he makes up for it with speed, agility, and pass blocking ability. It also helps he's 5-8, and when you're that short, it's hard for the defenders to get proper leverage to tackle you.

Washington has never been a feature back, but has shown the ability to come in on third down and catch the ball on a swing pass or screen very well. Leon's main asset is his blazing speed, often being faster than the defensive back trying to catch him.

So Seahawks fans, rest assured that the state of the running back position is in great shape with Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett, and Leon Washington.

All we need now is an offensive line.

Next up on the state of the Seahawks: Wide receivers

Reach Nathan Parsons at