Who wins Beast Mode backup battle: Turbo or C-Mike?


One of the more unique things that Pete Carroll has done with the Seahawks is embrace open competition at each position. This means that players have to earn their right to play: seniority doesn’t count, the size of your contract doesn’t count. Ability is the only real determining factor when it comes to playing time.

At running back the Seahawks have a starter in Marshawn Lynch who is unlikely to surrender his spot any time soon. He has been maybe the most consistently dominant back in the NFL over the last three seasons and he has proven his mettle in the playoffs.

But even the best running back in football has to have a quality backup. Earlier this week I made a list of some draft prospects the Seahawks might consider, but the choice is still probably going to come down to a battle between Christine Michael and Robert Turbin.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

In two years with the Seahawks, Turbin has played in all 32 regular season games. In 157 rushing attempts, he’s gained 618 yards: an average of 3.9 yards per carry. That’s a good average but it’s important to note that in 2013 it was only 3.4. Turbin hasn’t scored a touchdown yet and hasn’t fumbled.

Christine Michael saw action in only four games this year. With 18 carries he tallied 79 yards: an average of 4.4 per carry. He also did not score and did not fumble the ball.

It’s really too small a sample to judge what C-Mike can do fairly so let’s go to the tape. Here’s a highlight reel of his best plays at Texas A&M:


What you see there is breakaway speed combined with the ability to make defenders miss in the open field. What you don’t see so much of is breaking tackles. That could be problematic in the more physically imposing NFL.

Here’s Turbo’s highlight reel from 2012 with the Seahawks:


He’s not as fast as Michael, but I do see a little more power and broken tackles from Turbin. The bottom line is these two would actually compliment each other pretty well as a 1-2 combo, similar to the dynamic that Matt Forte and Michael Bush have with Chicago, but unless Lynch goes down that’s not going to happen. Will one or the other win out and become Beast Mode’s full time backup?

Only time will tell.

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