Seahawks running backs: the beauty or the beast?

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Training camp for the Seattle Seahawks will begin in a couple of weeks. Many players are still battling with their fellow position players for a spot on the roster. Marshawn Lynch is not one of those players. After nearly four seasons of demolishing opponents with power runs in the NFL’s most prolific rushing offense, Lynch has earned his place at the table.

This run against the New York Giants from a few years ago illustrates what Lunch does perfectly:

That has to be the toughest seven yards anyone has ever gained in football.

By comparison, the way that backup Christine Michael picks up yards is a thing of beauty. He cuts, he dives, he spins – and while he doesn’t necessarily shy away from contact he doesn’t relish in it the same way Beast Mode does. We’re not holding that against him because nobody does.

Watch Michael in this highlight reel from his time at Texas A&M:

What I see is Michael using more finesse, misdirection and athleticism than Lynch. Neither style really has an advantage on the other. Both should be an effective part of any complete running game, and only the greatest backs of all time like Walter Payton can utilize both.

At the Seahawks town hall several weeks ago offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was asked how the distribution of carries would work out for his running backs. He replied that it would be by committee. Some people took that to mean that Lynch would split carries equally with Turbin and Michael. That’s definitely not the case, but we should expect to see more of Michael in 2014. They need more film to evaluate Michael because it makes a lot of (financial – not football) sense for Lynch to be cut after the 2014 season.

Once we’ve seen what C-Mike can do at the NFL level the Seahawks will have a serious decision to make about their future at running back. Do they take the beauty, or the beast?

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