One thing is for certain: Marshawn Lynch is the Seattle Seahawks‘ starting running back for at least one more season. Following a week-long holdout at the beginning of Seattle’s training camp, Lynch is back and the Seahawks will run their offense through their star running back. However, there has been speculation that Lynch’s carries will decrease this year as he nears the age of 29, which usually spells a drop in production for most running backs. Who will get those remaining carries: Robert Turbin or Christine Michael?
That has been one of the biggest questions of the preseason for the Seahawks. But after two games, Turbin is the clear favorite. He has been Seattle’s primary backup the past two seasons. But after rushing for 354 yards on 80 carries (4.4 yards per carry) during his rookie season in 2012, Turbin was less effective last year with only 264 yards on 77 carries (3.4 yards per carry). This is why most thought that Michael, a second-year player out of Texas A&M University, would surpass Turbin in the pecking order this season. However, with Turbin getting carries ahead of Michael in the first two preseason games, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
A star last preseason, Michael barely saw the field during the season as he struggled with injuries and ball security. While he may be healthy this time around, Michael already has two fumbles through two preseason games — though, neither resulted in turnovers. Until the coaching staff can fully trust Michael to hold on to the football, he will have a very tough time taking from Turbin’s backup workload, especially if Turbin can continue to make the most of his carries. On Friday, he ran for 81 yards and a touchdown on only 12 carries, including a 47-yard scamper through and around the San Diego Chargers‘ defense.
That being said, Michael should be the future running back of this organization after Lynch leaves. His combination of speed, agility and power is what any coach looks for in a featured running back. Turbin has those traits and has definitely improved this offseason, but on a lesser degree. In other words, Michael’s upside is much higher than Turbin’s. Most thought that Michael might be ready to handle a larger workload this year, but his ball security says otherwise. In Pete Carroll‘s system, it’s “all about the ball.” Only when Michael takes that to heart will he be ready to get more carries in Seattle’s rushing attack. The future is bright for him, but it’s not quite here yet.