The Seattle Seahawks entered the offseason with some questions about their running back situation. Thomas Rawls, their top running back entering the 2016 season, missed seven games with a fractured fibula. CJ Prosise, their backup option, missed the last eight games of the season with a fractured scapula. These injuries forced the Seahawks to rely on late round draft picks and free agents like Alex Collins and CJ Spiller to provide production behind an inexperienced offensive line. The results were not spectacular. After ranking in the top five in rushing yards per game each year from 2012-2015, the Seahawks fell all the way to 21st in 2016. In an attempt to rejuvenate their running game, the Seahawks signed former Green Bay Packer Eddie Lacy, which leaves them with quality options going into 2017. Here’s a look at how the new three-man backfield the Seahawks have should help them next season.
On early downs, the Seahawks will probably lean on both Lacy and Rawls. Though the two backs are physically different (Rawls is 5’9’’, around 215 pounds and Lacy is 5’11’’, around 250 pounds), they both have a similar running style. Both backs run powerfully, and have great lower body strength that lends them the ability to break tackles. Rawls, due to his smaller frame, is the more agile of the two backs, and has an impressive range of side to side movement and ability to make sudden cuts. He displayed that ability in flashes last year, most notably in a game against Carolina which saw him rush for 106 yards and two touchdowns. I would like to see Rawls used more often at the start of games, when his legs will be fresh and his agility and speed will be useful against defenders. In my opinion, Lacy would be perfect for end of game situations where the Seahawks lead. His physical frame and powerful legs will be a load for tired defenders in the fourth quarter. As well, the Seahawks struggled last year in short-yardage and goal-line situations, most notably in a game vs. Arizona where they had four plays from the one-yard line and failed to score. Lacy will certainly improve the Seahawks’ efficiency in these situations.
CJ Prosise will also have a huge role on the team, most likely as a third down back in receiving situations. Prosise played wide receiver his first two seasons in college at Notre Dame, and has great hands. In the six games he played last season, he totaled 17 receptions for 208 yards and displayed great ability after the catch on wheel routes and check downs. I am looking for him to be an important option for this offense, especially in red zone situations where he can use his agility when matched up with linebackers.
The Seahawks backfield has the potential to be dynamic in 2017. They have three different backs who possess different skill sets. Each of them can be utilized at different times on offense. Prosise in third down passing situations, Rawls in early game and early down situations, and Lacy in short yardage, goal line, and late game situations. If the Seahawks are able to rotate the three of them throughout the season, they will all hopefully stay fresh, healthy, and able to contribute to a playoff run. The Seahawks offense struggled at times in 2016 partially due to its’ inability to run the ball. If Lacy, Rawls, and Prosise all stay healthy, we could be looking at a different, explosive offense from Seattle in 2017.
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