Seattle Seahawks: First Impressions from Training Camp
As the Seattle Seahawks prepare to defend their crown as the world's best football team, they are getting ready to do so without one of their star players. Marshawn Lynch announced that he would hold out from training camp if he didn't get a new contract (via Terry Blount, ESPN.com), and he's missed each day so far.
While this clearly presents a bump in the road, Seattle is still in great shape to succeed in 2014. It's very likely that the two parties come to a compromise before the season begins, but even if they don't, there are talented runners waiting in the wings, ready to take over for Lynch.
Robert Turbin and Christine Michael are both talented runners and are making the most of their opportunities in camp now that Lynch is temporarily out of the picture.
Another player taking advantage of training camp is rookie defender Cassius Marsh. He's a scary-athletic lineman who's been quite impressive for a fourth-round pick. He does have a talented set of starters ahead of him but should find a nice niche as a rotational player.
Overall, it's been a solid training camp so far. There's still a lot of time between now and when the season starts, but everything's looking pretty good when it comes to the 'Hawks.
Robert Turbin and Christine Michael Can Make Up for Marshawn Lynch's Absence
With Marshawn Lynch holding out, Robert Turbin and Christine Michael will undoubtedly be getting more opportunities to show what they've got. They could potentially earn themselves a larger role in the offense or, if Lynch decides to hold out long enough, a role as the team's starting runner.
Turbin has already shown that he can produce with the ball in his hands and has a career average of 3.9 yards per carry.
Michael was sparsely used last season but has a rare combination of power and speed that should bid him well when given the chance to perform. He's now had a full season to digest the team's playbook and should be a great fit in Lynch's place should he remain off the field.
The most likely scenario if Lynch holds out through the season is that Seattle utilizes both runners as a two-headed monster and will still run the ball heavily.
Paul Richardson Is in a Prime Position to Succeed with Seattle
Not many people saw Sidney Rice's early retirement coming, but chances are Seattle had some inkling it was on his mind. It makes sense that the Seahawks drafted Paul Richardson in the second round of this past draft and have already started getting him assimilated into the offense.
He has tremendous speed that can blow the top off of defenses, and that will be a valuable asset as he now enters a much bigger role with the team.
Richardson was already slated to get some playing time as it was, but he'll especially get some looks as a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver now that Rice is gone. He still has Doug Baldwin and Percy Harvin ahead of him, but he could definitely slide into the No. 2 spot if Seattle thinks Harvin fits better in the slot.
Regardless, Richardson has suddenly found himself in a major position to succeed now that he has one less talented receiver ahead of him, and he should put up some nice numbers in 2014.
Cassius Marsh Was a Better Draft Pick Than Most Expected
Fourth-round draft picks don't often become power players in the NFL, but Cassius Marsh is breaking that mold—and thriving. Tony Drovetto of Seahawks.com writes that Marsh has "demonstrated great quickness and a unique pass-rush savvy through the first three days of camp." He went on:
The burst and acceleration he's displayed off the edge are an extension of what the coaching staff saw from Marsh in minicamp. … The 22-year-old Southern California native has seen a healthy amount of reps at defensive end and defensive tackle, working in with the No. 1 unit at times in defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and defensive line coach Travis Jones' heavy D-line rotation.
He's already working with the ones as a mid-round rookie and should be able to earn himself a spot in the defensive rotation. Marsh is quite versatile, and odds are Seattle finds a number of ways to utilize the monster D-lineman.
It's unclear exactly how many snaps Marsh will be getting once we reach opening day, but it's shaping up to look like he'll be in a good position to contribute and help this defense continue its dominant habits.
Percy Harvin Is Healthy, Ready to Be Big Contributor
Percy Harvin was expected to be a big part of the offense last year before an unfortunate injury foiled that plan, but he looks set to assume that role in 2014. Harvin adds a whole lot to this team's offense, and not just in the passing game.
Adding in the threat of Harvin opens things up for the running game, as defenses simply cannot stack the box and still hope to competently cover the speedster.
More than that, he's a pretty good runner too. Granted, he hasn't had many opportunities to run the ball, but the work he's done out of the backfield is definitely notable.
He's had no setbacks with health through training camp thus far and even went so far as to say that this is the best he's been in "a long, long time" (via Stephen Cohen, SeattlePi.com). Especially with Sidney Rice now retired, Harvin's production becomes all the more important.
He's finally healthy and will make Seattle's offense a scary one going forward.