While much of the talk about the Seattle Seahawks’ backfield competition has centered around newcomers LenDale White and Leon Washington, a somewhat forgotten person who could win the starting job this season is Justin Forsett.
“He has a unique competitiveness about him that makes things happen with the ball in his hands,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said about Forsett. “We are going to keep rolling with the process — no judgments to be passed for a long time but we need to get the ball in his hands. He is a capable third-down guy as well so there is a lot he can do. Right now, I don’t see any ceiling on how much he can play. It is going to depend on the mix of the guys. He is doing a great job.”
The third-year pro out of Cal has looked explosive in team drills during offseason workouts. And although he’s only 5-8, 195 pounds, Forsett can effectively run both inside and on the perimeter. Forsett believes he can be an every down back in the league.
“Definitely I think I can do it,” he said. “In college I’ve had over 300 carries in a season, and that’s nothing for me. I work hard during the summer to make sure my body is right. I’m ready for it, whatever they want to with me.
“I can do it all. I can go inside of the tackles or go outside. I’m not afraid to bring it inside just because of my stature.”
Forsett can point to his numbers in college for those concerned about his durability. He carried the ball 305 times his senior season at Cal in 2007, finishing with 1,546 yards and 15 touchdowns, and posting 5.1 yards per carry.
And in 2009 Forsett put up similar numbers, albeit with less time on the field, finishing with 619 yards on 114 carries for 5.4 yards per carry and four touchdowns.
Forsett started two games last season, struggling against one of the best defenses in the league in Minnesota and finishing with just eight yards on nine carries.
But the next week in St. Louis, Forsett broke out with 130 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. Forsett also rushed for over 100 yards at Arizona when Julius Jones went down early in the game with a bruised lung, finishing with 123 yards on 17 carries and a score.
Forsett said the experience from last season let him know that he can get it done at this level.
“It meant a lot, just knowing I could start and get the ball,” Forsett said. “I’m OK with getting the ball, 22-23 times a game. And I’m excited about the opportunity. It’s been going well so far, so I’m ready for the season to start.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. I’m getting an opportunity and everybody’s fighting for the job. It’s open competition, and every time you get competition everybody’s level is going to rise a little bit. We’re getting better every day and fighting every day, so it’s going well.”
As for the running back competition, Forsett understands that will sort itself out during training camp, and is simply trying to put his best foot forward.
“Everybody’s cool,” he said. “Everybody’s real humble and hungry and ready to compete. Everything on the field, we’re competing. But off the field they’re good guys and we’re just hanging out.
“We’ve got these two guys coming in with Leon and LenDale and they’re great guys, so we’re helping them out and sharing different things. LenDale knows this offense pretty well from his days in college, so he’s adding his little bit in and we’re just feeding off of each other.”