Seattle Seahawks "Back In The Running Game"?

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No position will be more intriguing in Seattle than running back. Perhaps no position is more important in the Seattle Seahawks organization.

At SC, coach Pete Carroll showed a desire, perhaps even an insistence, to assemble an effective rushing attack using multiple backs, which is exactly what he’s trying to do in Seattle, one of only four teams in the league that hasn’t had a single player surpass 1,000 yards rushing in any of the previous four seasons.

Take a look at how Seattle’s rushing production compares to the rest of the division over the past five years:

Year Rush yards NFL rank Avg. Carry NFL rank
2009 1,600 25 4.3 12
2008 1,599 27 4.0 21
2007 1,477 27 4.1 11
2006 2,172 6 4.9 3
2005 1,689 17 3.9 16
Year Rush yards NFL rank Avg. Carry NFL rank
2009 1,494 28 4.1 23
2008 1,178 32 3.5 31
2007 1,440 29 3.6 30
2006 1,138 30 3.2 32
2005 1,668 32 3.5 32
Year Rush yards NFL rank Avg. Carry NFL rank
2009 1,784 20 4.3 11
2008 1,649 25 4.0 25
2007 1,527 25 3.8 25
2006 1,805 17 4.3 10
2005 1,535 22 4.0 13
Year Rush yards NFL rank Avg. Carry NFL rank
2009 1,566 26 4.0 27
2008 1,768 19 4.2 14
2007 1,619 20 3.8 26
2006 1,923 14 4.0 17
2005 2,457 3 4.7 2

When last season began, there were a number of readers who evaluated Seattle’s stable of running backs among the worst in the league.

Well, this offseason, the Seahawks added one running back who’s coming off a career-low in rushing (LenDale White) and another who is attempting to come back from a serious leg injury (Leon Washington).

Seattle isn’t like San Francisco or St. Louis. The Seahawks don’t have a back like Frank Gore or Steven Jackson, the designated alpha dog of the offense. If Carroll’s history at USC is any indication, the lead back could change from month to month and from game to game. Consider that over the past four seasons total there wasn’t a single back who had more than five 20-carry games.

What does that mean? Well, it shows that Carroll has demonstrated a willingness not to carve out a specific pecking order in terms of backfield use. He’s willing to ride a hot hand or make adjustments in a game plan.

Will it translate to the NFL? We’ll see, but after four years of running-game recession in Seattle, it’s certainly going to be different.

So how does Seattle stack up to the rest of the division at running back? Take a look at the personnel and then cast your vote on which team’s backfield is best.

SEAHAWKS RUNNING BACKS 49ers RUNNING BACKS
Name Ht. Wt. Years
Name Ht. Wt. Years
Justin Forsett 5-8 194 2 Frank Gore 5-9 217 4
LenDale White 6-1 219 4 Michael Robinson 6-1 223 3
Julius Jones 5-10 208 6 Anthony Dixon 6-1 233 R
Leon Washington 5-8 195 4 Glen Coffee 6-0 209 R
Louis Rankin 6-1 205 1
Quinton Ganther 5-9 214 2
CARDINALS RUNNING BACKS RAMS RUNNING BACKS
Beanie Wells 6-2 229 1 Steven Jackson 6-2 236 6
Tim Hightower 6-0 222 3 Chris Ogbannaya 6-0 220 1
LaRod Stephens-Howling 5-7 180 1 Kenneth Darby 5-10 219 2
Alfonso Smith 6-1 230 R DeMaundray Woolridge 5-9 241 R
Jason Wright 5-10 210 5 Keith Toston 6-0 213 R

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