The pace of practice has slowed, his cuts are more precise and the plays more ingrained in the overwhelmed brain of Seattle Seahawks running back Robert Turbin.
And that’s a good thing. The Seahawks may be counting on the rookie out of Utah State more than usual at the beginning of the season because of the uncertain status of the team’s best offensive player, Marshawn Lynch, who faces DUI charges in his hometown of Oakland.
So is Turbin feeling the heat?
“Nope,” Turbin said. “There’s no pressure. This is what I do. I’m a rookie, but I’m a professional football player right now, you know what I mean? So I’ve got to do my job. And my job is to right now back up Marshawn Lynch, or back up Leon (Washington). And so when my opportunity comes to get on the field, I have to just do my job and take advantage of the opportunity.”
Two days after getting knocked on his back by linebacker K.J. Wright during a running drill, Turbin heeded the second-year linebacker’s advice and got his pad level lower. The result at Thursday’s practice was a thundering collision where Turbin got the better of massive defensive end Red Bryant – although Turbin was the one looking around for his helmet afterward.
One thing that still remains noticeable are Turbin’s bulging biceps – he bench-pressed 225 pounds 28 times at the NFL scouting combine. But even at 5-foot-10 and 222 pounds, Turbin’s still light on his feet, as evidenced by his 4.5-second time in the 40-yard dash.
Seattle running backs coach Sherman Smith said he has seen steady progress from Turbin since his first days of rookie minicamp during the offseason.
“Now that you can put the pads on, you can definitely see the offseason did him well,” Sherman said. “He’s a good player. He’s picking the stuff up. You can see the speed to the hole. You can see the power. You can see all of that stuff translated.
“There were some concerns we had coming out of college that he would just stutter in the hole a little bit, but he’s not doing that for us now, so he’s doing a real nice job.”