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Seahawks to go running back by committee?

Seattle's offensive coordinator indicates Marshawn Lynch's workload will decrease


The Seattle Seahawks held a town hall for select season ticket holders yesterday, and there were some fun tidbits to come out of it. Aside from Pete Carroll's "we love to beat" Jim Harbaugh line, the team's offensive coordinator -- Darrell Bevell -- told the masses that the team would be operating with with a running back by committee.

Okay, so on the surface that sounds like Marshawn Lynch will start to see his workload decrease, with more carries going to the likes of Robert Turbin and Christine Michael.

Is this really what they will do? I don't know. Maybe. It makes some sense, seeing as how Lynch has taken a heck of a lot of carries over the past few years. He's only entering his age 28 season, but we have seen time and time again what happens to workhorse backs as they approach the magical 30 mark.

Michael has a bunch of upside. Where the San Francisco 49ers have Marcus Lattimore and Carlos Hyde, the Seahawks and their fan base are every bit as excited about the potential that Michael brings.

But, if I were playing devil's advocate here, I might ask a couple questions.

How much of a committee will this really be?

Sure, why not take some load off of "Beast Mode?" But are you really going to go out from day one and trust an unproven back to take significant snaps away from a more-than-proven stud that representing the bulk of your offense?

It may not be out of the question. After all, the Seahawks probably didn't go into 2012 camp thinking Russell Wilson was a lock to be their starter. But he worked hard, developed quickly and was -- to their coaching staff -- a clear upgrade over Matt Flynn. So, the Seahawks are a team that might do something like this.

However, unlike the Wilson vs Flynn battle, Lynch is a known entity. Barring injury, I just don't see his workload dropping that dramatically. Marginally? Sure. But enough for us to label their backfield as committee based? I doubt it.

Is this the forum you'd announce such a thing?

The Seahawks were holding a town hall. There were a few lucky season ticket holders in the seats, and the event was streamed live on the Internet for all who cared to watch.

Now, I'm not going to call Bevell a liar or anything. I'm sure that what he said had some truth to it. But in this setting, at this time of the year, I just can't imagine that the statement carries the weight them some might like to assign to it.

Teams are still going through OTAs. We still have training camp, and then pre-season games.The Seahawks probably love the idea of adding some different dynamics to their potent rushing attack, but I'm taking a believe-it-when-I-see-it approach to Lynch losing more than a marginal amount of his carries.

Could the 49ers do the same?

Yes, and I think they will. I would be surprised if Frank Gore carries the ball as much as he did last season. Now, part of that is because the passing game -- on paper -- will be more potent, so the running back corps as a whole could lose some carries.

But the Niners would be foolish not to take some of that load off of Gore's back with a healthy Lattimore, and the addition of a bruising Hyde to handle some of the dirty work. Oh, and Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James are still hanging around, too.

But, like with Lynch, I don't see much reason to expect Gore's share of the work to dip dramatically. These guys don't become workhorses and all-time team rushing leaders on accident. Yes, their day of humbling will come. Gore's may be sooner than any of us would like.

However, out of the gate, I don't see much reason to expect wholesale changes.