RENTON – Feed the beast.
With the addition of offensive line coach Tom Cable, a zone-blocking guru, and a renewed focus on running the ball by coach Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch expected a steady diet of running plays this season.
But through four games, he mostly has been running play-action fakes and pass-blocking.
Seattle is second worst in the league in rushing, averaging 67.5 yards a game, after finishing next to last in rushing in 2010. And just like last year, Carroll’s first in Seattle, the Seahawks are throwing it much more than they are running it – 63 percent of the time (135 passes) vs. 37 percent (80 runs).
But there are mildly mitigating circumstances. Seattle has been forced to pass more because the team has been behind in the first half of every game. Still, Seattle ran the ball just 41.4 percent of the time last season, which was part of the reason then-offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates was let go.
“It all plays together,” Lynch said. “You get down in a game like that, the fastest way to the end zone – a lot of people would think – is a pass. And I mean, that’s the type of games we’ve been playing. We’ve been having to play a lot of catch-up in the second half.
“So I don’t think it’s a problem with our run game. I think we just don’t get to run it enough in order for it to be as effective as we’d like.”
Another reason for Seattle’s poor running attack is having one of the youngest offensive lines in the league, with four guys who have never played together until this season. Running the zone-blocking scheme takes time and repetition to build chemistry, something Lynch is painfully aware of.
“If there was a cheat code we’d all be doing it, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now,” Lynch joked. “But I don’t see it being like this for that much longer. They’re not rookies any more.”
The Seahawks plan to use the no-huddle offense more after running it with some effectiveness against Atlanta last week. But offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell doesn’t expect that to limit the running game.
“Probably the biggest thing is just being able to stay on the field,” Bevell said. “We haven’t had a lot of rhythm, being able to stay on the field play after play, so that cuts it down a little bit. Then you get behind and you start throwing the ball.
“I thought even last week in the second half, even when we were in our no-huddle, those were some of the best runs that we had. We were pushing it in there 8 and 6 yards. So I thought we started to do some good things, and started to find a rhythm there.”
Sustaining more drives would give Lynch, Justin Forsett and Leon Washington more chances to run the ball. And Lynch knows he gets stronger and creates more explosive plays later in the game as he gets a better feel for the defense.
Seattle has had at least one running back on the field 86.5 percent of the time. Lynch has the most snaps at 116, followed by Forsett (82) and Washington (26).
“You just get to see a lot of little things,” Lynch said. “You get to key on their reactions, and the way they play. And make them (pay) for what they do. So, I mean, I kind of feel that’s kind of how that goes for a game. You get a feel for what’s going on, and it’s easier that way.”
Added Washington: “Obviously if you don’t get touches, it’s hard to get a feel for it. That’s just natural. So hopefully we can get it going, especially get Marshawn going. He’s so talented running the football, so hopefully we can get that going, and try and have a complete offense, because you can see that we can throw the football.”
CABLE SHOULD MAKE TRIP TO NEW YORK
Seahawks offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable walked gingerly along the sidelines at practice on Wednesday, just over a week after having back surgery.
Cable attended Sunday’s game against Atlanta, but watched from the coaches’ booth. Carroll said that Cable plans on making the trip to New York this week.
“We anticipate being able to do that,” Carroll said. “We already have a plan for how we’re doing that, and for what we’re doing for him outside out there.
“We are getting some cooperation from the other end so that we can take care of him as well, but I’m sure he’s so far ahead of what he should be because he’s being so tough about it.”
LB JAMESON KONZ GETS HIS CHANCE
Seattle linebacker Jameson Konz said he appreciates the opportunity of being on the active roster for the first time in his career. Seattle’s seventh-round draft choice in 2010, Konz was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster this week.
“Definitely,” Konz said. “I mean, you just go out there every day and show them what you can do. And this is the opportunity you wait for. So, yeah, it feels good.
“I think my versatility definitely helped. The fact that I can play multiple positions, special teams and stuff like that. But I have to continually show what I can do and make an impact.”
So, does the converted tight end feel like he’s a defensive player now?
“Yeah, I’m officially a defensive player,” Konz said. “But I still like that I can play wherever they need me, too. So it really doesn’t matter.”
For Seattle, offensive lineman Robert Gallery (groin) is out. Safety Kam Chancellor (quad), defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (hamstring), tight end Zach Miller (knee), linebacker Malcolm Smith (hamstring) and receiver Mike Williams (concussion) did not practice. Cornerback Byron Maxwell (ankle) was limited in practice. ... For New York, cornerback Prince Amukamara (foot), center David Baas (neck), linebacker Michael Boley (knee), running back Brandon Jacobs (knee), defensive end Justin Tuck (groin/neck) and cornerback Corey Webster (personal) did not practice. Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (ribs) and defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee) were limited.