With Marshawn Lynch sitting out two exhibition games to rest a nagging back injury in anticipation of the team’s season opener at Arizona, rookie running back Robert Turbin has shouldered the load for the Seattle Seahawks.
Turbin has proved he’s more than ready to take on a majority of the carries if Lynch is unavailable. Turbin is fourth in the league during preseason play with 151 yards on 34 carries, an average gain of 4.4 yards.
Turbin got his first start against Kansas City on Friday, darting through the Chiefs for 93 yards on 14 carries, including a 25-yard touchdown run.
The Seahawks drafted Turbin in the fourth round this year out of Utah State to serve as a change-of-pace back to the bullish Lynch.
So far, the experiment of drafting Turbin has worked to perfection.
Seattle is averaging 184 rushing yards a contest, second overall in the league in preseason.
“He’s a really good football player,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “And I’m so happy with the draft pick. We went out to get somebody who could complement Marshawn and give us more hard-nosed running. And he’s shown us exactly that. We have no problem with him in that role.”
Turbin said he thinks he has made progress since the team’s rookie minicamp in May. He has improved his anticipation of where the holes will open in offensive line coach Tom Cable’s zone blocking scheme.
“There were some plays where I kind of caught myself second guessing once I got into the secondary,” Turbin said. “But I’ve always got to keep in mind that the fastest way to get into the end zone is running north and south. So I’ve just got to keep that in mind, and keep working hard and practicing hard – keep taking the coaching, and I’ll get better.”
Turbin also said he’s doing a better job of understanding the team’s complex pass-protection schemes, something that can take a while for rookies to pick up.
“One of the great things is, I remember coming in at rookie minicamp and trying to figure out who I was supposed to block on certain protections, and all the different protections that we had,” he said. “And I can remember talking to my buddies and telling them how sometimes it gets confusing with all of these different protections that we have, and who you’re supposed to block.
“But it’s starting to come along now. So I feel real good with it.”
Turbin has someone to share his experiences with in rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. The two players are roommates, which gives them a chance to talk through questions each has had with the offense.
“I get to sit down and talk to Turbin all the time,” Wilson said. “We talk back and forth about where we want to go, and where we are at this current moment and just trying to grow.
“Turbin has so much talent. He can catch the ball extremely well. He obviously can run the football with some force. He can make some moves and make people miss, as you saw (Friday). So I think the thing about him is just his work ethic is relentless. I think that’s the key for him.”
Seattle general manager John Schneider and Carroll have to make their first roster cuts by 1 p.m. Monday, narrowing the team’s 89-man roster down to 75. After Seattle’s final exhibition game, Thursday against Oakland, the Seahawks will have to cut down to the final, 53-man roster by Friday. … Rookie seventh-round draft choice Greg Scruggs is tied for sixth in the league in exhibition play with three sacks. … The Seahawks are tops in the league in scoring, averaging 33 points a game in the preseason. … Seattle has allowed an average of 13.7 points a contest, third-best in the email@example.com 253-597-8437 blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @eric_d_williams