RENTON — The second day of Seahawks’ training camp came and went without star tailback Marshawn Lynch.
The team, in fact, removed him from its active 90-player roster Saturday, placing him instead on a reserved/did not report list. It’s a mostly procedural thing, allowing the team to add another player while he’s gone — Lynch can be placed back on the roster when he returns.
In his absence, the perception may exist that the Seahawks will begin to tailor their offense even more to one that will emphasize the talents of quarterback Russell Wilson and a receiving corps that those around the team think may be better than last year’s. It’s easy to assume that the team’s post-Lynch future, whenever that begins, will inevitably become more centered on Wilson and the passing game.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said that’s not necessarily the case.
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Regardless of the personnel, Bevell says Seattle’s philosophy of leading with the run — Seattle’s run-pass ratio last season of 54.79 percent was the highest in the NFL — won’t change much.
“I think our plan has been pretty successful,’’ said Bevell, who didn’t need to mention Seattle’s Super Bowl title last February as proof. “We play great defense, we take great care of the football and we run the football, and that keeps us in games and allows us to exert our will on the opponent, that physical toughness that we like to do … That’s our style and our philosophy and we are going to continue to do that.’’
Bevell, however, makes it clear that Seattle could be an air-it-out team if it desired.
During the dog days of the NFL offseason, one popular debate involved Wilson and whether he’s simply a game-manager who has been handed the keys to a team with a great running game and defense, or whether he truly is a QB who could win a title with his arm.
Bevell says the idea that Wilson couldn’t handle throwing it as much as a Peyton Manning or a Drew Brees is folly. As proof, he points to games such as the playoff loss to Atlanta after the 2012 season when the Seahawks fell down early and Wilson threw for 385 yards, a career high.
“He can definitely handle it,’’ Bevell said. “It’s just that we don’t ask him to do it. We don’t really rely on one player to really carry anything. … it’s just not an offense that we do to drop back 50 times a game. But can we? We absolutely could. Could he handle it? He can absolutely handle it.’’
And while Bevell says to not expect Seattle to change, the feeling around the team is that if the Seahawks find themselves in position to need to throw more, they will be better-equipped to get the job done.
Not only is Wilson entering his third year, but the receiving corps also continues to elicit optimism. Percy Harvin is being counted on for a full, healthy season, and holdovers Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse are each a year more experienced. Draft picks Paul Richardson, expected to add a spread-the-field speed dimension the team has lacked, and Kevin Norwood, a steadier possession-type, have been as advertised.
Then there are a flurry of other receivers, such as Ricardo Lockette and Bryan Walters — who were each on the active roster for the Super Bowl — competing for a potential sixth spot.
Wilson says the receiving corps “has probably so far been our strength. … I believe that we are definitely more explosive this year in terms of the talent that we have on the flank. We have to have some of the fastest receivers (in the NFL). Just watching those guys catching the ball and get going is really impressive.’’
Wilson, in fact, said he “gets excited every time I step into the huddle’’ because of what he has seen out of the team’s receivers.
Still, he says he’s fine with the team’s run-heavy philosophy, even if it keeps his stats in check.
“I want to win another Super Bowl,’’ he said. “So to do that we’ll do whatever it takes.’’
As for what he can improve in his third season, Wilson said he is working on having more patience and balance, “staying strong in the pocket,’’ he said.
He’s also come up with a new motto, he said.
“It’s not that I can’t miss (with his passes), it’s that I won’t miss,’’ he said. “That’s just got to be my mentality all the time, just keeping belief in every throw.’’
However many there are.