Seahawks running back says better preparation and listening to teammates, not eating Skittles, was the key to his breakout season.
RENTON — The beastly nickname. The Skittles. The punishing running style and consistent production.
What surrounds Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch these days is often hard to miss. The man known on game days by his alter ego, “Beast Mode,” is setting records seemingly at a weekly pace and has already established career bests this season in rushing yards (1,118) and touchdowns (13).
One reward came Tuesday, when the 25-year-old was named second alternate for the Pro Bowl. Many believe he deserved better.
But behind the broken tackles and candy showers in the end zone is something less obvious and more substantial. Lynch attributes much of his success this season to strengthening his commitment to preparation, whether spending more time in film study or just stretching properly.
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“I feel I became a pro this year,” said Lynch, the team’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2005.
The California product credits his backfield mates, fullback Michael Robinson and running backs Leon Washington and Justin Forsett, for helping in that development.
When it comes to taking care of his body, Lynch paid close attention to Washington, Seattle’s return specialist. To prepare himself physically, Washington would often come into work early, perhaps to use the sauna or hot tub.
“Every week I’d ask Leon if he was sore and he’d tell me no, and I understand why,” Lynch said.
It should be no surprise then that Lynch has gotten stronger as the year has gone on. He has surpassed 100 yards rushing in six of the last eight games and his 855 yards since Week 9 is 104 more than his nearest competitor. His 11 straight games with a touchdown is a team record.
More determined preparation has also paid off on the mental side. Robinson, voted first alternate for the Pro Bowl at fullback, said Lynch “never misses a run read.”
Added offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell: “Marshawn comes in and says, ‘Hey, what do I need to do and how can I get better? I want to do it your way.’ And I think it’s kind of carried over and shown on the field.”
Lynch’s attitude — selfless in the locker room, relentless on the field — also inspires teammates, particularly his fullback.
“With some guys you just don’t know. With him, you take pride in blocking for him,” said Robinson.
• Receiver Ben Obomanu and linebacker David Hawthorne did not practice Wednesday because of knee injuries. Coach Pete Carroll said Obomanu will likely be a game-time decision Sunday at Arizona, which could leave the Seahawks with just four healthy receivers. Hawthorne is expected to play.
• Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and linebacker Malcolm Smith practiced in full pads and should be available Sunday. Each missed last week’s game with a concussion. Cornerback Kennard Cox (hamstring injury) was also a full practice participant.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @joshuamayers
Times staff reporter Danny O’Neil
contributed to this report.