When Seahawks coaches assess the long view of what they have seen from Michael in training camp and the preseason, they say the positives have outweighed the negatives.
RENTON — When Christine Michael fumbled in the Seahawks’ preseason-opening loss to Denver, he said he didn’t consider the broader implications that likely jumped into the minds of many others watching.
He said he didn’t worry, for instance, that a fumble might set an ominous tone for an exhibition season regarded as critical to his future with the team.
Instead, he jogged back to the sideline and thought about what was next.
“Just taking a play at a time,’’ he said. “Not worrying about previous plays.’’
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And in the eyes of the coaches, that might have been as significant as the fumble was to others.
The Seahawks have never questioned the ability of Michael, whose skills so enticed the team it made the rather surprising move to take him with its top pick in the 2013 draft, in the second round (No. 62 overall).
But displaying that talent consistently and mastering the nuances of the game such as blocking have limited Michael’s role in his first two seasons (as well as the continued superb play of starter Marshawn Lynch).
“For him, it’s about becoming more dependable, doing stuff consistently,’’ running-backs coach Sherman Smith said. “That’s always been his Achilles’ heel. The physical talent is there, absolutely no question about that. But we want him to become more dependable and more accountable.’’
A fumble obviously runs counter to the idea of being more dependable.
But when Seahawks coaches assess the long view of what they have seen from Michael in training camp and the exhibition season, they say the positives have outweighed the negatives.
Coach Pete Carroll pointed to a few blocks Michael made in the second exhibition game against Kansas City as evidence. One block resulted in a broken rib for Kansas City linebacker Dee Ford. On another, Michael stepped up in pass protection and helped buy R.J. Archer time to complete a 25-yard pass to Tyler Lockett.
“That’s an illustration that his game is rounding out and he’s doing a nice job,’’ Carroll said.
Said Michael: “I feel more comfortable in pass protection now. I know my guys (to block). It’s easy to me, just studying it and knowing who the line has and who I have.’’
In fact, to hear Carroll tell it, the idea that Michael is battling free agents Thomas Rawls and Rod Smith for a roster spot — a popular media, talk show and social media discussion topic — might be off base.
Asked Monday if Rawls and Smith were pushing Michael, Carroll said: “Well, they’re just kind of trying to make it, they’re just trying to hang right now. I don’t know if they are pushing anybody but themselves right now.’’
Michael said he hasn’t paid attention to the debate about his future, nor the talk about whether he has yet to live up to expectations. Michael has 254 yards on 52 carries in two seasons working behind Lynch, which has caused many observers to wonder if the team still regards him as its tailback of the future. He could help answer that question with some good performances in the exhibition season, when Lynch typically does little to nothing.
“Those were my learning years to just get out there and learn from the guys that are out there,’’ he said of the past two seasons.
Michael has indeed received a lot of work this preseason — a team-high 17 carries. He’s gained just 42 yards. But Carroll said that’s more a function of a still-developing line not giving him much room to run.
“He ran the ball well when he had his chances,’’ Carroll said. “When he had an opportunity he hit it really well.”
Baldwin calls Chancellor holdout ‘price of success’
The holdout of strong safety Kam Chancellor reached 26 days Tuesday. There’s no apparent end in sight and no indications Tuesday of any thawing in the stalemate between the sides.
Receiver Doug Baldwin said after practice Tuesday that he talks to Chancellor every day and remains hopeful that something will get done soon.
“I know exactly what he’s doing,’’ Baldwin said. “I support Kam Chancellor as a person. I know what he stands for. I know it’s a difficult time, both for the organization and for him. It’s part of what this team is. It’s the price of success. It’s the talent here — so many guys that want to get paid that need to get paid. It’s the price of success. I’m always optimistic.’’
• Pro Football Talk reported Tuesday that running back Marshawn Lynch was fined $75,000 for not talking to the media following the NFC Championship Game in January, a fine not previously revealed. The report said Lynch will appeal the fine Thursday.