Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says the team will have to be careful with Thomas Rawls in his first full game back from a broken ankle suffered last December.
Anyone hoping for clarity from the Seahawks on how they plan to use running backs Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael Sunday against Miami was left still searching for an answer.
Coach Pete Carroll said that Rawls — who played just one series and got two carries in the preseason — is ready to go but that his snaps could be limited to make sure that he his surgically repaired ankle can handle the workload that the team gives him.
“Just in the amount of plays,” Carroll said Wednesday when asked if there are any limitations on Rawls. “It’s the second preseason game for him, if you look at it that way, and we’re trying to take care of him, as we’ve said all along, in every way that we can. We’re just going to watch and see how he does and how he handles it, that’s all. Just see how he handles it, that would be his only restriction, is how he’s taking the rigors of the game.”
That desire to make sure Rawls is ready for “the rigors of the game” also likely played into why the team listed Christine Michael first on the team’s depth chart at tailback this week.
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Michael has been a workhorse throughout the off-season program and the preseason, never appearing to miss anything due to an injury.
For those really anxious to see how the carries get split (i.e. fantasy players) the first week, then, may not provide the clearest sense of where things are headed once the team feels no need to limit Rawls’ snaps.
Carroll, though, gave what might be a disconcerting answer for those seeking real clarity when asked if he has any set philosophy about how to use tailbacks — whether to go by committee or ride the hot hand.
Carroll said either is fine with him though he noted he has had success going with multiple backs in the past, notably the Reggie Bush-LenDale White years at USC.
“Basically, I think you get a couple guys and you get going so you can feed off those guys,” Carroll said. “I think our days at USC really showed that, that you have multiple guys that could play with different strengths, and sometimes a guy was more effective on one day than the other guys. We never played the favorites, we just played the guy that was hot. I think the ability to mix guys gives us more flexibility and a higher level of play. But I do really appreciate the guy that just needs to be out there and stay out there and just keep digging and gets more instinctive as the game goes on. I’ve got that understanding too, but I think all in all over the course of the long season that we have, I think it’s better to have guys that can feed off one another and I’ve always enjoyed that, I have no problem with it.”
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said of Rawls and Jimmy Graham, the latter of whom appears increasingly likely to play Sunday, that “they’re not going to go 70 plays, we know that we have to monitor what they’re going to do. But we just want to see them out there and build on the progress that they’ve made.”
And like Carroll, Bevell said that when any limitations are off of Rawls, the Seahawks will continue to try to find ways to use both Rawls and Michael as much as makes sense within the confines of the offense.
“I think we are always trying to use the skill sets of the guys that we have,” Bevell said. “We have some really good, dynamic players on our offense, whether it’s Thomas Rawls, which we’ve seen, just the tenacity with which he runs, C. Mike, he’s just grown so much, and he’s really shown himself really well in these four preseason games. He’s done everything that we’ve asked of him, so I like that. Then we have C.J. [Prosise] that’s another type of athlete, that’s going to give us some different things when we’re able to use him. You’re going to see different guys at different times. But it remains to be seen how it’s going to shake out when everyone is at their full strengths.”