Seahawks' coaches say running back Thomas Rawls has to get back to running with patience to become the same runner he was a year ago.
Whether Thomas Rawls plays Sunday against the 49ers may still be in question after the running back was listed as not participating in practice on Wednesday.
Rawls is working to get back from a strain suffered when he was kicked in the shin last Sunday at Los Angeles.
But when Rawls does return, the Seahawks want him also get back to being the runner he was a year ago when he rushed for 830 yards and averaged 5.6 yards per carry.
So far this year Rawls has 25 yards on 19 carries, 1.3 per attempt.
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And while the blocking has at times been to blame, coach Pete Carroll, offensive line coach Tom Cable and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell each said Wednesday that Rawls also bears some of the burden.
Each chimed in with varying descriptions that could essentially be boiled down to wanting Rawls to stop pressing as much and run with a bit more patience.
“I think Thomas has been a little overexcited about hitting the line of scrimmage,’’ Carroll said. “I think his patience is coming and if we can get him back out this week, I think it will be really important for him to get more carries. He only had seven shots last week, so he can just get his rhythm and get his timing down. He’s had the least amount of work, so he just needs to be out there a little bit more.’’
Cable said he thought both Rawls and Christine Michael were a bit off their games early before Michael was able to rebound later in the game — Rawls left with his injury in the second quarter.
“I thought they both pressed,’’ Cable said. “Christine seemed to settle down the most. Thomas and I talked about it, just being able to relax. You can be explosive when you are calm and he’s trying to do too much, as a lot of guys are.’’
Cable said one issue has been getting enough touches for Rawls to feel comfortable.
Rawls was sort of up against it from the start Sunday, losing two yards and then nine more on his first two carries of the game. He then had four yards on five more carries before being hurt.
“I just think the most important thing for those guys is let it come to you,’’ Cable said. “You need carries, certainly we are not getting enough of that yet. But that will work itself out as we go. But then once the calmness comes over you, allow yourself to be explosive and see things more naturally.’’
Rawls missed much of the preseason while still recovering from a dislocated ankle suffered last Dec. 13, getting just two snaps in the final game before the regular season.
Some of the traits that helped Rawls get back, though, are also ones he may at times have to fight against on the field.
“I think he’s such a high strung guy, he’s got so much energy and he’s got so much just fierce tenacity inside of him all pent up, and all the time and all the hard work that it took to be able to get back, I think he’s just a little anxious,’’ Bevell said.
“He’s going to be fine. We love him. He’s a big part of what we do. But there are also a little bit of patience that you have to have and let the let the blocks work for you and be able to run off the blocks and he’s still getting there.
“. … It’s something he has. He already has it. We saw it last year — you can get to that point where you are just barely getting back in there and you kind of get over anxious a little bit and we’ve seen it happen before and the game will just slow back down for him and he will see it and he will hit it and feel very confident in doing it.’’