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Published: Thursday, December 15, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

Seahawks hope focus on run game sheds 'soft' image

Since game in Dallas, Seattle's offense has redefined itself as physical, run-first

  • Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) breaks the ball to the outside in the first quarter of a win against Philadelphia earlier this season. Lynch...

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) breaks the ball to the outside in the first quarter of a win against Philadelphia earlier this season. Lynch has been the central figure in Seattle's recent commitment to the run.

RENTON -- Not many teams can say they turned a corner with a 10-point loss, but history may show that the Seahawks did just that.
Sure Seattle's win over Baltimore was the first of four victories in five weeks, but if this little stretch of success turns out to be the beginning of a Seahawks resurgence, the real turning point just might have come a week before that win over the Ravens as the Seahawks were preparing for what would end up being a double-digit loss in Dallas.
Pete Carroll has never made a secret of the fact that he wants to run the ball, and hiring former Raiders coach Tom Cable to run the offensive line was designed to make the Seahawks a better running team. But with a young line that, thanks to the NFL lockout, didn't have a regular offseason worth of workouts to come together as a cohesive unit, Seattle struggled to run the ball.
Through seven games, Seattle ranked second to last in the league in rushing, and with the run game struggling, had fluctuated back and forth between running a no-huddle offense. Prior to that game in Dallas, Cable, Carroll and the rest of the offensive coaches got together and a made a decision -- no matter how it turned out, the Seahawks were going to run the ball. They were going to have an identity as a physical, run-oriented offense.
"I brought it to them and I said, 'Let's stop what we're doing here, let's think about the thought of going back to what we wanted to do,'" Carroll said. "This is what it really came down to, regardless of what the results are, let's do it the way we want to do it and the way we feel best about it."
Seattle rushed for 162 yards in that game, including 135 from running back Marshawn Lynch, and while the Seahawks didn't win that day, they may have found a long-lasting formula. Seattle has rushed for 100 yards or more in every game since then, marking the first time since 1996 that the Seahawks have rushed for 100 yards in six consecutive games.
"You knew it was coming a little bit before then, but that was the first time we'd really rolled up our sleeves and went after it and stayed true to what we said we were going to do," Cable said of the Dallas game. "So yeah, we definitely found it ... To say you're going to be a running team, it's a commitment thing, because sometimes you don't want to watch 3-yard runs, and yet, if you're winning, that's all anybody cares about."
Leading the way has been Lynch, who is enjoying the best stretch of his career having rushed for more than 100 yards in five of his past six games and scored a touchdown in nine straight games. With 969 rushing yards, Lynch is almost certain to become Seattle's first 1,000-yard rusher since Shaun Alexander in 2005. The emergence of Lynch and the running game has not just led to wins, but the formation of a new attitude for the offense.
"His demeanor, his physicality brings that extra edge to this team," said fullback Michael Robinson.
Robinson, whose blocking has been a key element to the run-game success, remembers a different version of the Seahawks when he played against them while a member of the 49ers for four seasons.
Asked what his perception was of the Seahawks back then, Robinson bluntly said, "Soft. Soft."
"When I was there, that was our mindset, that Seattle, they don't want to hit for 60 minutes. We're trying to change that mentality."
By all indications, Seattle's resurgent rushing attack and a Skittles-munching running back have changed that perception of the Seahawks. Lynch's violent running style inspires the rest of the offense, and a gritty line and tough-nosed fullback have the same effect on Lynch.
"That's the mentality that we're all trying to have," Cable said. "He feeds off this group up front and they feed off him. It just goes hand in hand. It's really nice to have a guy that has that violence in him."
Receiver Ricardo Lockette was signed to the 53-man roster off of the practice squad Wednesday. Lockette, a rookie out of Fort Valley State, a Division-II school in Georgia, went undrafted and signed with Seattle prior to training camp. He was released before the start of the season but kept on the practice squad ... Receiver Doug Baldwin was named NFC special teams player of the week for his standout effort against St. Louis. Baldwin opened the game with a 37-yard kickoff return, downed a punt at the 6-yard line, and blocked a punt that Michael Robinson returned for Seattle's first touchdown ... Baldwin (ankle), guard Robert Gallery (hip), linebacker David Hawthorne (knee) and defensive end Raheem Brock (calf) did not practice Wednesday. Linebacker Leroy Hill, who suffered a neck stinger Monday, was able participate fully in practice.
Herald Writer John Boyle: For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at
Story tags » Seahawks

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