by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There are few backs that have carried the load for their teams like Marshawn Lynch has over the past three seasons. Just look at what he’s done
Regular Season – 285 carries, 28 receptions
Total Touches – 313
Regular Season – 315 carries, 23 receptions
Postseason – 36 carries, 4 receptions
Total Touches – 378
Regular Season – 301 carries, 36 receptions
Postseason – 65 carries, 1 reception
Total Touches – 403
So, for the past three seasons Marshawn Lynch has gotten 1,094 touches. Soon to be 28-years old, you have to wonder how much wear and tear that type of workload is going to have on him. The fact is we have seen backs breakdown from that type of workload.
One recent example is Maurice Jones-Drew, who received 1,084 touches in his age 24-26 seasons. Injury then struck in 2012, limiting him, and he was hardly the same player when he returned in 2013.
Arian Foster is another example, with a workload of 1,243 touches in his age 24-26 seasons. He was then sidelined for much of 2013 due to injury and it remains to be seen how he responds.
Are the big workloads the direct cause of the injuries to Jones-Drew and Foster? We obviously can’t say with any certainty, but there is no question that it doesn’t help and could be a contributing factor.
At the very least, it’s possible that the Seahawks start utilizing their other running backs more than they have in the past in an effort to keep Lynch healthy. Selected in the second round of the 2013 draft, Christine Michael figures to be the beneficiary of increased playing time.
Interestingly enough, prior to last year’s draft Walter Football actually compared him to Lynch, saying (click here for the full scouting report):
“Michael is identical in size to Lynch (5-11, 215) and they have similar running styles. Both players combine power, physicality and quickness. Lynch was a first-round pick, and Michael has first-round talent, but will fall to the second day.”
We will dive into Michael more in the future, but his presence obviously would allow the Seahawks to rest Lynch while keeping the overall game plan in tact.
The Seahawks will also benefit from having a healthy Percy Harvin, adding another dimension to their offense and giving them a viable option through the air. It’s just another thing to keep in mind, as the team could easily put the ball in Russell Wilson’s hands a bit more often.
Is Lynch one of the better running backs in the game? Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have reservations heading into the season. With a potential reduced workload (especially with a young back who can seamlessly step in), potential injury concerns and an increased passing attack, Lynch is shaping up as a player to avoid in the first round. There’s significant risk that he ultimately is a first round bust in 2014.
Sources – ESPN, Walter Football