Is Christine Michael ready for an expanded Role in Seattle?

christine-michael-seattleSeattle has no shortage of depth at running back. For starters, they feature Pro-Bowler Marshawn Lynch, who racked up 1,257 rushing yards and 12 TDs while starting in the backfield. They also have Robert Turbin, a multi-purpose back who gained over 500 total yards on the 2013 season. That said, there was little need to play rookie Christine Michael during the Seahawks’ championship run last season.

Now, this isn’t to say that Michael wasn’t deserving of playing time. The bruising 5’10”, 221-pound player out of Texas A&M runs a 4.43 forty and has the moves and power to be a great NFL tailback. But buried behind two veterans like Turbin and Lynch, Michael only managed 18 carries for 79 yards.

Coming off of what was akin to a redshirt season, Michael may force his way onto the field this time around. So if you’re interested in 2014 Seattle Seahawks betting, you’ll want to take into account how loaded this second-year man makes the team’s backfield.

Fitting in

He’s already been shining in OTAs, ripping off a number of impressive runs that have writers talking about the 23-year-old. Of course, this is nothing new to Seattle since they knew he had talent, taking him with their highest pick (62nd overall) in the 2013 Draft, despite already having two strong backs. But what’s really impressed coach Pete Carroll is the strides that Michael has been making in other areas.

christine-michael-seattle-1“We have very high expectations for him,” Carroll said. “He’s going to get a ton of work. He’s just a million miles ahead of where he was in terms of understanding what we want scheme-wise, pass protection-wise, route-wise and we know he’s a natural runner. He’s got explosive talent and we just want to get him to fit in.”

As Seattle running backs coach Sherman Smith points out, the only thing keeping Michael off the field more is a typical roadblock for many young players – understanding the NFL intricacies. “For Christine, it’s just the development that he has to go through,” Smith said. “You see the physical part of his game, there’s no question about that. It’s the mental part where most guys have to develop.”

What to expect from Michael in 2014

Smith has made it clear that Lynch is the starter, and for good reason too. “Beast Mode” is in the prime of his career and showed no signs of decline last season. But as for Turbin, well, Michael definitely has a shot to steal work – or outright take the backup role – from the fourth-year veteran.

A big reason why Turbin backed up Lynch is because he had a better understanding of the offense and is a strong blocker. But judging from Carroll’s comments, Michael seems to have improved in these areas. And even if he’s not quite as good of a blocker as Turbin, he could still usurp the latter’s role.

The idea behind drafting Michael was that he’d be the franchise’s running back of the future. So Seattle will definitely be looking to groom him more in 2014. And it’s not entirely crazy to think that he could be starting in 2015, given that Lynch is 28 and would add $9 million to the salary cap in two years. But first thing’s first, and that is for Michael to get some meaningful playing time this season.