Defining Expectations For 2013: Marshawn Lynch

Dec 23, 2012, Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) rushes against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

I was planning on saving Marshawn Lynch for much later in this series, but then I read this article by ESPN’s John Clayton and it got me thinking. Clayton mentions briefly that he expects Marshawn Lynch to begin his slow age-related decline next season, though he only expects Lynch to lose about 200 yards of production over the course of the year.

Oddly, while I agree with Clayton that Lynch will likely be less productive in 2013 than he was in 2012, I don’t at all agree on the reasoning as to why that’ll happen. I also expect a larger decrease in production than what Clayton predicted.

Personally, I don’t buy that Lynch is ready to begin declining to do age. We’re a full season too early to begin considering that. There are lots of factors that go into when a RB begins declining, and age is only one of them.

More important is the wear and tare the RB’s body has taken. There have been plenty of studies that have shown that the number of carries a RB has had is a better predictor than age for when the RB will begin declining. Thanks to the Bills giving up on Lynch early in his carrier, his total number of carries is rather low for a RB at his age.

The other major factor in determining when a RB starts his decline is major injuries. Basically, the more injuries a RB has had, the sooner you can expect them to start showing signs of aging. Lynch has been amazingly durable throughout his career, and has none of the injuries that would lead to a early decline in ability.

Put those 2 factors together, and I just don’t expect to see Lynch begin any major age related decline anytime soon.

What I do expect to see is a reasonable reduction in Lynch’s workload. He has battled a chronic back problem since before he joined the Seahawks, and the team can manage that problem by decreasing his number of carries. Lynch also wore down a bit by the end 2012, and the Seahawks will want him able to unleash his full power “beast mode” in the playoffs, and that will require a decrease in the number of carries Lynch will get in the regular season.

This is where Christine Michael comes in. His selection in the 2nd round of the draft signaled that Lynch was likely to have to give up a few of his carries in 2013. This will happen in some games more than others, but Michael will get his carries, and they’ll take a toll on Lynch’s stats.

It doesn’t even have to be a large number of carries to have a major impact. If Michael gets 5 just carries per game on average, that’s 80 on the season. That’s also about 350 yards of production that he’ll take away from Lynch.

If you take that number from Lynch’s 2012 stats, you end up with 1240 rushing yards. That is still a decent season, and it’s about what I expect from Lynch in 2012. That’s a big drop from the 1590 yards Lynch had last year, and also significantly less that the 1400 predicted for 2013 by Clayton. It’s also wont be a sign that Lynch is in some sort of age-related decline.

The Seahawks are at their best when Lynch is at his best. You know it. I know it. The Seahawks know it. Expect the Seahawks to make sure that he is at his best when the playoffs begin.

Topics: Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

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  • jimpassi

    that makes sence i am guessing the rooky will get about 10 carrys a game
    like i said before he should go to gorge beppu he will fix him up in 30 minutes
    1600 washington st just off yesler
    i fell off my roof & was all outa shape he fixed me up in 30 minutes
    you will think hes killing ya but you will be like you felt when you were 18
    i am not kidding try him out he works on you from head to foot in 30 minutes

    • SkeleTony X

      Dude, AGAIN…you have to make some sort of effort when trying to communicate textually. Use the Firefox browser which has a built in spellchecker (will underline words you misspell with a red squiggle) or keep a tab open to an online dictionary. We literally cannot make out what you are trying to say because of the jumbled mess of poor spelling and atrocious grammar.

  • Squanto

    Jim You Sound Incredibly Stupid. I Bet That Didn’t Happen From Falling Off A Roof… Go Hawks!

  • SkeleTony X

    The age at which RBs begin their age related decline is around 27-28. I used to laugh playing fantasy football all those years and people would go with the common wisdom that ’30′ was the age at which the decline begins. I won so many championships just by avoiding Marshall Faulk (in 2002 when I knew his decline would begin) and taking a younger up-and-comer instead.

    • 12thMan_Rising

      Faulk is a good example. His carries were in line with his peers, but he had many touches because of receptions out of the backfield. He took a ton of extra hits, and that led to an early decline.

  • Hawkman54

    I agree . I have read a couple of places where studies have been done and it is totally realated to the beating( or carries) not the age.

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