For about a half-decade, the Seahawks did not need to worry about finding someone capable of running the football. Between 2001 and 2005, Shaun Alexander averaged 1,770 total yards of offense and nearly 20 touchdowns per season.
Regardless of how you feel about Shaun Alexander, you can’t deny his production.
Unfortunately, the Seahawks have not had a consistent threat at running back since Shaun Alexander’s demise. Maurice Morris, Julius Jones, T.J. Duckett, and several others have been unable to excite fans or intimidate opposing defenses.
The Seattle Seahawks never found a replacement for Alexander. Until now.
Justin Forsett could be the next big thing in Seattle. Maybe not an MVP-caliber back, but definitely productive and dynamic.
According to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, Forsett is one of ten players who could be primed for a breakout season in the NFL:
"Forsett, in his third season out of Cal, is everything LenDale White wasn’t — undersized, dedicated, productive, and an instant Pete Carroll favorite.The Seahawks had the league’s 26th-ranked running game last season, but they might have been much more effective had they put the ball in Forsett’s hands. The 5-foot-8, 194-pound back averaged 5.4 yards in 114 carries with four touchdowns, and caught 41 balls out of the backfield. He was far more explosive than Julius Jones, who was limited to fewer than 50 yards in more than half of his starts last season."
Forsett was impressive in limited action last season, and several fans were disappointed he wasn’t given more of an opportunity. With a crowded backfield heading into training camp, however, Forsett could be stuck in a limited role again this season.
But if Farmer is accurate in his assessment and Forsett has become an “instant Pete Carroll favorite,” is it possible he could shoot up the depth chart and receive a majority of carries in Seattle?
Of course, the additional workload would be warranted. Not only was Forsett impressive last season, according to ProFootballFocus.com, he was the most “elusive” back in the National Football League. Ahead of backs like Jonathan Stewart, Pierre Thomas, Ray Rice, and Adrian Peterson, Forsett was by far the most elusive:
"The toughest back to bring down in 2009 by our study was Forsett… Forsett was noticeably shifty and tough as a runner and receiver, and it will be interesting to see where he fits in 2010, with Seattle having added LenDale White and Leon Washington in the offseason."
I’m not sure Forsett is a prototypical workhorse, but he could become Seattle’s first option at running back. If Forsett earns the majority of touches in Seattle, he could experience a breakout season.
Farmer’s assessment has me even more excited for training camp.