Seattle Seahawks tape study: Robert Turbin and a missed touchdown


Robert Turbin is a great backup running back for the Seattle Seahawks. His receiving skills and blitz pickup abilities make him an ideal third-down back. Unfortunately, Turin’s running skills keep him from being an every-down back in the NFL.

A great example of what troubles him came in the first quarter of last Friday’s preseason game against the Denver Broncos. Turbin had a path to the end zone, but his inability to properly read the blocking cost the Seahawks a touchdown.

The blocking on this play is pretty straightforward. Justin Britt, Luke Wilson, Doug Baldwin and FB Brandon Cottom lead, while JR Sweezy and everyone to his left seal the inside. The result is a hole through the B-gap.

This isn’t inside zone. There’s no attempt to extend the defense laterally or create cutback opportunities. This is about as basic of a run play as they come.

When Turbin gets the ball, the play-side blocking is still a bit jumbled. Cotton and Baldwin haven’t engaged their defenders, but the interior line is already getting their defenders turned.

The play is designed to follow the red line. The yellow line is the path that Turbin ultimately takes.

As Tubin get closer to the hole, the blocking has developed. There’s a clear path to the end zone if Turbin run through the hole as the play is designed.

Instead, he cuts back to his left where there are two unblocked defenders. By going in that direction, the blocking on the inside is actually pushing some of the blocked defenders into his path.

A step later it is easy to see how much of a mistake he made. Turbin gets stopped for no gain, but if he’d read his blocking correctly it likely would have been a touchdown.

Here is the play in real time. You can clearly see that if Turbin doesn’t cut back inside, he gets to the goal line before anyone gets a hand on him.

This isn’t just a problem on one play. These kinds of mistake have plagued Turbin his entire career. He is a physically gifted player who will never be as productive running the ball as many similar players.

Given his role in the offense, that is something the Seahawks can live with. The Seahawks have created a role for Turbin that fits his skill set, which is why we see him in the two-minute drill and on third and long.

It is simply importantly to keep in mind that Turbin is not Marshawn Lynch insurance. If Lynch gets hurt, Seattle needs someone else who can carry the running game.

That is why it is so important that one of the Michael, Rawls, Smith trio shows that they can carry the load. Turbin has his role, and can handle a series or two in a game, but that’s it.

If Lynch is missing for an extended period, someone else is going to have to step up and carry Seattle’s offense.

Next: Does Seattle need to sign Evan Mathis?

More from 12th Man Rising