Why Marshawn Lynch Is Seattle Seahawks' Most Important Player in 2012

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Why Marshawn Lynch Is Seattle Seahawks' Most Important Player in 2012
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Lynch's role will expand in 2012

Marshawn Lynch played an extremely crucial role for the 2011 Seattle Seahawks.

However, in 2012, Lynch will be the team’s most important player.

If the Seahawks want to be successful and head coach Pete Carroll wants to get more than seven wins, Lynch must be the focal point of the offense.

He posted career-highs in carries (285), rushing yards (1,204) and rushing touchdowns (12) in 2011, while the Seahawks only posted a 7-9 record.

After the season, the Hawks signed Lynch to a four-year deal worth $31 million with $18 million guaranteed.

With the rest of the NFL moving towards a more pass-friendly league, Seattle relies on their running game to be successful, and Lynch is the catalyst of their offense.

Last season, the Hawks ran the ball 44 percent of the time, with Lynch receiving about 65 percent of those carries. In the grand scheme of the offense, Lynch was responsible for 31 percent of their plays.

Obviously, he plays a crucial role in what Seattle was trying to accomplish, and his usage rate could improve in 2012.

Furthermore, Lynch may play a bigger role next year, as he settles into the Hawks offense. Next season will only be his second full season in the Emerald City.

With the Seahawks unsure of who will be under center in 2012, Lynch provides an insurance plan for the team, as he will surely alleviate the burden of carrying the load offensively.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Regardless of who is starting at quarterback next year, Lynch can be counted on for about 20 touches per game.

After Lynch added mass while in Buffalo, he seemed to drop those excess pounds when he got to Seattle.

The smaller, sleek Lynch then flourished in Darrell Bevell’s offense, posting 13 total touchdowns en route to his second Pro Bowl.

With Lynch already accustomed to the offense, the Hawks could be poised to make a playoff run.

ESPN’s Tedy Bruschi also agreed that Lynch would be a major contributor for the Hawks in 2012, as he said on Sportscenter that Lynch would be the NFC West MVP.

The NFC West features the league’s best team against the run in San Francisco, so Lynch would need a monster campaign to live up to Bruschi’s comments.

However, if anyone is due for a monster season, it’s Lynch.

After he ranked seventh in the NFL in rushing last season, Lynch should be a top-5 back in 2012. He’ll be more comfortable, and with more help along the offensive line, Lynch could see his solid 2011 numbers continue to improve.

He is an old-school back that makes his money between the tackles, and Seattle will rely on a power running game to be successful next season.

Although the majority of the NFL is turning towards becoming pass-first offenses, the Seahawks will rely on winning with “Beast Mode” handling the rock.

With the Hawks young, fast defense slowing down opposing offenses, Seattle should be able to dominate time of possession by handing the ball off to Lynch 20 times a game.

By slowing down the game and keeping the opposing offense off the field, the Seahawks should improve in 2012.

Lynch is pivotal to the Seahawks relative success or failure in 2012.

But after what he showed last season, Hawks fans have every reason to believe that “Money” Lynch will be running wild against defenses next year.

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