Marshawn Lynch: Seahawks RB's Presence Will Be Critical vs. Cardinals

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2012

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 24:  Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field on December 24, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The 49ers defeated the Seahawks 19-17. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks are getting a lot of buzz right now as a potential sleeper team in the NFC West. With Russell Wilson, a rookie quarterback, taking snaps right out of the gate, Pete Carroll's offense is going to rely heavily on Marshawn Lynch

There is some good news on that front, as Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that Lynch is going to play in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals

Marshawn Lynch is expected to play, though Seattle will be mindful of the workload it gives him with his back spasms.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 9, 2012

That is not exactly the most optimistic diagnosis for a player, which makes it hard to know what the Seahawks are going to do today. Lynch is, pardon the pun, the lynchpin of the Seahawks' offense. He is the straw that stirs the drink. 

Prognosticators believe the Seahawks have a chance in the NFC West because of their defense, Russell Wilson's presence and poise, and Marshawn Lynch's emergence as a legitimate No. 1 running back last year. 

It also helps that the NFC West is a barren wasteland of talent once you get past San Francisco, a team that has plenty of flaws. 

But the Seahawks are taking gambles that not a lot of other franchises would be willing to make. They signed Matt Flynn this offseason, yet are going with a third-round rookie out of Wisconsin who doesn't have the prototypical quarterback build. 

With so much being made about Wilson's debut as the starter vs. a solid Cardinals secondary that boasts future superstar Patrick Peterson, the easiest way to take the focus off him is to establish the run. 

Since Lynch is likely to be limited, he has to make the touches he does get count. Of course, with a back injury, running is extremely difficult. If he can't get loose a couple of times to at least make the Cardinals respect the run, the Seahawks are going to have a difficult time moving the ball in this game. 

The Seahawks are building something special on defense. They are far ahead of where the offense is at this point, but a healthy Lynch can close that gap and help the Seahawks meet and/or exceed expectations, depending on how you feel about them. 

Since the Cardinals are the first team on the schedule, Lynch will have to take advantage of this situation to make sure the Seahawks get off on the right foot.