When I first heard the news that the Seahawks were on the verge of signing running back Edgerrin James, I felt a slight sense of glee. Finally my team might be heading in the right direction. After all, the running game has been anything but great since the 2005 season.
But after reviewing all the facts, does the 31-year-old back still have some yards left in him?
What happened to this one-two punch with T.J. Duckett and Julius Jones? Did Tim Ruskell reach too far into his past by trying to turn Detroit flop into a feature back? Did they miss on Jones, who seemed to flourish on Qwest’s field turf?
Clearly the rushing attack was suffering on the guy who has set the standard for six-packs. But unfortunately, a hard body doesn’t gain you yards or run through holes. Jones was working out just fine until he caught “Tiki Barber Syndrome” and couldn’t hold onto the football. Duckett wasn’t worth it and Jones has not been fully trusted, but is James the answer?
James is coming off his worst season statistically, yet he still managed to rush for 514 yards in 13 games last year. In 2006 and 2007 he rushed for over 1,000 yards on two terrible Arizona teams. He has set the standard for gaining tough yards and being a versatile back that can catch balls out of the backfield.
My impression of the James signing isn’t that Ruskell is trying to reach and resurrect the career of a fallen star, he is bringing a proven veteran to give the Seahawks something they have not had: stability.
There has been much talk about how a 31-year-old running back will hold up, as he has taken his share of beatings. This doesn’t concern me with Edge; he is coming onto a team where he is not the featured back which limits his carries and thus expanding his season.
James is also a well liked teammate. He doesn’t divide a locker room, much like T.O. does. He allows the Seahawks to build some team chemistry. He also has a six-pack to challenge even T.J. Duckett’s title.
James also the ability to sustain drives. He has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He has the ability to give the Seahawks a consistent running game.
The question isn’t will he do it, the question is can he do it.