Seattle Seahawks: Leon Washington Provides Big-Play Ability for Seattle

Todd WilliamsCorrespondent IAugust 23, 2010

SEATTLE - AUGUST 21:  Running back Leon Washington #33 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes during the preseason game against Desmond Bishop #55 of the Green Bay Packers at Qwest Field on August 21, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Pete Carroll has made an instant impact on the Seahawks this summer. The players are taking to his positive attitude and always compete philosophy.

When Carroll spoke of improving the running game, he brought in one of the most well respected offensive line coaches, Alex Gibbs, and drafted what should be the future star of the line in Russell Okung.

That was the most high profile move in demonstrating a focus on improving the run, but a move that might just be the most bang for their buck was the acquisition of Leon Washington from the New York Jets.

Leon was brought in for a fifth-round pick, which considering his abilities, was a steal of a deal. As always, there is a reason he was able to fall into the Seahawks lap. After leading the league in all-purpose yards in 2008, Washington suffered a compound fracture to his fibula in 2009 after Week Seven.

This made Washington expendable, and no one was sure if he would be able to compete at the high level he did previously. In his four year career Washington has rushed for over 1.782 yards, going for 13 touchdowns.

Washington is also a threat out of the backfield as a receiver, having put up 969 yards on 123 receptions. He was also an effective kick returner, garnering pro bowl honors for that role in 2008, a year in which he had 2,332 combined yards.

Seattle took the chance that Washington would be able to heal, and become an explosive element in their new offense for 2010. Leon is already ahead of schedule, as he participated in the second preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.

In his Seahawks debut he showed that speed and playmaking ability by rushing for an 11-yard touchdown. On the night he carried the ball four times for 4.8 yards a carry, which just happens to be his career rushing average.

It is too early to say if he can remain healthy enough to make an impact through the year. He is not going to be Seattle’s every down back, but rather a situational third down type back that can provide that home run threat that the rest of the running backs on the roster lack. Only once in his career has he posted over 100 carries, in which he had his lowest yards per carry average.

Justin Forsett will do the heavy lifting after showing his abilities last year when given a chance. The new zone blocking scheme fits Forsett's style perfectly and he looks set to have a solid season. Although in his limited carries in the preseason haven’t wowed anyone, it looks to be his job going into the season.

The one two punch of Forsett and Washington gives the Seahawks the potential to have a much stronger running attack than in 2009. If Washington can stay healthy, he will provide that homerun threat.