If there has been one constant regarding the Seahawks of the last two years, it would be that both of them were short one Shaun Alexander.
Alexander was the main focal point of the best days of Seattle football, he was that one guy that other team's defensive coordinators had to plan for and could never seem to stop. Alexander, the one-time record holder of touchdowns in a season by a running back. A few injuries and some angry fans later, we no longer had the luxury of featuring a big, fast and strong runner who had great football instincts.
For two seasons we tried to fill the void with a combination of Julius Jones, Justin Forsett, TJ Duckett, Maurice Morris and Leon Washington among a few other names.
Shaun Alexander stood at 5'11" and weighed 225 lbs., and in his prime once he hit top speed, trying to stop him could be compared to standing in front of a steaming locomotive. After his crippling injuries he was only able to get a short-lived job with the Redskins and is now essentially retired.
Maurice Morris had a very short-lived starting role on the team, built similarly at 5'11" and 216 lbs. he just never ran with the same intelligence or authority as Alexander and seemed to be far more one-dimensional as a "cut once and then run straight" sort of tailback. Today he is the third-string running back for the Detroit Lions.
Julius Jones stands at 5'10" and weighs 211 lbs. While he was a wonderful running back in practice he could never seem to get his game on when in pads. There was hope for a time that he could have been the answer after we acquired him from the Cowboys, but he was recently released after a failed stint with the team and now is a deep backup for the New Orleans Saints.
After an injury to Julius Jones, Justin Forsett was thrust into the starting role proving to be a dual-threat back that could catch the football in ways that Alexander and Jones never could while running with more authority than Morris ever did.
The emergence of other smaller backs like Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren Sproles led to talk that Justin should get a crack at being a full-time starter, and while I agreed with that for a time it is evident at this point that he doesn't have the body to carry a full game's workload for a whole season. However, he is an excellent change-of-pace back.
Enter the Beast Mode, Marshawn Lynch.
The 5'11", 217-lb bruiser came to the Seahawks through a trade with the Buffalo Bills that cost us only a fourth-round pick (that was offset by a trade with New England to send Deion Branch back to them for a fourth-rounder), which is truly an amazing deal. At age 24, we didn't just net a cheap, effective pickup, but a young one at that.
The downside of the deal is that it is always risky for a team to take on a player with baggage, especially a player who totes around a notorious record that includes a hit and run, carrying unlicensed weapons and marijuana.
Looks like the Beast needs to be reined in a little.
Enter the previously mentioned Justin Forsett. The Forsett/Lynch duo from the Cal Bears has been reunited and Lynch looks up to Forsett, which means that Justin can help provide a stabilizing force in the troubled Lynch's life.
Forsett is a player who is high on being the best he can be on and off the field. His adherence to the straight and narrow is publicly showcased on his Twitter account every night as he reads off excerpts from the Bible (hence the nickname "The Priest"). It remains to be seen if Lynch is ready to abandon his problematic past but he has to realize that if his actions continue that it will be problematic for his career going forward.
I'm willing to believe that The Priest will help tame The Beast, which will assure years of productivity out of the duo, Lynch by bruising and Forsett by gashing a weakened and tired defense.
We got a preview of what is to come by seeing them top 100 yards rushing against the Bears, and now it's time for a homecoming where I expect them to steamroll a weakened Arizona Cardinal defense at Qwest Field. Beyond that, we will just have to wait and see. But the future is bright...