Following a strong rookie campaign, running back Robert Turbin’s career hasn’t progressed as well as the Seattle Seahawks envisioned.
Turbin carried the ball 80 times for 354 yards in 2012, in addition to catching 19 passes for 161 yards. At 5 feet 10 inches and very strong, Turbin could spell Marshawn Lynch and keep the same level of physicality.
Since then, Turbin hasn’t quite looked the same as he did in 2012. Last season, Turbin managed just 264 yards on 77 carries and only 60 receiving yards.
It wasn’t just the yardage total that was off, either. A few of Turbin’s less developed skills caught up to him, leaving his future role with Seattle in doubt.
Turbin is always going to have the ability to break some tackles due to his sheer strength. However, he has yet to display much in the way of open-field moves and tends not to hit openings with as much authority as someone of his stature should.
With Christine Michael poised to take on a bigger role in 2014, Turbin’s role is a bit murky. He probably wouldn’t lose a place on the roster no matter how the preseason plays out, but Turbin’s carries could be severely reduced.
To keep his hold on the second spot in the Seahawks’ running back depth chart, Turbin would have to perform well in the preseason. Michael has the higher ceiling and is much more of a home run threat, making it unclear who the Seahawks would turn to as the primary backup.
In the first preseason game against the Denver Broncos, Turbin had four carries for five yards. Both Michael and Turbin spent time with the first team offense, with the former looking far more impressive.
However, Turbin bounced back nicely last Thursday in a win over the San Diego Chargers, picking up 81 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. More importantly, Turbin looked like his 2012 self for the first time in a long while.
Turbin gained a big chunk of that on a 47-yard run in the second quarter. While the Chargers defense helped out, Turbin had a nice cutback in the backfield and had the vision to hit the open hole, adding a nice 10-yard stiff arm at the end, attributes he has not displayed on a consistent basis.
He showed great burst in the backfield throughout the first half to go with his natural tackle-breaking ability. Overall, it was the most healthy and explosive Turbin has looked in well over a year.
A resurgent Turbin could be important for the Seahawks in 2014. Lynch is now 28-years-old and will likely have his workload reduced, meaning Seattle’s backup running backs will take on a key role this season.
Michael is much more of a change-of-pace back from Lynch and might be the most explosive athlete on the team after Percy Harvin. Turbin can come in as a backup and provide many of the same things Lynch does and is more dependable in pass protection than Michael.
While it was just a sample size of 12 carries, Turbin looked great and may have solidified his place over Michael as the primary backup for now. Turbin will be worth watching for the rest of the preseason and could be an important factor for the Seahawks in the regular season.
Photo Credit: Associated Press
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