Is Marshawn Lynch the best Seahawks running back of all time?
A fun debate: is Lynch better than Shaun Alexander, Chris Warren and Curt Warner? He’s rising on the team’s career rushing list.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seahawks @ Kansas City, 10 a.m., Ch. 13
RENTON – Of all the talking points swirling around Marshawn Lynch, it feels like it’s time to add another — this one just for fun.
Specifically, is it time to consider whether he is the best tailback in Seahawks history?
To be the best of something in the history of a franchise, of course, requires some longevity, something Lynch — traded to Seattle in October 2010 — now has.
And having now played the equivalent of four full NFL seasons with the Seahawks, Lynch continues to rapidly climb the team’s career rushing lists. He is fourth in team history in rushing yards with 5,313 yards, and in 100-yard games (21), third in rushing touchdowns (50) and on pace for a fourth-straight 1,000-yard season, which would tie him for second in team history and stand one behind the five in a row of Shaun Alexander.
“There is a big number of running backs who have played for this organization and he’s right up there with them,’’ said Warren Moon, a longtime NFL quarterback and for the last 10 seasons a color analyst for Seahawks’ radio broadcasts. “And the longer he plays here, he makes that much more of an impact.’’
We sought out Moon for his thoughts because during his playing and broadcasting career he has gotten a good look at every running back that would be on the short list for the title of best Seahawks tailback — Curt Warner, Chris Warren, Shaun Alexander and Lynch (we excluded John L. Williams since he was a fullback, and Ricky Watters since he was a Seahawk for four years but doesn’t rank higher than sixth in any major career category).
Moon played with Warren while quarterback of the Seahawks in 1997-98, played against Warner, and broadcast most or all of the games for Lynch and Alexander.
Each also defines distinct Seahawks eras in the same manner as Lynch, the offensive heartbeat of the team’s first Super Bowl title. Warner was the driving force of the ‘80s Ground Chuck glory days; Warren, a rare bright light during the dreary mid-90s; and Alexander, the offensive sparkplug (albeit with heavy assists from Matt Hasselbeck and Walter Jones) of the first Super Bowl team.
Here’s a quick review of each of the candidates:
Years with Seahawks: 2000-2007
Attempts, yards: 2,176-9,429
Signature Seahawks moment: NFL MVP after scoring a then-NFL record 28 touchdowns in 2005.
Moon’s take: “One of the most fluid runners I’ve ever seen. He really knew how to play off of his blocks. They did a lot of pulling of their guards with Steve Hutchinson and those guys and he really knew how to make the cut at the right time. He really played off of his linemen as well as anybody.’’
Years with Seahawks: 1990-97
Attempts, yards: 1,559-6,706.
Signature Seahawks moment: Set a then-team record and led AFC with 1,545 yards in 1994.
Moon’s take: “If he had played with better teams, he would probably have had more recognition around the league. He was a soft-spoken, mild-mannered guy, but when he got the football he was a tough guy to bring down. He had the size to run people over but he also had great breakaway speed.”
Years with Seahawks: 1983-89
Attempts, yards: 1,649-6,705.
Signature Seahawks moment: 113 yards and two touchdowns in a playoff upset at Miami in 1983.
Moon’s take: “He wasn’t as physical of a runner as Marshawn but he was definitely a physical runner who had great cutting ability. I always remember his high-knee action and how he could cut and make really drastic cuts and how well he could finish going North and South.’’
So how does Lynch compare?
“Marshawn is as good or better than all of them just because of the versatility that he brings to the table,’’ said Moon, referring to Lynch’s receiving (he has 23 receptions this season to rank second on the team) and his blocking. “He can do so many different things.’’
Warner, Warren and Alexander, who all began their careers with the Seahawks, all left Seattle after their best years. Lynch’s future has also been the subject of much debate, one that bubbled in recent weeks with a report stating that the Seahawks were “tiring’’ of his act.
Moon, though, advises fans to just enjoy the present.
“People just need to quit trying to figure this guy out and just watch him play football,” Moon said. “He’s always going to do things that make you scratch your head, he’s going to say things that make you scratch your head. But you never see him shy away from anything on the football field. He’s always 100 miles an hour.’’
Moon spoke on Wednesday, a day he had chatted with Lynch.
“And because he fumbled in the game (against the Giants Sunday) he’s carrying around a football like he’s in high school or college,’’ Moon said. “That’s him. The guy is more devoted than people think. He does all the things you want a great player to do. Most of the great players in the history of sports are a little bit different, and he’s definitely one of those.’’
• Lynch sat out practice Thursday, with the official injury report listing the reason as both a calf and rib. He has been listed previously with a calf injury but the rib is new.
• Also sitting out again Thursday was Brock Coyle with a glute injury. That means K.J. Wright is likely to start again in the middle with Malcolm Smith back and able to play the weakside spot along with Kevin Pierre-Louis.