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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

May 30, 2010 at 11:21 AM

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Add LenDale White to Seattle's scrap heap of veteran backs

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Say one thing for Seattle and its penchant for veteran running backs, the rope is getting shorter.

Shaun Alexander stuck around for two years after the team re-signed the league's MVP in 2006.

T.J. Duckett? He lasted a year, but Edgerrin James got only seven games. And now, LenDale White's tenure lasted all of 35 days.

Seattle isn't exactly back where it started entering the offseason. The Seahawks do have Leon Washington. Oh, and this guy Quinton Ganther, too.

But the fact the acquisition of White turned out to be such a unambiguous waste of time and expectation casts a real question of whether there will be any change to the backfield for a franchise that is one of four teams in this league that hasn't had a single player rush for 1,000 yards in any of the previous four seasons.

Now say this for Seattle, the cost of White was minimal. Same with Washington. Seattle went out and acquired a pair of players who were risks for very different reasons. For White, it was a question of attitude, for Washington one of health. But Seattle gave up so little in the acquisitions that if either player did much of anything it would be considered a worthwhile investment.

But the question isn't what Seattle gave up, but where it's going find improvement for an offense that scored its fewest points in 16 years last season.

Seattle drafted a left tackle, but those players don't score touchdowns. And perhaps second-round pick Golden Tate will be as productive as Eddie Royal was as a rookie under Jeremy Bates' passing game in Denver in 2008. Perhaps Justin Forsett will become the latest late-round running back to thrive in an Alex Gibbs-coached running game or maybe Julius Jones will finally produce as consistently as he thinks -- no, he knows -- he is capable of.

But perhaps when it comes to Week 5, we're going to be analyzing this Seahawks offense and reciting that pesky little fact that Seattle has drafted more fullbacks (three) than running backs (one) since 2005.

The question of whether Washington will be ready for the season just became much more important. He's coming back from a very serious leg injury, a compound fracture in fact. His attitude isn't a question nor his diligence. How his body responds, however, is. The Jets decided after choosing Joe McKnight of USC in the fourth round that Washington was expendable.

But before White's release, Washington was just part of the potential upgrade in the backfield. If he wasn't ready, well, White was going to be there to compete for a starting job and judging by LenDale's shrunken waistline, that dude was going to be hungry for opportunities.

Now? Well, now if Washington isn't ready to go, the Seahawks' backfield contingent could wind up being largely the same as it was a year ago, and if I told you that heading into the draft, there would have been plenty of people stomping around, wondering just how this team could really expect to improve offensively.

Add another veteran running back to the Seahawks' scrap heap and while the cost of this failed endeavor isn't a question, the issue of where Seattle is going to find offensive improvement did become a little muddier.

Now, for your reading pleasure, here's a trip in the way-back machine. Look back five weeks ago to see what some reporter was forecasting for Seattle's ground game. Oh wait, I wrote that? Oy vey.

Little risk, high reward in Seahawks' RB deals
By Danny O'Neil, The Seattle Times (April 26, 2010)

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