Pete Carroll has the difficult task of finding a replacement for retired running back Marshawn Lynch. But the Seattle Seahawks coach confirmed Wednesday that his top choice, Thomas Rawls, will be ready to play.
"I have no hesitation in telling you he's going to play in the opener," Carroll said, via ESPN. "I have no hesitation in saying that. We'll see what happens next week. He won't play in this game (next preseason game)."
Rawls stepped in when Lynch went down last season and rushed for 830 yards with a 5.6 yards per carry average and four touchdowns. Unfortunately, his rookie season was cut short by a broken ankle that resulted in torn ligaments. Rawls has faced some setbacks this offseason, but Carroll clearly believes he will be ready to start Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins.
The Seahawks spent draft picks on C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins this year, and have also been impressed with the development of former castoff Christine Michael during the preseason, leading many to believe Rawls could be returning to a running back-by-committee. Yet, Carroll seems determined to have Rawls be his every-down back.
Should Rawls hang onto the job, he will be in a great situation on a team built to run the ball. Russell Wilson does a great job giving his running backs space by providing an aerial attack, so Rawls should have plenty of space to operate.
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The only question now, is can he stay healthy?