SEATTLE - DECEMBER 01: Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes against the Philadelphia Eagles at CenturyLink Field on December 1, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Eagles 31-14. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Seattle finally, mercifully, appears to have a rushing attack.
Is there any doubt in your mind how big the Tom Cable hire has been for the Seahawks at this point?
Towards the end of last year, there were rumblings that Tom Cable's job wasn't safe with the Oakland Raiders and I remember thinking to myself how great it would be if he somehow ended up with Seattle. His ability to get toughness and grit out of his players was never more evident than in Seattle's Week 8 matchup last season with the Raiders that left several Seahawks players with serious injuries and reeling after getting rushed on for 239 yards. The Raiders had that 'it' factor of, for lack of a better word, badass-ness, and I wanted that for the Seahawks.
Where Tom Cable has gone in the past decade, solid rushing teams with hard-nosed attitudes have emerged and it's appearing that Seattle is no different. If I were being honest with you, I'm legitimately surprised it has come so quickly.
When Cable was hired, I remember trying to remain realistic - when you look at the teams he's coached over the last few years, though most of them ended up in the top part of the league in rushing, they did take some time to get there, often several seasons. Now, Seattle is not going to be near the league lead in rushing this season and that's fine but one thing is clear and that is that the Seahawks can once again run the football.
With their 172 yard performance last night, 148 yards and two touchdowns coming from Marshawn Lynch, Seattle has rushed for over 100 yards in five straight games, something they haven't done since 2005.
Let that sink in for a moment.
The last time the Seahawks accomplished that feat was on the back of NFL MVP Shaun Alexander, on his way to 1,880 yards rushing with 27 touchdowns and a Super Bowl appearance as he ran behind future Hall of Famer Walter Jones and perennial All-Pro Steve Hutchinson.
Marshawn is now 146 yards away from eclipsing the 1000 yard mark as well, something that again, hasn't been done for the Seahawks since that 2005 season.
The last two games, Seattle has rushed for 126 and 172 yards, respectively, and they've done so, in a large part, behind their backup right side in Paul McQuistan and Breno Giacomini. As John Clayton would say, let's put it this way: The five Seahawks primary offensive linemen (ie, the most frequently used over the season) have only played 26.6% of snaps together over the season, 3rd lowest in the NFL, so Tom Cable's success in molding this rushing unit has been even more impressive than you'd initially think.
He's getting production, consistency, sound technique, and a total buy-in from all of his offensive linemen. Guys like Lemuel Jeanpierre and the two new starters I mentioned above are coming in to play and the Seahawks aren't missing a beat. With Russell Okung now probably going to miss time, or perhaps the season, with an injured pectoral muscle, this could become even more important as the Hawks look to protect Tarvaris Jackson's blind side with a backup.
The culture change and tangible results from the last five weeks haven't gone unnoticed. The Seahawks will still probably lose some games this year and still have a lot of room for improvement. Regardless though, the hiring of Tom Cable has proven to be huge, in my book. Given a year or two more to mold these young men into the types of players he envisions will give Seattle the foundation to build a championship offense, and once they've acquired their quarterback of the future he'll be supported by a top run game, in theory. It's an exciting time.