With Lynch out, Michael gets to keep proving it

Michael to CowboysIt looks like our “Video Ode to Beast Mode” was a bit premature: Marshawn Lynch won’t be back for the playoff game in Minnesota after all.

And that means Christine Michael gets one more chance to show the Seahawks — and the rest of the NFL, for that matter — that he deserves a roster spot next year.

The former second-round pick, getting a rare shot at redemption, has run well for the Seahawks in the three games since they surprisingly brought him back. He has averaged 4.9 yards per carry and is coming off the first 100-yard game of his career (102 yards on 17 carries in the 36-6 win over Arizona).

When the Seahawks traded him to Dallas for a seventh-round pick in September, running backs coach Sherman Smith lamented the fact that Michael just didn’t get it.

“It’s frustrating because he’s such a good player,” Smith told KJR then. “He has such talent. You want him to get it: ‘Here’s what it takes for you to play in this league.'”

As if speaking to Michael, Smith said, “You should say to yourself: ‘I’m a second-round draft pick. I haven’t played in two years. What do I need to do?'”

“So we tell him: ‘You need to become more consistent.’ I told him, ‘Your talent scale is higher than (then No. 2 RB Robert Turbin’s). But dependability-wise, professional-wise, you need to learn something from him.’

“So, the frustrating part is not seeing him be what he can be as a player,” Smith continued. “We tell him, ‘It’s not about you proving us wrong; prove us right. You were a second-round draft pick. Prove us right, why we drafted you.'”

Michael never did that, and it’s why he was sent to Dallas. It’s probably why Dallas then dumped him at midseason and why Washington was the only team interested in him after that — signing him only to the practice squad.

After Seattle lost Thomas Rawls for the season and Washington let Michael go (as a favor?), the Seahawks stunningly brought back the second-round flameout. And he has done his best to take advantage of the opportunity.

Pete Carroll said Michael is more humble now. “I think he was really trying to be flashy and all of that (before),” Carroll said. “He’s just come to work every day. He’s really serious about fitting in, and it feels like he’s matured in the sense that makes him a great candidate to play for us.

“We’re really excited about him. He’s produced when he’s had his chances; he’s played really hard, he’s been really serious about every step of the way. The preparation and all of that, his concern for the football — all of the things. He’s just done a marvelous job in a very short time.

Carroll added, “This is a classic example: If you just keep hoping and you stay with it and you give guys chances, sometimes they come right through for you. This is looking like that. It’s only a few games, but they’re really strong indicators that he’s ready to take advantage of this opportunity. Nothing less than what we had hoped for a while back. Sometimes, it’s a strange course that you’ve got to go to get here, but it’s working out.”

With Lynch’s future uncertain, considering the Seahawks’ success without him this year and the emergence of Rawls, Michael could be playing for a backup spot behind Rawls next year. Or, if Michael runs well against Minnesota (and throughout the playoffs), perhaps some other team will take a closer look at him.

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