Backs in action: Returning runners ‘a real boost’

Training camp logo2It was Running Back Day at Seahawks camp on Monday.

As Christine Michael continued to receive accolades for his performance in Kansas City, Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise and Zac Brooks all returned to practice — and the Hawks released Cameron Marshall and moved Kyle Coleman to fullback.

On top of that, Alex Collins — limited by an ankle issue in Kansas City — is ready for more of a load this week.

So, as they prepare for their preseason home opener vs. Minnesota, the Hawks finally have all of their backs back.

Perhaps the most anticipated move was the return of Prosise, who has basically missed all of camp with a hamstring problem. Carroll has been champing at the bit to get the third-round pick back in action.

Carroll said it was “terrific to see him out there. He looked good, too. It’s been a long haul — it seems like it’s been months, although it’s only been a couple weeks. It was great to have him out.”

Prosise, Rawls and Brooks got in 10-12 plays in team drills. “All those guys got some good plays,” Carroll said, “and it was a real boost for us to see them back out.”

Carroll said Rawls “looked really good. He’s been working really hard. It’s not like he’s been waiting to work; he’s been working like crazy. So just to fit him in was what we were really trying to do today. It was terrific.”

Brooks, who probably has the biggest roster hill to climb considering his draft status (seventh round), “did really well. He looked really quick today. He’s got those fresh legs that you see first day back. He’s done nothing but good stuff; he’s right in the middle of all of it. It’ll be fun to see what happens.”

Those three will now mix in with Michael and Collins, who have been carrying the load since camp started over two weeks ago.

Michael was one of the standouts in the opener at Kansas City, running for 44 yards on seven carries. After the game, Carroll said Rawls and Michael could be a great “1-2 punch.”

“He’s really on,” the coach said of Michael on Monday. “He had a beautiful day the other day to start us off, and just like he’s looked at practice again.”

Carroll said Michael is playing with more discipline than he had in his first two-plus years in Seattle.

“Physically, I think he shows a greater consistency in hitting things the way we expect him to hit them,” the coach said. “He was kind of a loose cannon at times, just trying to make things happen instead of really staying with the discipline of our zone run and stuff.

“He’s just grown up. He’s embracing his opportunity; he’s taking advantage of the chance that he’s getting by applying himself completely, totally. We have no reservation in saying that he’s doing a great job.”

Michael seems to basically have locked up a roster spot — a big move considering the fact that the Hawks drafted Prosise, Collins and Brooks to challenge him.

Assuming the rookies stay healthy and perform as expected the rest of the way, the final roster should be simple: Rawls, Michael, Collins and Prosise — with Brooks a possible practice-squadder.

The only question will be whether Carroll decides to keep a fullback. And he seems to be leaning that way, based on how the Hawks used Jonathan Amosa in Kansas City and on the move of Coleman from linebacker.

“We are going to see how he does there,” Carroll said. “We brought him in originally to get work at fullback and, just because of the linebacker spot, we put him there, he did well early and so we left him. I just don’t want to get through camp without knowing how he fits on the other side. We are very comfortable doing it and we’ve had pretty good luck with it.”

If the Hawks keep a fullback, it probably wouldn’t affect their quartet of tailbacks — they would pull from receiver or tight end.

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