Tag Archives: Marshawn Lynch

Lynch vs Peterson

The NFL off-season gets fans in a frenzy and for good reason.  It’s in the off-season where the draft happens and free-agency happens, and it’s because of these tools that fan-bases are given new hope.  Whether the hope is fabricated optimism or reality is to be revealed as the actual season unfolds, but until then it’s all open for debate.  This season, the Raiders went and acquired running back Marshawn Lynch and the New Orleans Saints signed free agent running back Adrian Peterson.

They are both products of the 2007 NFL draft, Lynch going number 12 to the Buffalo Bills, while Peterson went number 7 to the Vikings.   Comparing the numbers side by side, Peterson is clearly the better running back.  In some discussions, Peterson is looked upon as the best back to emerge out of college in the last decade.  His production, when healthy, is always league-best or close to it.  His last three seasons have been a sea-saw of consistency though. In 2014, he played one game and was suspended because of  child-abuse charges and in 2016 he tore his meniscus (right knee) and was limited to three games of action where he didn’t average over two yards a carry. . . 2015 though he led the NFL in rushing yards, yards per game, carries and rushing touchdowns. . .

Peterson found himself a free agent in this off-season and the only team he’s ever played for, the Minnesota Vikings were ready to let him go.  The New Orleans Saints signed Peterson to a two year, $7 million contract, with a signing bonus of two and a half million dollars. It was an interesting move for the Saints, whose running back Mark Ingram had a career high in rushing yards with 1043 and averaged over five yards a carry.  Considering the Saints, who led the NFL in passing yards last year, are team who’s offensive attack is concentrated around Drew Brees and the passing game – it was an interesting signing to say the least.  Maybe, the Saints will focus on a more “ball-control” oriented offense, to help preserve the health and stamina of their veteran quarterback?

Marshawn Lynch’s story is a bit different from Peterson’s.  Actually it’s a vastly different scenario.  After 2015, Lynch retired from the NFL altogether, sitting out the 2016 season but when the Oakland Raiders showed interest in the Oakland native, he was all about “the comeback.”  A year off might’ve been what “Beast Mode” needed as he had an injury plagued 2015 season, that saw him finish the season with a little over 400 yards at less then 4 yards a carry.  After Seattle traded his rights to the Raiders, Lynch was signed to a two-year contract worth $9 million with a $2 million signing bonus.  Lynch joins an Oakland Raiders team that some feel may be the only team to challenge the New England Patriots in the AFC.  Last season the Raiders had a very balanced offensive attack, finishing ninth in passing yards and fifth in rushing yards.  The rushing yardage total was more because of the offensive line than the actual ball-carriers though.  The Raiders worked with a running back by committee system, and it’s leading rusher was Latavius Murray who finished with less than 800 yards on the season (in a twist of irony, Murray signed with the Vikings this off-season).

So who got more bang for their buck?

Of course this is all built off of assumption, but everything points to Marshawn Lynch having more of a positive impact with the Raiders this season than Adrian Peterson will with the Saints.  Peterson, looked bad the last time we saw him – before he got hurt and he’ll be definitely splitting carries with Ingram in the backfield.  Drew Brees, might like the insurance policy that is Adrian Peterson, but the way this offense moves, and the language it uses, his comfort-level with Ingram will be hard to dethrone.  Lynch on the other hand, is on a team that truly believes with this offensive line, a well rested and newly motivated Marshawn Lynch will give them the consistency they need in the backfield.  Lynch retired from Seattle, because he wasn’t happy there anymore – let’s not get that twisted.  Lynch is looking forward to representing his hometown, especially on a team that is so focused on winning a championship like the Raiders.

For Peterson, it might be a season that we’ve seen once too many times for sports-greats.  Peterson is a lock to get into the hall of fame one day, but this might be a season that leaves his fans remembering him NOT as the dominant back he once was, but as a veteran hanging on to his glory days – and cashing out while he can.

G.W. Gras

@GeeSteelio

Silver and Black Beast

Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch announced his retirement the same day as Super Bowl 50 back in early 2016.  He left behind a legacy of being bruising-back, with a very specific personality.  His final season though in 2015, was one to be forgotten.  A sports hernia injury limited him to half the season where he had his lowest yards per-carry average in five seasons (3.8 ypc) and when he did return in the playoffs, he was held to 20 yards rushing by the Carolina Panthers.

He has sat out an entire year after this and now is ready to play again.  And he wants to play for his hometown team, the Oakland Raiders.  Alrighty then. . .

The Raiders are in need of a running game.  One would guess that the current starter is Deondre Washington, who ran for over five yards a carry on limited opportunities behind Lativius Murray.   Although the Raiders organization likes Washington, they are a team that feels they can challenge the Patriots in the AFC – and a healthy Marshawn Lynch just might be what pushes them ahead.

Lynch and the Raiders have apparently come to an agreement and it’s all pending a trade with the Seahawks, who still own Lynch’s rights.

If the Raiders aren’t going to have to shell out a lot of dough for Lynch, it’ll be worth the gamble.  Lynch provides them a strong running game as well as a tough and veteran presence in the huddle.

There are a few red flags though when considering this move.

The most obvious is that Lynch’s running style is violent and after years of running as hard as he does, are we to believe that a 30 year old back, who is a year removed not only from the game of football but also a sports hernia injury, can be the player he once was?   And even if he is that  guy on the field – remember the mention earlier of his specific personality?

Lynch is on another planet.  He gives the media a hard time and is pretty much a loner.  His playing style goes in contrast with his personality – he does not exhibit the “brute” type of energy off the field.  He is more of a recluse, who tells corny jokes while staring at the floor.  For a team like the Raiders, it’s obvious they all gel together.  From Derek Carr all the way down, the culture has been remixed in Oakland and everyone is feeling good about themselves.  Lynch could potentially throw a wrench into that harmony.  As stated by Matt Calkins of the Seattle Times, Lynch was integral to building the culture in Seattle and “that gave him locker-room clout that might not await him in Oakland.”

The Oakland Raiders averaged 4.4 yards a carry last year, and know that in order to maintain the success their offense had this year, and to maintain the progression of their young quarterback Derek Carr they would like to keep that the same, or obviously, get better.  If Lynch has at least one more good run left in him, it will turn out to be an upgrade for a team that already boast one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Seattle Seahawks 2015 Preview

Why didn’t they give the ball to Marshawn Lynch?

That’s a question that will be asked throughout history like:

“What was first, the chicken or the egg?”

“What’s the meaning of life?”

“Who shot J.R.?”

Coach Pete Carroll said:  “It’s much easier for me to move forward than most people,” and Seahawks fans hope that’s the truth.  They also hope that quarterback Russell Wilson is the truth as the Seahawks and Wilson have inked a four year extension worth over $87 Million.  Every quarterback is grossly over-paid and here at NGSC we have already gone over why it’s a bad idea to give in to Wilson’s demands.  Regardless of our economic stances, Wilson is under center and this team wouldn’t want it any other way. . . for now. His options at wide receiver are still nothing that blows you away, but they get the job done. Doug Baldwin is a tough receiver that doesn’t mind doing the dirty work or going over the middle and Jermaine Kearse pretty much fits that same mold.  Everyone is expecting Chris Matthews to capitalize on his “out of nowhere” Super Bowl performance, but that’s doubtful.  The best wide receiver on the team may be the rookie out of Kansas State – Tyler Lockett.  At five foot ten inches tall and a buck-eighty in weight, he isn’t the biggest threat, but he has great hands, good speed and loves big moments – which is what the Seahawks are all about.

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The Seahawks went out and traded for tight end Jimmy Graham as Wilson’s go-to-target but the gamble here is one to watch.  In order to obtain Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks traded away offensive lineman Max Unger to the Saints.  Keep in mind they also lost guard James Carpenter to free agency and then there’s the fact that Jimmy Graham isn’t the best blocking tight end in the world.  All of a sudden one of the league’s most offensively aggressive teams, seems to have lost some of that aggression.   Luckily, they have the most aggressive player in the league running the ball: Marshawn Lynch.

Lynch seems to be a malcontent but he generally keeps it to himself and it doesn’t apparently bother anybody.  Lynch might be a little more vocal this year because of the previously mentioned “softening” of his line up front though.  Lynch has been trucking over people for years and there is no reason to assume he’ll drop off anytime soon, but something’s got to give eventually.   After the Super Bowl loss and the acquisition of Jimmy Graham, it’s obvious this team is leaning in the direction of putting the ball in Wilson’s hands over Lynch’s.

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The funny thing about Seattle is, even if Lynch AND Wilson weren’t on this team, this defense would keep them in and win them games on its own.   Cliff Avril’s signing went with not much fan fare in 2013, but it was one of the best “gets” for this Seattle defense.  Avril brought an athleticism to a defensive line that – didn’t even need it – along with Michael Bennett and Brandon Mebane they make life easier for one of the elite line backing corps in the league.

When a former first round pick, Bruce Irvin is the weakest part of your linebacker group, things can’t be bad.  K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner have great vision and lateral movement – they can cover most tight-ends and collapse on the running game quickly.

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The “Legion of Boom” may have lost Byron Maxwell, but if nickel corner Jeremy Lane comes back quickly from injury he may slide into that number two corner spot held, for the time being, by Cary Williams.  If Richard Sherman isn’t the best corner in the game – he’s definitely the most confident – and with good reason.  Sherman’s size and athleticism makes it hard for opposing quarterback’s to look his way – although Sherman’s one fault is that he does NOT cover opposing team’s best wide outs every week.  He simply stays on his side of the field.  The safeties are the heart and soul of this defense and their hasn’t been a more talented / feared pair in quite some time – of course we’re talking about Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.  Earl Thomas is literally everywhere while Kam Chancellor is where receivers don’t want to end up.

Seattle has a tough road schedule including games at Green Bay, Dallas and Baltimore; and playing in the NFC West guarantees that every division contest will be a long and grueling one.  Even with that, Seattle has what it takes to win the division and still make a run at the conference.

Predicted Record: 9-7

Predicted Pro Bowlers: Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio