With the return of running back Christine Michael this year, it seemed like the Seattle Seahawks had an above-average insurance policy should Thomas Rawls not be ready for the beginning of the season. This wasn’t based on his first three seasons or the first extensive action of his career which came at the end of 2015 (remember, the Seahawks chose to let Michael test free agency and he returned on a one-year deal) but based on really high marks in camp from coaches and backseat coaches (fans, reporters) and preseason play.
Michael quickly went from the roster bubble to some people wondering if Rawls even had a starting job to come back to ... You have a job to come back to, Rawls. The team desperately needs you, in fact.
After rushing for 232 yards in the first three games with 5.16 YPC, Michael has regressed back into the player who couldn’t see the field for Seattle from 2013-2015, only getting a chance after he had been traded, released, and picked up from Washington’s practice squad. No more excuses about “He was blocked by Lynch” and “But American Flag jumpsuit,” Michael is not an NFL starting-caliber running back. Not for the Seahawks, at least.
In the last five games, Michael has rushed for 215 yards and 3.21 YPC. He does have five touchdowns over that period of time, but they came from a distance of six yards (reception), nine yards, three yards, two yards, and one yard. I don’t think fans could get too excited about that from a “this is a starter” standpoint, I mean, John Kuhn was also available to be signed this offseason. Clearly, coaches aren’t satisfied either.
After rookie C.J. Prosise returned from injury recently, he nearly caught up to Michael in snaps almost immediately: 28 offensive snaps for Michael vs the New Orleans Saints compared to 23 for Prosise. And then on Monday night against the Buffalo Bills, Prosise surpassed Micheal, getting 26 offensive snaps to Michael’s 18. Over the last two weeks, Prosise has more snaps than Michael.
No running back was “good” against the Bills, but Michael carried it five times for one yard while Prosise had nine yards on three carries. He also had 103 total yards, including 80 through the air, vs the Saints. Prosise is already the more effective, more important, and clearly more valued back than Michael.
If Thomas Rawls is not ready to return next Sunday against the New England Patriots, then I would expect Prosise to get considerably more snaps than Michael, if not being the outright starter and lead back. When Rawls does return, you might not hear much from Michael again this season, if at all. And I certainly do think this is his last season in Seattle.
For real this time.