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Chris Carson’s Wu-Tang name is Chris Carson, an investigation

Seattle Seahawks v Washington Football Team Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Chris Carson wants other backs to be compared to him. That got me thinking. How would we describe Carson? Do we see elements of other rushers’ in his game? Or is he like ODB? There ain’t no father to his style.

(prepare yourself for a trademark non-sequitur)

My wife told me that she listened to Enter the Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers) seven times yesterday! She’s stuck with a pretty long commute and all but damn. On one of the tracks every member of Wu-Tang is introduced by Method Man and briefly described. The virtue of these descriptions is that they’re lyrical in nature. We do not learn that Ghostface Killah is 185 cm tall and grew up on Staten Island, poor guy, but that “he’s on some now you see me now you don’t [shit].” The “shit” is implied.

Today I attempt to describe Carson but in a Method Man-way, and you better believe, when I’m biting someone’s style, I’m pure method in my approach.

Chris Carson runs away to better fight

Backs are often defined by two fundamental attributes: avoiding contact and winning contact. Carson has a way of avoiding contact to win contact when he has to. It shows a kind of foreknowledge that is typical of technical mastery.

Carson runs a sinewy line through the ‘b’ gap into the second level. He’s square and agile despite running with lean. The way 47, Khaleke Hduson, lunges grasping for Carson but missing, 31, Kamren Curl, is close enough to touch feet and a little uni during his belly flop, but how 29, Kendall Fuller, is flat run over, is like three-part joke structure. Fuller is reeling from the punchline.

The whole run, so seemingly elusive, is one big buildup of momentum to a massive collision. This is what Carson does. He’s not avoiding contact. He’s just saving himself for when he has to flatten ə dude.

Carson is strangely symmetrical

All four of Carson’s longest runs against the DC Gridiron Gang were similar in nature. At least at the macro level—check it out.

Three which begin the same way. Three which end the same way. In the previous run, Carson earned seven yards through elusiveness and three yards through power. That could describe this run.

He’s LT until he needs to Earl Campbell.

Carson is able to generate quickness and speed with short, choppy steps. He also has a way of running in which he remains more or less vertically aligned so that his weight is never far over his feet. As he gains momentum, he begins to lean forward slightly. His stride becomes longer. He concentrates his momentum over his front foot.

Defenders often have to control an area. They cannot hastily close on the ball carrier because to do so they would have to guess a proper angle of attack and they could guess wrong busting their assignment. They have to use their time advantage, in the sense they are further down the field and therefore where the play is going, to allow all the possible paths Carson may take to collapse into a single path, or really an infinite number of paths which though infinite is narrowly infinite enough as to be reliably anticipated.

Curl cannot build nearly the momentum Carson has. Luckily he doesn’t have to pluck grace from chaos. He is an agent of chaos. All he has to do is dis-coordinate Carson enough that Carson touches grass with something other than his feet or hands. Curl fails to do even that.

Carson’s lean means Curl gets all shoulder pads and no legs. Low man only wins when the contact is reasonably symmetrical. Apart from being struck in the back, Curl barely contacts Carson. He lunges. He misses. Carson drives about a kilonewton of shoulder into his back, that drives Curl right knee first into the grass, and the poor man rebounds off the grass enough to bounce Carson a bit to the left.

Carson grows in total darkness

A back can’t always run to daylight. Vince Lombardi coined that phrase and here’s the story and here’s the lowdown if you ever wanted explanation. Maybe there’s no proper hole, or the hole is prohibitively distant, or the backside pursuit is closing fast. Sometimes a back needs to make a hole.

Carson makes one out of three pieces: Chase Young’s ungainly stumble, a curly fry and the potential for space off left tackle in the second level. Washington is spread horizontally. Split seconds after the snap, the defenders will collapse into a frenzied hole-plugging first level and a sparse undermanned third level.

Carson does not have to avoid anyone. He just has to fight through Curl’s tackle long enough to fall forward for the first-down.

Here’s a factoid to spin your cap. Carson only has 10 broken tackles this season! Hahahahaha!

I sort of doubt that, is all.

Carson’s a savvy dude who picks his fights and wins the fights he picks. He’s quick. He’s very fluid running at angles and carries his weight so that when he changes direction he’s not badly fighting his own momentum. There’s a effortless, neat, gliding quality to the esses he carves on the gridiron. If his body ever gave him the chance he could have a career like Curtis Martin.

That’s an awfully sober way to end a post. Oh well. Those beers aren’t going to drink themselves.