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Now is the time for C.J. Prosise

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks are in trouble. The Seahawks need to change their gameplan. The offensive line simply isn’t working and it won’t work with this personnel. The problems start with Darrell Bevell and he’ll never be a good offensive coordinator. Pete Carroll’s plan isn’t working anymore. The NFL has figured Seattle out. Russell Wilson isn’t the same. The running game is in trouble because of an injury to the starter. The offense just plain sucks.

Those are some sentiments being shared today in 2016. But I’m pulling them from near the midway point of the 2015 season, more specifically.

The Seahawks started out 0-2, 2-4, and 4-5. Wilson was being sacked a lot, his health was a concern. Marshawn Lynch couldn’t get on the field and when he was able to, he didn’t look great. The o-line was hopeless. They were inconsistent on offense, and certainly had their struggles. Wilson had thrown only 10 touchdowns over the first nine games. And then there was a spark.

Wilson threw 24 touchdowns and one interception over the final seven games. The offensive line was fine, perhaps even good. The running game got going with Thomas Rawls, a player who honestly wasn’t given a fair shot until the second time Lynch got hurt. Seattle won six of their last seven and arguably had a better offense than the one they had in 2005, or ever.

Now, I won’t presume a repeat of all of that and that’s not the point of this article. I could reiterate that Wilson starts out slow every single season and we keep forgetting, it seems like. Or that Carroll’s teams have consistently been better in November and December than they are in September and October and we keep forgetting that too. But this is specifically about two players:

Tyler Lockett and C.J. Prosise.

As a rookie, Lockett was an obviously-talented player but not a consistent producer over the first nine games of the year. He was awesome on special teams but had just 21 catches on 29 targets, which would have put him on pace for 32 catches and 464 yards if he kept doing that type of production over the final seven games. But over the final seven, Lockett had 40 targets, caught 30 passes, and produced 404 yards with five touchdowns. Those numbers pace out to 64-928-14.

Going into the season, I felt that Prosise and Lockett had a lot in common. They were both third round picks. They were both exceptional athletes, even for NFL players. They were both versatile. And they seemingly both would become big parts of the offense as rookies, even if it took some time. For Lockett, it really took him until mid-to-late November to get going on offense. For Prosise, that time may be right now.

Though the 43-yard catch from Tanner McEvoy may have been somewhat gimmicky, one of the main reasons it works at all is that Prosise is who he is. That’s not something that you put out there with just any running back; you really do it when the running back used to play wide receiver, and was quite good at it at Notre Dame. My prediction for Prosise early on was that he’d be the type of player who may not ever rush for 1,000 yards, but I could see him grabbing 80 or 90 catches over the best season(s) of his career.

On Sunday vs the New Orleans Saints, Prosise had four catches for 80 yards and four carries for 23. Just a quiet 103-yard day at the office that few people seemed to notice. His runs were also quite successful, picking up significant yardage needed to give Seattle high-percentage plays in trying to achieve first downs. Whether or not he is a better “running back” than Christine Michael, perhaps not. But now that they are 30th in yards per carry, maybe a running back isn’t going to help. I believe that Rawls will, but he’s not going to be able to suit up on Monday night vs the Buffalo Bills. Prosise seemingly will, so now is the time to build the plan around him, and give him the opportunity to give the offense a boost much like Lockett did a year ago.

Check out C.J. Prosise’s “Seahawks Grade” for his performance against the Saints right here.