The Seahawks enter the season without Marshawn Lynch for the first time since 2010. That's not good news. The good news is that they already managed to find a suitable replacement in Thomas Rawls, who burst onto the scene last year when Lynch battled injuries.
The even better news: Rawls' recovery from a broken ankle, which ended his season last December, is going along as planned. On Wednesday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll confirmed that Rawls will be out there for the Seahawks' season opener against the Dolphins two Sundays from now.
"He continued to have a great week," Carroll said, per ESPN. "There's no question that he looks to be able to play in the opener."
Last season, Rawls emerged as one of the best rookie running backs in the league. In 13 games and seven starts, Rawls averaged 5.6 yards per carry and rushed for four touchdowns. He added another touchdown via the air. As Chase Stuart of Football Perspective pointed out, Rawls was the only running back with two games of 160-plus rushing yards -- plus he gained 15-plus yards on 10 percent of his carries.
Perhaps most impressively, he made Beast Mode's absence feel less significant than it should have felt, namely because didn't run out of bounds -- like ever, seeking out contact instead.
Rawls has yet to make his preseason debut, but that might change Thursday night. According to ESPN's Sheil Kapadia, Carroll didn't rule out the possibility of giving Rawls some reps in the team's final preseason game against the Raiders.
"You're going to have to wait and find out," Carroll said.
Rawls' good health isn't, however, good news for all of those Fantasy folks who have boarded the crowded Christine Michael hype train. Michael, who's flopped as an NFL-caliber running back on multiple occasions, appeared to turn his career around this offseason. In three preseason games, he's averaged 6.5 yards per carry and the coaching staff has praised his resurgence, with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell telling Kapadia that Michael "had an awakening."
But with Rawls completely healthy (and with Russell Wilson blossoming into the star of the offense), Michael's Fantasy impact will be limited.