Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch continues to recover from hernia surgery, the Seahawks look like the team they were in 2013 and 2014.
It may not be a coincidence.
Apart from the fact that undrafted rookie running back Thomas Rawls is playing better than Lynch, quarterback Russell Wilson has flourished as the unquestioned leader of the offense.
It may not be a coincidence. And as one source with knowledge of the team’s internal dynamics recently told PFT, it’s not a coincidence.
After the Seahawks abruptly traded receiver Percy Harvin last October, rumors and reports swirled that Harvin belonged to an in-house clique that resents Wilson — regarding him as “not black enough,” seeing him as being too aligned with management, and openly mocking his “Go ‘Hawks!” mantra in a high-pitched voice. Several of those rumors and reports linked Lynch to that group.
Then came the final offensive snap for Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX, when the team chose to throw instead of run. After the game, the media-shy Lynch gave an interview on Turkish television in which he added fuel to the anti-Russell Wilson fire by saying this: “When you look at me, and you let me run that ball in, I’m the face of the nation. You know, the MVP of the Super Bowl, that’s pretty much the face of the nation at that point in time. I don’t know what went into that call. Maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t get the ball. I mean, you know, it cost us the Super Bowl.”
While they’ll have to do it the hard way this year if they’re going to do it again, the Seahawks suddenly look like a team that can get back to the Super Bowl for a third straight time, with a 35-7 lead at Minnesota.
And Lynch is nowhere to be seen, which means he can do nothing directly or indirectly to undermine Wilson’s leadership.
And Wilson is having another huge day, with three touchdown passes and 19 completions on 24 attempts, for 256 yards.
And it’s not a coincidence. This is now Russell Wilson’s team, a reality that became inevitable once the Seahawks gave him a five-year deal worth nearly $90 million. The inevitable became a reality once Lynch left for hernia surgery.
The real question is whether Wilson will have the same authority and performance he now enjoys when Marshawn returns.