Orioles

Lynch's past, present meet as Seattle faces Bills

201212091734632709362-p2.jpeg

Lynch's past, present meet as Seattle faces Bills

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Marshawn Lynch has every reason to talk.

The Seattle Seahawks running back is currently the No. 2 rusher in the NFL, trailing only Adrian Peterson. He's already set a new career high with 1,266 yards rushing through 13 games and needs just three more rushing touchdowns to match his career best of 12 from last season.

And his past and present collide this week when the Seahawks travel to Toronto to face Lynch's former team, the Buffalo Bills.

Yet with all those reasons for Lynch to chat about his season or playing his old team, his response Wednesday when asked if had a few minutes was a simple, ``Nah, I'm good.''

``Marshawn is a football player. He's just like, `Who are we playing? All right, let's go play,''' Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said. ``That's the type of guy he is and you need guys like that on your team. You don't want guys thinking too much.''

Lynch is coming off a performance last week against Arizona that in some ways was a career-best. His three touchdowns rushing tied the top mark in his career. Lynch played just two quarters plus the first series of the second half and finished with a season-high 128 yards on just 11 carries, averaging a career-best 11.6 yards per attempt.

He's now topped 100 yards seven times this season and could be looking at a second straight trip to the Pro Bowl.

And perhaps more than ever, with the Seahawks on the cusp of a playoff berth and possibly still in contention for the NFC West title, it's apparent that the decision to acquire Lynch from Buffalo via trade early in the 2010 season is probably the most important player transaction coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have made in rebuilding the Seahawks' roster.

``When you build your philosophy about running the football and with an attitude and toughness and all of that, he's a key addition. That's why we stayed with it so long. As we've watched the three years that he has been the factor that we needed,'' Carroll said. ``Fortunately, with the quarterback situation coming around with both of our guys, that's in good shape and that's the most crucial spot, but I don't know if anything is more symbolic than what we've done with Marshawn and him playing the way he plays and the guy that he is.''

When Lynch was traded from Buffalo early in the 2010 season, he needed the change. Lynch had been seeking a fresh start after his reputation in Buffalo took a hit following his off-field troubles that included a June 2008 traffic violation where he struck a female pedestrian with his car and a guilty plea on a March 2009 misdemeanor gun charge in Los Angeles. Police discovered a semiautomatic handgun in a backpack in the trunk of a parked car Lynch was sitting in. The gun charge resulted in a three-game league suspension.

Until this past summer, Lynch had been a model citizen off the field in Seattle. But he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence near his hometown of Oakland, Calif., in July. His case is still pending in California.

But on the field, the Seahawks have no complaints with what their workhorse has done. The quest to get Lynch via trade was something Carroll started during the 2010 offseason in the hopes a deal could get done. He joked Wednesday that Schneider repeatedly called the Bills on Carroll's behalf eventually led to the deal getting done.

Seattle's running game stumbled initially with Lynch - minus his memorable tremor-causing run in the 2010 playoffs against New Orleans - but finally clicked midway through last season. Lynch was the most productive back in the NFL over the final half of the 2011 season.

That success carried over into this year from the start. And finding that success was significant with Seattle breaking in rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.

``I think offensively we knew our identity coming into the season as opposed to last year trying to gather that identity as the season went on,'' Robinson said.

Lynch is on pace to finish with more than 1,550 yards for the season. He would become just the third different running back in Seahawks history to top the 1,500-yard mark. Shaun Alexander did it twice, including his franchise record 1,880 yards in 2005, and Chris Warren did it once.

``This is what we had hoped,'' Carroll said. ``We hoped that he would be a big-timer and we could make him fit in and feel comfortable and like his surroundings and really contribute in a big way. He has done everything. He's done everything we have asked of him.''

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Manny Machado pens goodbye to O's fans on Instagram

machado2.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Manny Machado pens goodbye to O's fans on Instagram

Days after being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deal that captivated much of Major League Baseball, former Oriole Manny Machado took to Instagram to thank the only organization he's ever known. 

The 26-year-old's contract expires at the end of this season, which the Orioles chose not to renew as the last-place club enters a rebuilding phase. 

Machado put up big numbers in the team's first 97 games totaling career-highs in home runs (24), RBIs (65), OBP (.387) and OPS (.962). 

He is expected to play shortstop for a Dodgers club which finished the first half of the season 10 games above .500 in a competitive, tight NL West. 

The Dodgers will pay Machado $6.3 million. 

To my Baltimore family, I’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out how I would say goodbye but there wasn’t an easy way to do it. I first joined this organization at the age of 17 and these past eight years have far exceeded anything I ever could’ve imagined. Throughout the ups and downs, you embraced me unconditionally and you took a kid from Miami and brought me up as one of your own. I’ve enjoyed my time here and you all have played a big part in that!! Thank you Birdland! You are forever in my heart! To the Baltimore Orioles, it has truly been a blessing to put on that uniform every day. To the Angelos Family & Dan Duquette, thank you for making my dreams come true!!! To Buck and the coaching staff, thank you for your commitment and dedication to making me the best player and teammate I can possibly be…I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you. To my teammates, we’ve shared some amazing times with lots of memories & friendships that I’ll cherish forever. Schoopy, I love you bro and I know you will carry the torch!!! ! Much love always, Manny #13

A post shared by @ machados13 on

RELATED LINKS: 

Manny Machado trade rumors are dominating headlines at All-Star Game 

Orioles star shortstop Manny Machado traded to Los Angeles Dodgers 

Quick Links

Redskins 2018 position outlook: Inside linebacker

z_brown_tackle_vs_oak_youngentob.jpg
Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Redskins 2018 position outlook: Inside linebacker

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Inside linebackers

Additions: Shaun Dion Hamilton (drafted in the fifth round)

Departures: Will Compton (free agent)

Starters: Zach Brown, Mason Foster

Other roster locks: Josh Harvey-Clemons

On the bubble: Hamilton, Zach Vigil, Martrell Spaight

How the inside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: This is a difficult comparison to make since only about half of the teams use the 3-4 with two inside linebackers and there are many variations when they go out of their base defense. Brown certainly is in the upper tier of players at his position. Foster’s skill set may not be coveted by many teams around the league, but he is a perfect fit in the Redskins’ defense in many ways. The player who could differentiate this group from others around the league is Harvey-Clemons. If he turns into a top-notch nickel LB the inside linebackers will be a great asset. 

To the 2017 Redskins:  This is about health. In 2017, Foster missed 11 games, Brown was hampered by a variety of injuries before sitting out the last three games. Compton was the top backup to both players and he went to injured reserve after just three starts. They did re-sign Vigil, who had spent training camp with the team, and he played pretty well near the end of the season. If the front-line players can stay on the field for most of the season this should be a much better group than the one that was partially responsible for the league’s 32nd-ranked rushing defense. 

2018 Inside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: The 2017 season was supposed to be a redshirt year for Harvey-Clemons as he transitions from college safety to NFL linebacker. He played a lot in the base defense during the offseason practices and that indicates that they are considering him for a bigger role beyond just playing nickel. You have to wonder how his size (6-4, 230) will affect his ability to get off of blocks. 

Most to prove: Spaight was a fifth-round pick in 2015 and he has yet to establish a regular role in the defense. It was telling that when they needed someone to start in the latter part of last year they brought back and started Vigil and mostly kept Spaight is going into the last year of his contract, but it would not be surprising to see Vigil beat him out for the last roster spot.  

Rookie watch: The Redskins traded up in the sixth round to get Hamilton. It wasn’t a blockbuster deal but the fact that they thought enough of him to move up says something. Gruden has said that he thinks Hamilton could be a starter at some point. He was one of the leaders on a strong Alabama defense before injuries struck. Hamilton is not going to start this year barring multiple injuries, but he should develop a role as the season goes on and be ready to compete in 2019.

Bottom line: The Redskins have not invested much in terms of free agent dollars or draft capital in the inside linebacker position in recent seasons. That changed somewhat this offseason as they made sure to spend to retain Brown and Foster. Neither commanded a huge contract but they did make a commitment and that is important. Last year Brown gave the defense a sideline-to-sideline dimension it hasn’t had in quite some time and retaining him was critical. Inside linebacker may not be a major strength for the defense this year but it should be able to get the job done. 

2018 Redskins position outlook series