Marshawn Lynch's Seahawks numbers that matter on offense.
2.5: The average yards after contact gained by Lynch last season, according to the Football Outsiders Almanac. That was second among the 43 running backs who had at least 100 carries in 2014. One statistic that does a good job of showing how the offensive line is run blocking is yards before contact. In other words, how far did the running back get before he was touched? Lynch averaged just 2.2 yards before contact, which ranked 22nd.
In other words, your eyes are not deceiving you. Lynch picks up a lot of his yards because he's a violent runner who can shake off defenders even when the blocking is far from perfect. That means the offensive line issues highlighted this preseason have probably been a bit overblown. On the flip side, it's probably also why the Seahawks have had a tough time finding a backup who they're confident in. Lynch's style is impossible to replicate, and while he has been a model of durability in Seattle, if he were to go down, the offense would likely have to change its identity.
In an era when running backs are often devalued, Lynch might be the most indispensable ball carrier in the league in terms of what he means for his offense.
7.1: The percentage of Seahawks offensive drives last year that ended in a turnover, per Football Outsiders. Not only was that the best mark in 2014, but it was the lowest number of any NFL team since 2011.
When it comes to Russell Wilson's production on the field, two qualities stand out: his decision-making and his athleticism. Wilson's 1.5 percent interception rate was fifth-best among quarterbacks who attempted at least 100 passes in 2014.
According to the Football Outsiders Almanac, Wilson was pressured on 39 percent of his dropbacks last season, the top mark in the NFL. Yet Seattle still had the fifth-most efficient offense in the NFL.
"I'm only 26, but the older that I get, I still want to continue to work on my speed," Wilson said Tuesday. "I still want to be mobile, agile. I’m very big on mobility and flexibility and all that kind of stuff. When the game is on the line and something happens unexpectedly, you got to make plays, find a way."
Again, the offensive line issues are real, but there is evidence from as recently as last season that Wilson and Lynch can make up for many of the miscues up front.
24: Where the Seahawks ranked in terms of using two-TE sets last year, according to the Football Outsiders Almanac. They were in 12 personnel (one RB, two TEs) only 16 percent of the time. But the Seahawks were very successful out of that personnel grouping, averaging 6.8 yards per play.
With Jimmy Graham in the mix, don't be surprised if they use more 12 personnel with him and Luke Willson in the game together. If teams go with an extra defensive back in these situations, the Seahawks could gain an edge in the run game. If defenses decide to stay in their base looks, Graham could get matched up against a linebacker or a safety and do damage in the pass game.
One of the more intriguing story lines early in the season will be Graham's role. He and Wilson seemed to be a hair off in the last preseason game. With Graham's size and ability to attack the football in the air, it's worth targeting him even when he's not open. But that kind of timing and chemistry could take awhile to develop.