RB Fred Jackson spent much of his eight seasons in Buffalo mastering pass blocking and pass catching, two skills the Seahawks concluded were lacking in Christine Michael.
In addition to his jobs as Beast Mode, Skittles savant, plumbing oracle and sportswear entrepreneur, Marshawn Lynch is now, apparently, assistant general manager of the Seahawks. To hear Fred Jackson tell it, anyway.
“He was a factor in me coming out here,” said Jackson, who after eight seasons in Buffalo was unceremoniously dumped last week. “Soon as I got released, I got on the phone with him. I said I wouldn’t mind if you put a bug in the ear of the coach or general manager, and let them know that if I can, I’d like to come out there and play.
“He did that. I got that phone call (from the Seahawks). I think he had a lot to do with me being here.”
Coach Pete Carroll wasn’t quite sure Lynch was so central a figure, but confirmed he had his ear bent.
“Marshawn got the word out to us that he really trusted him, was a terrific teammate — nothing but really positive stuff to say,” said Carroll. As he continued to talk about the virtues of Jackson, who at 34 would be the oldest Seahawk who isn’t a kicker, Carroll worked his way to the key reason:
“He gives us some real secure play. He’s doing things for us we need some help on.”
In a nutshell, that’s why the Seahawks traded RB Christine Michael to the Cowboys for magic beans, otherwise known as a conditional seventh-round draft pick.
Michael never learned to secure the ball well, didn’t like to pass-block and didn’t always find the premium way across the line of scrimmage.
With No. 1 backup Robert Turbin out with an ankle sprain (and now on injured reserve), the Seahawks were suddenly desperate for someone who could be trusted not to screw up.
In addition, Jackson last season with the Bills caught a career-high 66 passes out of the backfield. It was his main thing, because his rushes dwindled to 141 attempts and 501 yards.
Michael in two Seattle seasons caught one pass. In 56 regular season and playoff games over three seasons, Turbin caught 48 passes.
When the Seahawks are starting the season with a shaky offensive line, the desire is clear: QB Russell Wilson needs someone he can trust to get free in the flat for a check-down pass. Not to mention someone who can put a lick on a blitzing linebacker.
“Catching passes is something I take pride in,” Jackson said. “I always prided myself on being one of the better pass-protection backs in the league. You have to be able to do that.
“It’s allowed me to play along time. There’s a lot of gifted runners, but not all want to pass protect. I took it to heart.”
For Jackson’s part, he’s taking a pay cut, from a scheduled $2.3 million for 2105 to what is likely the veterans minimum for his service, about $780,000. But in coming to Seattle, Jackson, the father of four all under nine, gets to inherit an older “son.”
“Now, that I’m here with him,” he said, grinning, “I’ll get the layout of the land, and he’ll be at my house playing with my kids — I treat him like he’s one of them.
“He definitely will be the kind of guy I put my arm around and treat like a little brother.”
Jackson also gets to hang likely with a winning team.
“Richard Sherman joked with me: ‘You haven’t been in a playoff game?’” he said. “I haven’t been that fortunate. That was the No. 1 thing here — they’ve had success, and they know how to win.”
The key is to be deep at general manager.
Injuries will keep one player out of Sunday’s game in St. Louis: LB Mike Morgan (pulled hamstring) won’t make it. TE Cooper Helfet (sprained knee) and QB Tarvaris Jackson (sprained ankle) both were running Monday and Carroll expressed some optimism they would be available . . . The Seahawks filled out their practice squad with three players not previously a part of the preseason: CBs Justin Coleman of Tennessee and Kevin Short of Fort Scott CC and DE Robert Thomas of Tennessee.