Another Wednesday. Another conference call with the opposing coach. Another gush-fest about the Seahawks’ emerging running game.
Last week, Ravens coach John Harbaugh labeled Marshawn Lynch “definitely a Top 2 or 3 running back in the National Football League.” Lynch then went out and ran like it, gaining 109 oh-so-tough yards in the Seahawks’ 22-17 upset victory on Sunday.
Today, it was Steve Spagnuolo, whose Rams host the Seahawks on Sunday.
“We’re about to face, I think, one of the better rushing teams in the league,” the Rams’ third-year coach said. “It’s been evident that they’ve shown what they can do as a rushing team in the last two weeks. And if we don’t find a way to somehow control that it will be a very long day for us.”
The Rams rank last in the league in rushing defense, allowing an average of 150.6 yards. They’re also giving up 5.1 yards per carry, with only the Raiders and Saints allowing a higher average (5.2).
Asked about the “little bit of a struggle” his run defense has had in the team’s 2-9 start, Spagnuolo laughed and offered, “You’re very kind with the ‘a little bit of a struggle.’ I appreciate that. It hasn’t been good. It’s some we take a lot of pride in.”
Sunday, the Rams will be butting helmets with Lynch, who is coming off back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances for the first time in his career – and the first for a Seahawks back since Julius Jones did in 2008, including a 140-yard game against the Rams; and a Seahawks offense that has gone for 100-plus rushing yards in consecutive games for the first time since Weeks 6-7 last season.
“The two things that jump right out at me is they’re getting in a groove running the football,” Spagnuolo said. “So we have a tremendous amount of respect for that.”
No. 2 on his list? “As soon as you turn on their defensive tape, it seems every time I watch the sideline view I see the line of scrimmage being reestablished on the other side of the offense. They are, in my opinion, very stout, active and aggressive up front. I think that’s how you play good defense. I think they do a good job of it.
“So we’ve got a great deal of respect for those two phases.”