Focus on: Spencer Ware

Posted Jul 27, 2014

The spotlight has been on Robert Turbin and Christine Michael in Marshawn Lynch’s absence from the Seahawks’ training camp. But Spencer Ware also is reminding everyone why he made the 53-man roster as a rookie last year.

Running backs have been the talk of the Seahawks’ training camp so far – especially the one who isn’t here (Marshawn Lynch), but also two who are (Robert Turbin and Christine Michael).

But don’t forget about Spencer Ware, because the coaches haven’t.

After an out-of-sight, out-of-mind rookie season, last year’s sixth-round draft choice has returned from the ankle injury that ended his NFL debut after only two games.

It was Ware’s ability to play fullback as well as tailback that earned him a spot on the 53-man roster last summer. But as the players prepare for their third practice in this year’s training camp on Sunday morning, Ware is focusing solely on tailback because fullback Kiero Small was drafted to join incumbent starter Derrick Coleman.

“Spencer showed some stuff last year,” said Sherman Smith, the Seahawks’ original running back who is now in his fifth season coaching the position on Pete Carroll’s staff. “The thing he’s got to do is stay healthy. Spencer has nice run skills. I love the way he runs the ball.

“He’s not a real fast guy, but he’s fast enough to be dangerous.”

Turbin and Michael are splitting the first-team reps with Lynch a no-show, but Saturday it was Ware who had two of nicer runs – as he used a stutter step to get through the hole on the first and an impressive change of direction to turn the second into an even longer gain.

“Last year was an adjustment, coming from the collegiate level, just because of the work ethic – and not only on the field but off the field in the film room,” Ware said. “This year, I’ve spent a lot of time doing that. I’m more self-motivated and not worried about, ‘Oh, am I going to make the team,’ or anything like that.

“Another thing is I’m at one position now, not two. So I’m able to focus on that position with the specific reps I get.”

Last summer, Ware ran for 102 yards during the Seahawks’ undefeated preseason to finish second on the team to Michael (201). But he got only three carries in the regular season before being placed on injured reserve.

“This year, it’s about taking care of my body for the long run,” Ware said. “I’m just looking forward to the opportunity this year.”

Ware has one primary goal: To be accountable.

“I want them to be able to depend on me in the game,” he said.

His role model in this quest has become Turbin.

“One person they depend on tremendously is Robert Turbin,” Ware said. “Pass game, run game, he knows his stuff. He’s assignment sound. He’s a professional. He comes out here every day and he works really hard. That’s something I’m feeding off of, and hopefully I’ll be able to display it for the coaches and they’ll see the work I put in during the offseason.”

Especially if he continues to show up the way he has in the first two training camp practices.