Robert Turbin making the most of his opportunities

Posted Dec 6, 2013

Robert Turbin got used to carrying the load at Utah State. But since being drafted by the Seahawks last year to backup Marshawn Lynch, Turbin has had to alter his outlook, if not his physical style.

Being Marshawn Lynch’s backup can test the patience of even the most grounded player.

Just ask Robert Turbin.

The 5-foot-10, 222-pound Turbin was selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft to provide another hard-running option on those rare occasions when Lynch needs a breather or even rarer occurrences when the Seahawks’ Beast Mode back is unable to play.

But while Lynch carried the ball a career-high 315 times while rushing for a career-best 1,590 yards last season, Turbin got 80 carries for 354 yards. And entering Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park, the tally sheets shows that Lynch has 970 yards on 224 carries – third-highest in the league behind the Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson (261) and Philadelphia Eagles’ LeSean McCoy (232); with Turbin at 205 yards on 59 carries.

In Monday night’s impressive 34-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints, however, it was Turbin who got the repeated calls in a 13-play drive that burned almost eight minutes of the fourth quarter. He carried eight times for 21 yards. Not overly impressive, perhaps, but definitely effective.

“I saw Turbo throughout the game just doing a really nice job of running the ball, and really the thing that stood out to me was how physical he was,” said offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, using Turbin’s obvious nickname.

“Even in the two-minute drive, where he came off the left side, even had a spin move and kept running.”

That was on Turbin’s 12-yard run during a 12-play, 88-yard touchdown drive just before halftime that made it 27-7.

“It was almost just a direct line, even though he had that spin move in it,” Bevell said. “And then just finishing real physical at the end.”

Again, that’s why Turbin is here – because of his physical, almost-punishing, running style; and his ability to supply the prerequisite one-step-and-go quality that assistant head coach/line coach Tom Cable requires.

“Robert Turbin was a guy that we picked because we knew he was a big, strong, tough, attack-the-line-of-scrimmage guy,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We wanted a guy like that and he turned out to be a really good pass protector, as well, and a good catcher. More so than maybe we thought.

“He’s done more than we had hoped.”

Turbin’s take on all of this? The expected, but also more.

“It feels good to be able to get some carries in a row, to get a feel for what the defense is doing, to kind of get your own rhythm,” he said. “But I feel like I didn’t do that much.”

Spoken like the true competitor that Turbin obviously is, but also the team player he has become.

“That’s how it is, that’s the business of the league,” he added of being in a wait-your-turn role. “Not everybody comes in and starts right away. But you’ve got to start somewhere, so all you can do is continue to stay the course – which can be difficult at times.”

Especially for a player who was the bell-cow back at Utah State, where he had 237 touches and 1,296 rushing yards in 2009 and 266 touches and 1,517 rushing yards in 2011.

“If I walked around here upset all the time, it would kind of make me hypocritical,” he said. “Because when I was the starter in college, and I was the guy, I would tell the freshmen and the sophomores and the juniors, ‘Hey, it’s me right now, you’ve got to wait your turn.’

“Marshawn doesn’t say anything like that to me, but it is fact. So I can’t be hypocritical when I’ve been in the situation where I was the guy and the other guys weren’t but wanted to be.”

So Turbin will continue to wait, and make sure he’s ready when called upon – whether it’s one carry, like he got in Week 6 against the Tennessee Titans this season; or the 20 carries he used to rush for 108 yards against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14 last season; or the clock-killing situation he found himself in Monday night.

“When it comes, it’s cool,” he said.