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Duckett and Jones Lead Rushing Revival

If Mike Holmgren was concerned during training camp about how T.J. Duckett would fit into the Seahawks offensive backfield, he certainly has it figured out now.


T.J. Duckett

If Mike Holmgren was concerned during training camp about how T.J. Duckett would fit into the Seahawks offensive backfield, he certainly has it figured out now.

Sunday afternoon, as the Seahawks piled up 245 yards rushing – the most in two years – Duckett ran for two touchdowns for the first time in four years and added 79 yards rushing on 19 carries in a huge role during the Seahawks 37-13 win over the St. Louis Rams.

The 140 yards rushing from Julius Jones* *was far more striking, but the combination of speed and power from the 254-pound Duckett, also showed how much more effective and versatile the Seahawks are at running the football this season.

"I will admit to the fact that I knew least about T.J.," Holmgren said after both Jones and Duckett were signed as free agents in the offseason.

"I knew he was going to be a short yardage back for us and a goal line back for us, but in the situation like we had today where we wanted to control the clock a little bit, if we could, and kind of pound it a little bit if we could, he's a good guy to have. He is a big strong man. He is a different style of runner. I think they complement one another."

A former first round pick out of Michigan State in 2002 by the Atlanta Falcons, both president Tim Ruskell and assistant head coach/secondary coach Jim Mora had Duckett in Atlanta. There, he had 11 touchdowns in 2003, and eight in both 2004 and 2005. he went to Washington and then Detroit the past two seasons and five touchdowns combined.

The good news is he already has three this season.

And it isn't as if Jones is surprised by his free agent partner, who shared in the primary ball-carrying today so neither would wear out. They took some recruiting trips together in high school, before Jones ended up at Notre Dame and Duckett at Michigan State.

"Me and T.J. go way back, we have known each other since we were 17 years old," Jones said. "It is really good to see him get in there and mow some people down. He feeds off of me when I get in there and make a couple of moves. We just feed off of each other and he is a really good back. I'm glad to see him get in there and score a few touchdowns today."

More importantly, Duckett is gaining confidence. With Holmgren's initial uncertainty, plus Jones, Maurice Morris and Leonard Weaver settled into the backfield, the uncertainty lingered.

A game like Sunday bodes well for the Duckett's future and the Seahawks.

"I think we're just getting comfortable with each other," Duckett said. "It's tough to get things going early… there are a lot of different backs who run. I think the offensive line is starting to get a feel of what each back does, and getting comfortable with it. We're just running some plays and we're all working hard at it.

"It was good (today)," Duckett said. "It felt good. Again, as running back, you always want to get carries. There's one ball, there's a lot of great talent out here. You get the opportunity to get it, you take advantage of it and run hard."

After struggling all of last season running the football to the point that they essentially gave it up in November and passing dominated the rest of the season, the running game was an offseason emphasis. The most impressive thing about Sunday's game was the way they ran the ball between the tackles. Holmgren even told quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to stress north-south running in the huddle.

Obviously, they complied.

"I think it is a big thing, I really do," Holmgren said. "We encourage that. My contribution to Matt in the running game is things like that. North and south, remind them get going up field. 'Remind them in the huddle,' that's what I am telling Matt to tell the guys in the huddle. I think that they appear to be that type of runner, and that's good. Positive yards, we tried to go outside a little bit, and lost yards, and then we kind of settle in on what we thought would work, and it worked pretty well for us."

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