The Seahawks solidified their backfield depth over the weekend, signing veteran running back Fred Jackson Sunday night. Prior that move, the Seahawks had placed Robert Turbin on injured reserve and traded Christine Michael to Dallas, leaving just two running backs on the roster—Marshawn Lynch and undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls.
In Jackson, the Seahawks are adding a veteran who can take on a similar role to the one Turbin had in the offense over the past three seasons, serving as a reliable option to spell Lynch and also as someone who can be a third-down back who is skilled as a pass-catcher and in pass protection.
"I've asked him to really dig into the throwing game so that he can be a third-down guy for us," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said on his weekly radio show on 710 ESPN Seattle. "He's not going to have any trouble with the run game, he'll know what's going on there, he'll pick that up, but the pass-protection stuff is really what will tax him the most. He understands it, he's a good pass-pro guy and he's a terrific catcher, so that part is going to fit in really well, the security of that. We like Marshawn on third down, we like using him there, but he needs a break now and then, so I like to have a real steady guy going in. Without Turbo available to us—he was the stead guy to go in; Christine wasn't that guy to take that spot, and we don't want to put that on Thomas at this point—so it just seemed like it fit really well for us. We think it's going to be a good solid move, and we get a really classy kid to add to the roster."
Jackson, who was teammates with Lynch in Buffalo for four seasons before Lynch was traded to the Seattle in 2010, was released by the Bills last week.
Jackson, 34, has spent his entire nine-year career in Buffalo up until this point, rushing for 5,646 yards, and also has 2,640 career receiving yards. In 14 games last season, Jackson rushed for 525 yards and had 501 receiving yards. He visited the Seahawks for a physical shortly after being released.
In particular, the Seahawks like what Jackson can bring to the passing offense both as a pass-catcher and a blocker. That ability was evident last season when Jackson established career highs with 66 catches for 501 yards.
"He has been a very adept pass catcher, and a good pass protector," Carroll said last week when asked about Jackson's visit. "He has always been a good runner, he's got great feel and sense, had a big run in the game last week. He had a 40 yard run last week and scored a touchdown, but he's been a very adept pass receiver."
Some of the top Associated Press photos of the newest Seahawks runningback, Fred Jackson