Marshawn Lynch ‘Heart and Soul’ of Raiders Says Head Coach Jon Gruden

Following a summer writing great in-depth predictions for the BAFA NL Premiership North, Team DC member George Buksmann got an opportunity this week to head along to the Oakland Raider’s Press conference ahead of their Wembley showdown against the Seahawks this weekend.

George takes a look at one of the biggest stories of this matchup, as Marshawn ‘Beastmode’ Lynch takes on his former teammates at the Seahawks:

Running back Marshawn Lynch will face his former team the Seattle Seahawks at Wembley as part of the NFL’s international series.

The Raiders arrived in London on Friday afternoon and following a light practice took questions from the media.

We’ve got a few ex-Seahawks on our team, Bruce Irvin, Clinton McDonald and certainly Marshawn Lynch the most well-known ex-Seahawk on our football team,” said Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, “He’s had a lot to do I think with the Super Bowl ring that the Seahawks wear, he was the soul and heart of that team, and in a lot of way he’s the heart and soul of the Raiders right now.

He’s still running with that incredible physicality, he’s been durable, he’s practiced every day and behind the scenes he’s one of our leaders, he’s a little bit misunderstood by a lot of people, but believe me, if you were coaching a football team, he’d be one of the first guys you’d want on your team.”

Lynch has looked rejuvenated this season with the Raiders, with 401 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns in five games. With Gruden wanting to feed Beastmode the ball more Lynch looks set to surpass last season’s rushing total of 891 yards and break the 1,000-yard mark for the first time since 2014.

Head Coach Jon Gruden - Oakland Raiders. Photography (c) Roger Goodgroves

We’ve got a lot of guys that need to see the ball more,” said Gruden, “We need to get the ball more, take better care on offence, we’ve done some good things offensively, but good is not good enough, we need to start playing great offensive football, and to do that we need to see more of Lynch, we need to see a little bit more of the ball going across the goal line, that’s the big thing.”

Lynch’s former Head Coach Pete Carroll is clearly pleased for his former running back yet understands the threat he poses offensively.

He’s always been a unique football player, there’s nobody that tries to run harder than he does, he finishes great, he’s got a unique style, the makeup of his body, the way he comes at you, it’s got a uniqueness to it, they’re doing the right things with him to feature his style of play, he’s catching the football for them as well, so he’s a load, he’s tough, fortunately we do know him, we understand what he’s like and so hopefully we’ve helped our guys understand how they’ve got to go about tackling him, that’s a big chore.”

Head Coach Pete Caroll - Seattle Seahawks. Photography (c) Roger Goodgroves

I’ve been really impressed with Marshawn’s return to the game, I couldn’t have known that he would be able to come back so fit and just continue to pick up where he left off, my comment to him when we saw him in pre-season a couple of years ago, you could see it so clearly, we know him so well, that you can see the level that he had returned to the game.

I think that’s with great respect to the opportunity, the Oakland opportunity for him is once in a lifetime, growing up, contributing so much, being so connected to the community, it’s just a likely, loveable kind of matchup, you could never find any other way, he will influence that community forever, even more so than ever because of that, but the cool thing is he really embraces his chance at coming back and did the hard work and the tough stuff to make him available to play like he’s playing so we see him like he’s loaded up ready to go, so we’re going to do the same and it’ll be fun playing against him.”