It's not often that you hear a grown man known for scarfing down Skittles talk about how much he has grown up, but that is exactly what Marshawn Lynch credits with improving his game this season. With one game still remaining, Lynch has already established career highs in rushing yards and touchdowns and has the highest yard-per-carry average of his career. Plenty of that has had to do with the growth of the offensive line in front of him, as well as the blocking of fullback Michael Robinson, who was named a Pro Bowl alternate, but Lynch also said he has become a harder worker and better student of the game this season.
"I feel I became a pro this year<" he said. "In the studying, the taking care of my body, doing the little things that I could have gotten away with when I was younger, like not stretching, just going out there.
Lynch said watching the way Leon Washington prepares for games and takes care of his body has been a big help, as has studying the game with Robinson and Justin Forsett.
"A lot of the things I have learned, I have learned from those guys in that room," he said.
"He came to me a few weeks back and said, ‘Help me do what the other backs have done in this thing,'" offensive line coach Tom Cable said. "And we made a deal. You have to do it the way I ask you to do it, and he's done it. A lot of credit goes to him because he was able to maybe push his ego or push his own beliefs, to some extent, aside and embrace something new. Because this is a system that asks a back to do things a certain way, and once you get in and through the line of scrimmage, then do your thing, you can do all the craziness you want then, but you've got to do it this way from A to B, and he bought into A to B."
With just 117 rushing yards (and zero TDs) in his firs three games, Lynch started to hit the waiver wire in shallow leagues. Since Week 4, he has scored 13 TDs in 11 games, while averaging a healthy 108 total yards per game. He is now the #8 RB in fantasy points per game and is shaping up to be a late 1st round/early 2nd round pick next summer.