Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch has been known as “Beast Mode” for years.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said it’s not hard to see why.
“Mean runner,” he said Thursday, “I don’t know why I did this–I went on YouTube and I don’t even know how to do that real well, but there was a lot of Marshawn Lynch’s videos.”
What Spagnuolo saw as he watched the highlights was a 5-11, 215-pound running back that he said, “scares me.”
“The way he runs–we’ve been talking about it all week,” Spagnuolo said. “That’s going to be target No. 1 because he’s a good football player.”
Defensive tackle Damon Harrison said that Lynch, who came out of retirement this year to join the Raiders, looks like he hasn’t missed a beat, even at the “old” age of 31.
“He’s still running hard, strong,” Harrison said. “Saw him run over a defensive tackle the other day that caused quite the stir in the defensive line room, so it’ll be a big challenge for us.”
Defensive end Olivier Vernon last faced Lynch when he was a rookie with Miami and Lynch was with the Seattle Seahawks, but Vernon said that Lynch hasn’t lost anything since.
“He’s still one of the top running backs in the league and you can see it on tape,” he said. “He’s powerful and he’s one of those guys that’s going to make homerun run and we’ve just got to do our best to contain him.”
That might be difficult. Lynch, who has 9,569 rushing yards on 2,267 career carries dating back to 2007, leads the Raiders with 26 missed tackles as a rusher this season, per Pro Football Focus, which means he’s driving through would-be tacklers and making them look silly, especially if they attempt to arm-tackle him.
“Yeah because he’s coming downhill fast right now with an attitude, you combine that the ability to cut the way that he does,” said Harrison. “I mean, it just adds a different level of–I don’t know, what’s the word?”
“There you go. We’ll go with danger. We’ll take danger,” Harrison said.
The threat posed by Lynch is no doubt keeping Spagnuolo, whose Giants run defense has allowed an average of 131.7 yards per game to opponents (21st in the NFL) up awake at night this week.
“I got a lot of respect for him as a football player–loves playing ball,” Spagnuolo said.
“We can’t let them get the run game going,” he said.