What happened to the Seahawks’ emphasis on the run game?
Pete Carroll isn’t turning away from it, but the Seahawks’ run game has yet to make a statement through two games, which is a bit strange given the team’s focus on and investment in the run game this offseason.
Stranger still was the situation in Chicago, where lead running back Chris Carson missed most of the second half of Seattle’s 24-17 loss to the Bears.
Carson had four carries for 17 yards in the first quarter. Three of those were consecutive runs to open Seattle’s first drive, and Carson picked up 9 yards on the first play from scrimmage. He finished the half with 24 yards on six carries. After that, Seattle pulled away from Carson – the team had no rushing attempts in the third quarter (granted, the offense was on the field for just over two minutes) and Carson didn’t touch the ball at all in the fourth.
Carroll took the blame for sitting Carson through two quarters, calling it a mistake. The Seahawks head coach told Brock Huard and Mike Salk during an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle Tuesday that he “misread” a situation on the sidelines.
“I just looked at (Carson) on the sideline, he looked like he was kind of worn down a little bit,” Carroll said. “And I knew that he was a factor in special teams. (But special teams coach Brian Schneider) had taken him off a couple things because he was running the ball well. I just missed it.”
Carroll denied he made a decision to bench Carson.
“It wasn’t like I was disappointed with him,” Carroll said. “We still wanted to see the other guys too and mix them in and that’s just the way it went. I didn’t read (Carson’s situation) right. And when I commented about it postgame, I wasn’t clear. I just misread the situation.”
Before you panic…
Carroll has insisted the focus on the run hasn’t gone anywhere. Whether or not you’re buying in, it’s still too early to measure whether the investments this year have paid off. Seattle has just 33 carries for all backs through two games (seven apiece for Carson and Penny in Week 1, and 19 between Carson, Penny and Mike Davis for Week 2). The team also has promising candidates in Carson, Penny, Davis and a healthy C.J. Prosise. J.D. McKissic, currently on IR with a broken foot, will have a chance to return after 10 weeks.
At some point, though, words don’t matter as much as carries. Two games is certainly too soon to pass final judgement. But Seattle’s approach to rushing on the field has yet to catch up to the team’s offseason approach to, and investment in, revamping the run game – some of which was, admittedly, an ongoing narrative in our own coverage of the team.
“I know it’s a little bit frustrating to not see (consistency) all the way through,” Carroll said. “But I think we feel like we can continue to work at running the football.”
A dominant run attack has arguably been part of Carroll’s coaching philosophy since he took over in 2010, but the team has had dwindling success at the position since 2015. Marshawn Lynch’s 1,306 yard season in 2014 remains the last 1,000-plus yard season by any Seattle running back. Last year, no individual running back put up more than 240 yards.