Moore: Is Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny a bust? There’s a way to find out
When the Seahawks play the Chargers in Los Angeles Saturday night, Rashaad Penny should take over for Chris Carson and start at running back. Not that he’s earned it, I’d just like to see Penny run with the first-string offensive line in front of him.
If that happens and he fails to produce much of anything against the Chargers, can we stop with the excuses for Penny?
Since he arrived last year as a questionable first-round pick, Penny has been a disappointment. In 2018 you could chalk up his lackluster first season to a number of things – a rookie learning the ropes, a player who appeared to be carrying too much weight and a hand injury that took away his preseason reps.
This year he showed up in better shape and did not suffer a training camp injury, yet his preseason numbers have been terrible thus far. After rushing for 15 yards on six carries in the preseason opener against Denver, Penny rushed for minus-2 yards on six carries against Minnesota in Sunday’s 25-19 loss. You and I rushed for more yardage by gaining absolutely nothing while we watched the game.
If you’re still firmly in Penny’s camp, you would tell me that no one could have gotten anything out of Penny’s carries since the Vikings were in his face an instant after he got the handoffs from Paxton Lynch. How can you fairly evaluate him when the blocking was that bad?
But if you didn’t know anything about Penny’s draft history, you’d think he’d have a hard time making the 53-man roster based on preseason results thus far. If he were a third-round pick, which he was projected by some analysts to be, Penny would probably be on the bubble. If he were a seventh-round pick, he’d be a long shot to make the team.
Then again, you could say it’s too early to pass judgment on Penny since it’s still so early in his career. And if you said that, I’d say it’s a fair point. But I’d counter by saying that first-rounders are typically better than what Penny’s been. I honestly don’t know what he’s done to deserve his projected role as the second-string back to Carson, or the 1B back to Carson’s 1A.
At this point, if you’re going to keep Penny on the team, fine, but give Carson 90 percent of the carries and Penny 10 percent. Carson appears to be that much better and he’s a harder runner, a guy who can break tackles and deliver the pounding, physical style that Pete Carroll wants from his running backs.
By giving Carson 90 percent of the carries, you increase his chances for an injury, but if you limit Penny to 10 percent of the carries, you also reduce the number of times that the second-year player might not make it back to the line of scrimmage.
If you’ve been watching the Seahawks the past two to three years, you’d have a hard time convincing me that Penny is a better running-back option than J.D. McKissic. I know that McKissic is smaller, but I’m guessing he would have done more with those six carries Sunday night than Penny did.
Carson doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone after rushing for 1,151 yards last year. He’s a premier back who doesn’t need more carries against the Chargers to get fine-tuned for the regular season. Give his carries to Penny Saturday night and let’s see if can make the most of the opportunity.