Moore: Seahawks’ Rashaad Penny shouldn’t get carries over C.J. Prosise
I’m not a Rashaad Penny fan. He might turn into a running back who was worthy of being a Seahawks first-round pick, but I haven’t seen it since he arrived in Seattle last year.
The Penny supporters will always bring up the sensational change-of-direction run that he had against Green Bay last year. They’ll also mention that a hand injury in training camp put him behind and caused him to play catch-up in his first NFL season. They’ll point to his yards per carry last year – 4.9 was tops on the team.
They like to point out that Penny rushed for 108 yards on 12 carries in the Seahawks’ 36-31 loss to the Rams in Los Angeles last November. But they won’t talk about his game against Carolina when he carried the ball four times for 4 yards. Or the Arizona game: four carries for 6 yards. Or the Dallas game: three carries for 5 yards. In a sign of things to come, in his first game at Denver, Penny had seven carries for 8 yards.
When he was drafted, I thought he must be so good that he would replace Chris Carson as the starting running back. John Clayton reminded me that it would take some time, that Penny might work his way into a starting role, but it was Carson’s job for the time being. Or something along those lines.
Point is, when you’re a first-round pick, expectations are higher than they were for Carson, a seventh-rounder. Maybe even the Penny supporters would agree with me on that.
Flatly put, Penny has fallen short. At this point I’d say if you take the two extremes of what could become of Penny’s career, he’s closer to being cut from the team than ever replacing Carson as the starter.
Carson’s physical, pounding style is a better fit for the Seahawks’ running game. Penny needs more room to operate. You see flashes from him but nothing in terms of consistency.
Maybe he needs more carries to get into a rhythm, like a shooter needs his shots in a basketball game. The problem with that? I don’t want to see carries taken away from Carson and given to Penny anymore, especially on what has become a weaker premise of him possibly looking like a Pro Bowl running back someday.
I bring this up today because of what happened against the Bengals. First of all, Carson didn’t have much of a game by his standards ‐ 15 carries for 46 yards. And Penny had six carries for 18 yards, which was pretty good by his standards.
C.J. Prosise got no carries, and that made no sense to me. The Professor told me it’s because the Seahawks ran only 49 plays. So I’m assuming if they’d run 65 or 70 plays, Prosise would have gotten a couple of carries as the third-string back.
This Sunday against the Steelers, I don’t care if they run 49 plays or 39 plays, I’d like to see Russell Wilson hand the ball to Prosise more than a few times. Don’t you know what you have with Penny at this point? It reminds me of the Jimmy Graham era when the Seahawks kept force-feeding their tight end, trying to make it work week after week. It never seemed quite right even if Graham’s numbers suggested otherwise.
Prosise is finally healthy. That probably won’t last, so why not take advantage of a Prosise at 100 percent while you have it? Maybe he’ll dazzle like he did in that Sunday night game against the Patriots a few years back. Maybe he’ll resemble an elite NFL running back like he did in the preseason. He’s more decisive and better than Penny right now and his ceiling is higher too.
If Penny had been a fifth- or sixth-round choice last year, there is no way on earth he’d be the primary backup to Carson. Hey Schotty, Prosise looks like the better option to me, and if you’re not going to call him out of the bullpen, then give all of the carries to Carson.
If Brian Schottenheimer asked me for advice on his game plan for the Steelers, I’d tell him to elevate Prosise and bench Penny. If it truly is an “always compete” environment with the Seahawks, that’s what we’ll see in Pittsburgh.