Huard: Seahawks’ need for Chris Carson can no longer be understated
Through the Seahawks’ last four games quarterback Russell Wilson has struggled, with him turning the ball over 10 times in that span and Seattle dropping three of those contests.
There are a number of contributing factors as to why Wilson has been giving the ball away at a career-worst rate, but one reason that appears to be flying under the radar is how the Seahawks have been unable and unwilling to run the ball over those four games due to injuries in the running back room. The biggest one is a foot sprain suffered by starter Chris Carson, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher.
Former NFL quarterback and current NFL on FOX broadcaster Brock Huard told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant that Wilson has been forced to “do it all” with Carson out since the second half of a Week 7 loss in Arizona. With backup Carlos Hyde also injured, the Seahawks have been relying on the trio of DeeJay Dallas, Travis Homer and Alex Collins, which just doesn’t bring what Carson can do to the table.
“There’s just no explosion, there’s not an impact on the defense like there is when Chris Carson is in the game. He makes a big difference,” Huard said. “Russell, I think, is more compelled to hand the ball off … and to realize (Carson) can wear people down and slow down the legs of pass rushers and impact safeties and linebackers because of that threat of the run. And without it the last few weeks, (Wilson) has been trying to do way too much.”
In six games this year, Carson has rushed 66 times for 323 yards and three touchdowns. He also has 22 catches for 147 yards and three scores, but he hasn’t been able to add to those totals while he’s been out of action the last three weeks.
Huard said that the Seahawks losing three of their last four and Wilson’s rising turnover rate shows that Carson, who is in the last year of his contract, is more important to Seahawks and their offense than he may have been given credit for.
“Yes, and this goes back now a couple years,” Huard said of Carson’s importance. “… This goes back to December of last year and obviously now it goes into this stretch of three or four weeks. I mean three or four years (he’s missed games with injury and the run game has taken a hit) – this is not a one-year anomaly, right?”
The first word that comes to mind with Huard when he thinks of Carson is “impact.”
“When you watch him, and it doesn’t matter if you’re in the booth, on the field, on the TV, on the sidelines, wherever you’re at, you watch him and the dude is full of impact,” he said. “To his own teammates, to (an offensive line) that knows, ‘Man, if I just hold that block and strain for half a beat longer, this guy is going to run through an arm tackle and our 4-yard plays are going to be 14-yard plays.'”
But most importantly, Carson has a tremendously positive impact on Wilson.
“If (a passing play down field) is not there, (Wilson feels) good about checking it down and getting that guy out into the route and giving him the swing pass and screen pass and the screen game, which has basically disappeared the last couple weeks as he’s disappeared,” Huard said. “He is full of impact in every way on his own team, on the opponent, on the game plan, and you would sure hope that he’s able for his sake and his career to be reliable so he can gain and make some money for the years ahead and project for the years ahead.”
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