Bumpus: Seahawks have to roll with Collins at RB even with Penny back

Oct 21, 2021, 1:07 AM | Updated: 10:21 am
Seahawks RB Alex Collins...
Seahawks RB Alex Collins rushes against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Seahawks entered the season with 2019 first-round pick Rashaad Penny right behind Chris Carson on the depth chart at running back, but Penny got hurt again in Week 1 and has yet to return to action.

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Now, Carson is on injured reserve with a neck injury while Penny is expected back for Seattle’s next game against the New Orleans Saints.

If presented with this scenario a few weeks ago, you likely would have assumed Penny would step into a major role with Carson down if not replacing him altogether as the team’s lead back.

That doesn’t appear to be the case now, and former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus hopes that’s not what happens.

“You have got to roll with Alex Collins,” Bumpus said on Monday’s edition of Wyman and Bob on 710 ESPN Seattle. “He is the reason why this offense looked different.”

During the Seahawks’ Week 6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the running game came alive in the second half with Collins leading the way. He wound up being the first Seattle player to rush for over 100 yards in a game since late 2019, and he also scored a touchdown.

“That (first) third quarter drive, 10 plays, they ran the ball nine times and threw one screen pass to (DK Metcalf), and Alex Collins was the catalyst of that thing,” Bumpus said.

Bumpus thinks the Seahawks will still be looking to see what a healthy Penny can do, but he questions whether the team can trust him due to his lengthy injury history even though he’s been explosive at times when he’s been on the field.

“You clearly have to sprinkle this guy in just because of his injury history,” he said.

So if Bumpus was making the Seahawks’ depth chart for Monday against the Saints, what would the order be at running back?

“Next week when this thing gets going, I’m going Alex Collins, I’m going DeeJay (Dallas), then I’m going Travis Homer and sprinkling in Rashaad Penny,” he said.

In terms of the running game as a whole, Bumpus wants to see the Seahawks lean on Collins and the other backs going forward, especially with backup quarterback Geno Smith under center. That’s especially the case after watching Smith and the Seahawks against the Steelers.

“I saw an offense that committed to the run,” Bumpus said. “That drive in the third quarter – and I’m a receiver, man – I’m like ‘you’ve got to run the football.’ You’ve got to ease Geno into this thing … I mean the very first play (of the game), they ran a jet sweep with a tight end. What are we doing? Just give it to Alex Collins and let him run downhill.”

Listen to the full discussion with Bumpus at this link or in the player below.

Heaps: Hawks ‘don’t really have a choice’ but to be a run-first team

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Bumpus: Seahawks have to roll with Collins at RB even with Penny back