What’s next for Seahawks RBs with Chris Carson out for the season?

Nov 20, 2021, 5:10 PM

Seahawks Alex Collins...

Seahawks RB Alex Collins runs the ball for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the 49ers. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Seahawks were hoping to get starting running back Chris Carson back for the second half of the 2021 season for a potential playoff push, but that won’t be the case as head coach Pete Carroll confirmed Friday that Carson’s season is over.

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Carson, who is in his fifth NFL season with the Seahawks, has appeared in just four games this year due to a neck injury. He returned to practice last week and was actually designated to return from injured reserve, but Carroll told reporters Friday afternoon that Carson will undergo season-ending surgery on his neck in order to be back for the 2022 season, which is the final year of his current contract.

“We went as long as we could and he went as hard as he could at it, but after just not being able to get it (right) and turned around, this is the best choice,” Carroll told reporters at his press conference. ” … This is so he can play next year.”

Former NFL linebacker Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Wyman and Bob reacted to the news and shared their thoughts on what’s next for Seattle’s running backs.

I’m really disappointed. Really disappointed and really sad for Chris Carson because he’s such a good player,” Wyman said.

Wyman called running backs missing extended periods of time “the new normal” in today’s NFL, and with Carson out, it makes life that much harder for the 3-6 Seahawks.

“I think now after this season you’re going to say he’s a problem as far as injuries go for him. It’s just his style (of play),” Wyman said. “It’s such a shame because you think about the things that that guy can do … It’s just so disappointing and it’s going to make (the rest of the season) even more of an uphill battle.”

Alex Collins has been the starter with Carson out, but Carroll told reporters that 2018 first-round pick Rashaad Penny should have a larger role going forward.

“I’m really looking forward to Rashaad. We’re anxious to see him get going. It is really his time to help us,” he said. “As we go through the next couple of weeks, you’ll continue to see him be a big part of it.”

Stelton said this may be Penny’s last chance to show he can stick in the NFL after a disappointing start to his career despite being a former first-round pick.

“I hope for his sake he is (ready), because he’s playing for his career, and it’s not here in Seattle. It’s going to be somewhere else next year,” Stelton said. “… The rest of the season is an audition for him. It’s a tryout for Rashaad Penny and I hope he goes nuts.”

And while Carroll may be hinting at a larger role for Penny, Wyman thinks the Seahawks can be an effective running team if they give Collins consistent touches, which wasn’t the case last week when he had just 10 carries in a loss to the Green Bay Packers.

“Let’s see what happens when you give him the ball 20-25 times,” Wyman said. “… Give Alex Collins his reps. It’s like with Chris Carson, if you give him the ball 17 or 18 times a game, he’ll get you 1,000 yards when he’s healthy. I’d say the same thing (about Collins). If you give Alex Collins the ball like they did in Pittsburgh, he’s going to get over 100 yards.”

Wyman thinks that’s especially the case this week as the Seahawks are prepared to face the Arizona Cardinals, who allowed over 160 yards on the ground in a loss to the Carolina Panthers last week.

Collins has 345 rushing yards and two scores and is averaging over 4 yards per carry, but after getting at least 15 rushing attempts in his first three starts with Carson out, he’s had 10 in each of Seattle’s last two games.

Wyman thinks that’s no fault of Collins, who has impressed the former NFL linebacker when he’s got the ball in his hands.

“I really like what I’ve seen out of him, I really have. I haven’t seen a lot of negative plays, his feet are always going,” Wyman said. “… So let’s roll with Alex Collins right now. That’s the way it is whether you like it or not. I think if you give him the reps, he’ll get into a flow.”

Listen to the first hour of Friday’s edition of Wyman and Bob at this link or in the player below.

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