Pete Carroll Show: Rashaad Penny shines, Darrell Taylor’s bright Seahawks future

Dec 13, 2021, 2:24 PM
Seahawks DE Darrell Taylor...
Davis Mills of the Houston Texans is tackled by Darrell Taylor of the Seattle Seahawks during the third quarter. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Seahawks have won two games in a row for the first time this season after a rather comfortable 33-13 road win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

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The latest win gets Seattle to 5-8 on the year with games against the Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals left on the schedule.

As he does every day after the Seahawks play, head coach Pete Carroll joined Mike Salk for The Pete Carroll Show on 710 ESPN Seattle to discuss his team’s latest game. As you might imagine, Carroll had plenty of positive takeaways from the Seahawks’ blowout win over the Texans.

“We played a team that was struggling and by the time the game was over, we won like we should,” he said. “We played good football and took care of the ball, moved it, made conversions and controlled it well enough to have a really good balanced, solid football game. That was it, and I’m really fired up about that.”

So, let’s dive into some of what Carroll had to say Monday morning.

Career day for Penny

If any player stole the show on Sunday, it was running back Rashaad Penny, who had 137 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries. The two rushing touchdowns tied a career high while the 137 yards set a career high.

It was a big day for Penny, who has been severely banged up not just in 2021, but throughout his four-year NFL career.

“It was so good for all the reasons,” Carroll said. “And it also reminded us what it’s like to have a home run hitter out there … he gets a crack and he can go.”

Penny was the Seahawks’ first-round pick in 2018 and he had an up-and-down rookie campaign due to a training camp injury and because Chris Carson emerged as the team’s starter.

After struggling at times in 2019, Penny finally broke through in the second half of the season working in tandem with Carson, and it appeared the Seahawks had a very potent 1-2 punch at running back. But after back-to-back big games, Penny tore his ACL late in the season. He missed most of 2020 and has battled various leg injuries since tearing his ACL in 2019.

“It’s been a long, hard struggle for him,” Carroll said. “He’s fought his way through it and done everything he could.”

Penny got the start on Sunday and while Carroll said after the game that the plan was also to get Alex Collins involved, Penny was the hot hand and became the driving force of the Seahawks’ offense.

Penny had two long touchdown runs and showcased the playmaking ability that made him a first-round pick in 2018.

“It was really, really fun to watch him play,” Carroll said. “The guys up front did a great job and you saw the perimeter blocks by the receivers. They did a really good job to add to it. It was a big day running the football.”

Penny has been a target of fans and analysts because of his injury history, lackluster play and his status as a first-round pick. Salk asked Carroll about how easy or hard it is to give up on certain players.

“I don’t give up on stuff. I don’t look for a way out to try to justify why not, I’m always looking the other way, (asking) why is this guy not being great? And what if we can help him believe and then we can help him see the way to it?” Carroll said. “I’m the last guy to fade on people, so it isn’t hard. That’s just the way I’m made to do it.”

Carroll said he loves seeing guys fight through adversity and “come through in the end. Now that Penny had this big game, Carroll is hoping he can build off it starting next week against the Rams.

“Hopefully he’ll take a big step and come back and just play good again,” he said. “That’s all, just play good and hard. He was running tough yesterday. That was the most physical outing he’s ever had and the most productive one … He just played like he can be. He didn’t play out of his mind, he just played like he’s capable of playing.”

Carroll thinks the presence of Adrian Peterson, a future Hall of Fame running back who signed to Seattle’s practice squad, has helped Penny mentally.

“It was so obvious when we watched Adrian go to work last week, I think Rashaad picked up on it,” he said. “He’s picking his feet up a little differently and he’s getting behind his pads a little bit differently. He’s 230 pounds. He’s a big running back and he’s the fastest guy we have. You combine that, utilizing that, it makes him really dangerous.”

Taylor keeps on rolling

He’s technically not a rookie, but defensive end/linebacker Darrell Taylor missed all of 2020 with a shin injury, so 2021 has been his first taste of NFL action. So far, so good.

Taylor picked up his team-leading sixth sack, and he would have ended the day with seven on the season if not for a penalty by a Seahawks teammate.

Pass rush has been an area of concern for the Seahawks for a few years now, but Taylor appears to be on his way to being a steady contributor for Seattle for years to come.

“He’s really doing well,” Carroll said. “He’s really the bright spot and he’s got a great future.”

During the offseason, Taylor spent a lot of time working not just as a defensive end, but as a SAM outside linebacker. While Taylor has spent most of his time on the edge rushing the passer, Taylor has also played some linebacker as well. Carroll said Taylor is capable of doing a lot for the defense.

“He’s really capable of doing everything. He can play outside backer, he can play the Leo spot,” he said. “So what we like doing is keeping them guessing with a featured pass rushing role, and sometimes he gets in coverage and makes some plays.”

Listen to the latest Pete Carroll Show at this link or in the player below.

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Pete Carroll Show: Rashaad Penny shines, Darrell Taylor’s bright Seahawks future