Seahawks training camp: Biggest question at running back

Jul 23, 2018, 2:36 PM | Updated: 7:55 pm
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Can second-year RB Chris Carson help the Seahawks' revamp their run game? (AP)

The Seahawks kick off their 2018 training camp on July 26 (dates and times can be found here) and leading up to that first practice, we’ll be focusing on the biggest question for each position group.

Today, we’ll focus on the running backs. Our biggest question is:

Will the Seahawks have a 1,000-yard rusher?

The Seahawks haven’t had a running back rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season since Marshawn Lynch did it in 2014 (he totaled 1,306 yards that year).

A 1,000-yard season from a Seattle running back in 2018 would be a phenomenal leap forward, but it wouldn’t be easy; just nine running backs put up more than 1,000 yards on the ground last year, and Seattle finished 23rd-overall in rushing yards (that was with 553 yards from quarterback Russell Wilson).

But a strong – or, at the very least, consistent – run game will be paramount to the Seahawks’ efforts to return to the postseason.

Of 2017’s 12 playoff teams, five had a running back who rushed for 1,000 yards or more. All 12 teams had 1,000 yards or more with a collected effort from their top running backs. (The Seahawks had 971 yards from all five running backs, combined.)

Seattle has made efforts to rectify the issue with a renewed focus and investment in the run game. In March, the team signed 6-feet-5, 340-pound right guard D.J. Fluker and tight end Ed Dickson, who was graded as last year’s top-ranked pass-blocking tight end by Pro Football Focus. The Seahawks also used a first-round draft pick – just the second time in six years – on San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny and a fourth-round pick on Washington tight end Will Dissly, considered the best blocking tight end in the class by NFL analyst Mike Mayock.

The best candidates for a leading rusher would appear to be Penny and second-year pro Chris Carson. Carson earned a starting nod last season and recorded 208 yards and one touchdown before suffering a season-ending leg injury in Week 4. This year, he returned to camp fully recovered and 10 pounds heavier.

Even if no single back puts up more than 1,000 yards, consider it a massive improvement if the rotation of Carson, Penny, J.D. McKissic, Mike Davis and C.J. Prosise puts up 1,500 or more yards – the average yardage from running back groups on last year’s playoff teams.

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Seahawks training camp: Biggest question at running back