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3 numbers that will be critical to the Seahawks’ success in 2019

Dave Grosby thinks Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny is primed for a breakout 2019 season. (AP)

The Seahawks made the playoffs, perhaps surprisingly, in a transitional 2018 season. So to determine how the Hawks can continue to move forward in 2019, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Dave “The Groz” Grosby looked back at last year to identify some key figures.

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Here are three numbers he broke down during a recent segment on Bob, Groz and Tom that he says will be important benchmarks for the Seahawks in their upcoming season.

Improve: 4.9 yards allowed per carry

In a switch from what has usually been the case under head coach Pete Carroll, it was the offense that carried the load more so than the defense for the Seahawks in 2018. Case in point: Seattle’s 4.9 yards allowed per carry was better than only two other teams in the NFL. Oddly enough, those two teams were the Chiefs and Rams, the former of which was the AFC’s top seed out of the regular season and the latter being the NFC champion. While the Seahawks had an OK offense, however, it wasn’t good enough to get past the opening round of the playoffs.

“If they improve on that, that’s a gigantic fix,” Groz said of the 4.9 yards allowed per carry mark. “The only other two teams that were worse were Kansas City and Los Angeles, and they were No. 1 and 2 in total offense. The Seahawks were 18th. The Seahawks don’t score as much so it’s a narrower window.”

Meet: 2,560 total rushing yards

The Seahawks got back to their bread-and-butter of running the ball last year, which was about as big of a reason as any that they were able to return to the playoffs after missing out in 2017. Groz is optimistic Seattle will be able to get to at least 2,500 rushing yards again, even if injuries result in the team needing to rely on somebody other than its No. 1 back, Chris Carson.

“That was the key to their success last year, in my opinion,” Groz said. “Those total number rushing yards, they allowed everything good to happen on offense. They don’t need to do better than that but that’s the target number they need for their offense to be as good if not better than it was last year.

“And it doesn’t matter who it comes from, it just matters that it happens.”

To that point, Groz thinks the Seahawks’ 2018 first-round pick may be ready for a breakout season.

“I expect Rashaad Penny to have a huge year,” he said. “If Chris Carson struggles with injuries this year, they’ve got an answer. There’s no reason why they can’t get to that 2,500 number or better because Rashaad Penny should be prepared to be a lead back. I think that you’ve got the bodies, even with the loss of Mike Davis, to generate the kind of running yards that you need to be successful.”

What if the Seahawks fall short of last year’s rushing output?

“I think if they’re worse, it’s going to be tough to win 10 games.”

Meet: Plus-15 takeaways

Ah, the great equalizer.

Considering that the Seahawks’ yardage totals were in the middle of the pack on both offense and defense in 2018, there was something else that allowed them to stay in the playoff mix. The fact that Seattle’s opponents made 15 more takeaways than it did, a number that led the league, would be that exact reason.

“We look at the fact that their defense struggled last year, that was a critical number,” Groz said. “I think it made the difference, and I don’t think that’s an outrageous number to maintain.

“Coaches preach (winning the turnover battle) for a reason.”

You can hear the full conversation between Groz and co-host Tom Wassell in this podcast of Bob, Groz and Tom.

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