Moore: With Chris Carson struggling, Hawks should turn to Rashaad Penny
Two weeks ago I criticized Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny, thinking that C.J. Prosise should get more carries in the backfield rotation. Penny has not looked the part of a first-round draft choice even though his supporters will point to his 5-yard average per carry as a rookie last year as evidence to the contrary.
But a couple things have happened in the last two weeks. We interviewed Penny on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore, and as he was sitting there answering questions, he seemed like a cool kid who didn’t deserve verbal abuse from some sports-talk show host on the radio. He even admitted it might have been easier for him if he had been drafted lower so that expectations and pressure would be lower too.
And now the situation at his position has changed. Chris Carson is still the Seahawks’ best running back, but he has become a fumbling machine, putting his status as the unquestioned starter in doubt. Prosise did nothing of note in Sunday’s loss to the Saints to make anyone feel like he’s still the guy who did so much damage in victories over New England and Philadelphia three years ago.
Penny was on the sidelines for the Saints’ game, nursing a strained hamstring suffered in last Friday’s walk-through. But Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said earlier this week that Penny should be OK to practice on Thursday, causing me to reverse field.
I don’t necessarily think Carson should be “punished” for fumbling so frequently, I just think this would be a good opportunity for Penny to get the majority of the carries against Arizona on Sunday. And if it means Carson’s on the bench more than usual, so be it.
Why not see what Penny has when given more playing time? They always say the best backs get better as a game goes on, capitalizing on more carries, wearing down defenses in the second half, getting into a rhythm. I have no idea if that will be the case for Penny, but let’s see if it is.
Last year he averaged seven carries a game. This year he’s down to five carries a game. In one of the games against the Rams he got his most carries – 12 – and rushed for 108 yards. Let’s see what he could do with 15 to 20 carries against the Cardinals. I’m guessing he’ll go over the 100-yard mark since the Cardinals have allowed an average of 157 rushing yards this season. It’s also interesting to note that Penny has not fumbled in his Seahawks’ career.
When Penny was drafted, I just assumed since he was a first-round pick that he’d eventually replace Carson as the starter if not right away. Clearly, to this point, Carson is the better running back aside from the fumbles. But if you include the fumbles, is that the case anymore? It’s time to find out.
For one week at least, I’d like to see more Penny and less Carson.