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Seahawks RB Chris Carson
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Heaps: Bench Chris Carson? Seahawks need him running to make playoffs

Seahawks RB Chris Carson has lost a fumble in each of Seattle's first three games. (Getty)

The Seahawks’ offense is based around one thing – being able to successfully run the football.

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They’ve identified the player they like getting most of the opportunities carrying the ball out of the backfield, too. That would be third-year running back Chris Carson, who topped 1,000 rushing yards a season ago. But Carson has a problem right now that is a definite cause for concern for the Seahawks.

Carson is having a tough time holding on to the ball, something Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is known to not have much patience with. Carson has fumbled three times this season – once in each game – and every fumble has been recovered by the opposing team. And when the most recent lost fumble occurred last Sunday in a loss to the New Orleans Saints, Seattle was quick to turn to backup C.J. Prosise instead of Carson.

Should Carson be losing playing time now as a result?

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Former NFL quarterback and current 710 ESPN Seattle host Jake Heaps said that there is nothing more important for the Seahawks than Carson getting back on track, because while turning more to Prosise or Rashaad Penny is an option, Carson is too critical a piece of Seattle’s offensive identity for the team to go far without him.

“The reality is if this team is going to go to the playoffs, if this team is going to go to the Super Bowl or even have a chance of it, they have to have Chris Carson running the football,” Heaps told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob Stelton and Tom Wassell. “So hopefully we’re not talking about that scenario (where Carson loses playing time). Hopefully Chris Carson can get this done and figure it out.”

That being said, Heaps believes the Seahawks did the right thing after Carson’s fumble against the Saints.

“I think it was the right move to not let Chris Carson play for the majority of the second half and have C.J. Prosise out there,” he said. “… What happens next is hopefully it doesn’t happen next because I don’t know what the answer is (if Carson fumbles again) – truthfully. This is something that has to get nipped in the bud right now.”

What that means is Carson is facing a pretty big challenge a year after his breakout season.

“At this point in time, you have to do everything in your power to hold on to the ball with two hands, be cognizant of taking care of that football,” Heaps said of Carson. “He’s too special of a player to be sitting on the bench, so hopefully he can get this thing turned around against the Arizona Cardinals.”

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps on Twitter.

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