What should the Seahawks do at RB after Rashaad Penny’s breakout game?
The Seahawks’ offensive performance against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday left a lot to be desired.
Seattle won 17-9, but there were a number of missed opportunities and clear areas that need improvement. Thankfully, the defense kept the injured Eagles’ offense in check, allowing just one touchdown, which didn’t come until there was less than one minute remaining.
Quarterback Russell Wilson had one of his worst games in an otherwise stellar season. He completed just 52 percent of his passes, was sacked six times, missed a wide-open touchdown pass to tight end Jacob Hollister and threw an ugly interception. He was also credited for a lost fumble that was the fault of running back Chris Carson, who thought it was a play-action passing play and let the ball hit his chest before falling to the ground where the Eagles recovered it. That fumble came one play after Carson fumbled a rushing attempt that the Seahawks recovered.
Rookie receiver DK Metcalf struggled as well, dropping both a back-shoulder pass that hit his hands early and a would-be touchdown. He also almost made a great diving catch, but the ball hit his hands and fell to the ground. Tyler Lockett was not at full strength and had just one catch. Receiver Josh Gordon also caught just one ball on two targets.
While the offense for the most part failed to click, second-year running back Rashaad Penny shined.
Penny had 129 yards rushing on just 14 carries, including a 58-yard run that helped Seattle seal the victory. The team moved the ball a lot better with Penny in the game while Carson failed to get anything going in the running game. Penny’s performance against the Eagles is also notable because the 2018 first-round pick had just two carries in Week 10 against the San Francisco 49ers, losing a fumble on one of them.
With Carson’s recurring fumbling problem and Penny’s career day, should Seahawks fans expect to see Penny get the bulk of the carries going forward?
Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy says to pump the brakes on the Penny bandwagon.
“The very clear answer here is no, Rashaad Penny should not be the starting running back,” Heaps said.
Carson has fumbled seven times, losing four. Carson really could have nine fumbles and six lost, as there are now two instances of the ball hitting his chest in an exchange between he and Wilson that have both been credited to the Seahawks quarterback. Despite that, Heaps says Carson is too valuable to the Seahawks’ offense.
“They need him in order to be successful as a group,” Heaps said.
Head coach Pete Carroll joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Monday morning for the weekly Pete Carroll Show and publicly backed Carson like he has throughout the year, but left the door open for Penny to get more snaps.
“We’ll look after (Carson). Chris is a guy that’s a big part of our program and we’ve got to keep working,” Carroll said. “He’s doing everything he can to do right and we’ve just got to take care of the football better. What’s really a good thing is competition is a beautiful thing. Rashaad played really well yesterday and there’s no reason not to get him back in there next week and we’ll look forward to those guys hammering it away and we’ll see how it works out.”
What Penny needs to show, Heaps said, is stability.
“Rashaad Penny, although he had one nice game, we have yet to see him do that on a consistent basis. And Chris Carson has and he will continue to be a great, reliable back for this team,” Heaps said. “Not just in the running game, but in the passing game.”
The days of Carson getting nearly every carry, though, could be over.
“I would, however, like to see Rashaad Penny continue to increase his workload a little bit and get him involved in the game and get him doing what he does best, because if Rashaad Penny, like I’ve said before, can run confidently and hit the hole hard, he’s a great, productive back,” Heaps said. “Unfortunately for him, because of injuries, because of lack of opportunity, you have not seen that confidence, so that’s the part where Rashaad Penny is going to have to help himself to get himself more carries.”
Listen to Heaps’ thoughts at this link or in the player below.