Pete Carroll encouraged by look of healthy, revamped running back group


Fixing the running game has been one of Pete Carroll’s foremost goals this offseason with the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle was woefully inept running the ball last season. J.D. McKissic was the only Seahawks’ running back to score a rushing touchdown last season. Eddie Lacy was wholly ineffective, and Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise were both sidelined with injuries for most of the season.

The Seahawks have changed offensive line coaches and offensive coordinators this offseason, selected Rashaad Penny with their first-round draft pick and made it a priority to reintroduce a fullback into their offense to a greater extent. With the number of changes that have been made this offseason, Carroll believe they are on the right track to getting their running game back in order.

“Well, I’m really excited about that and that’s part of, it just feels different, just to have everybody healthy and out there working and all,” Carroll said following practice on Thursday. “We’ve had really high hopes for C.J. and we’ve seen Mike Davis play really good for us and we got excited about J.D. McKissic and now to see Chris back out there in really extraordinary condition, he’s had a tremendous offseason, and then add Rashaad in there as well. It’s just a really fine group and very versatile”

The Seahawks averaged just 3.3 yards per carry for the year, which was the worst output of any team in the league. Seattle also had 15.6 percent of all carries on the year go for negative yardage. Additionally, Seattle’s running backs had just 17 yards on 34 carries with no touchdowns and one converted first down inside an opponent’s 20-yard line.

Inside the 10-yard line, the Seahawks had a total of 23 carries for zero yards and two 1-yard Russell Wilson touchdown runs.

Getting Carson and Prosise back healthy would go a long way toward stabilizing Seattle’s backfield. Both players are healthy and taking part in OTAs despite having their seasons ended due to injury. Penny also adds a top talent to the group that is expected to be able to contribute as a receiver and potential kick returner as well.

“There’s really kind of no restrictions on what they can do in terms of catching the ball and getting out of the backfield and the kicking game and all kinds of stuff. It’s a really good group and again, it helps that they’re all healthy. It keeps their reps down and hopefully we can keep marching forward in a positive way and just keep growing. It is really the source of my excitement to see all those guys together because we’ve needed them. It’s been two years really not having a group all together so it’s pleasing.”

The positives for Seattle is that it’s difficult to get much worse than they worse a season ago. Improvement on the ground should certainly be expected this year. How much it will improve remains to be seen.