Running backs obviously have to be able to make plays with the ball in their hands in order to earn jobs, but they won’t see much of the field in the current NFL if they can’t make plays without it.
Specifically, they aren’t going to play much if they can’t help protect their quarterbacks from pressure by opposing pass rushers. That’s been a problem across the board in Seattle in recent seasons, but coach Pete Carroll said that first-round pick Rashaad Penny has done a good job of picking it up in his first offseason as a professional.
“He has picked up a ton of stuff,” Carroll said last week, via the team. “[Running backs coach Chad Morton] was just talking about the pass protection stuff that he looks so comfortable with after the time he has been here. That was something that was new for him and a demanding part of the game. We don’t have any hesitation that he’s going to be fine in that area.”
Carroll has also talked up Chris Carson‘s return from injury this offseason and the Seahawks are going to play multiple backs regardless of how well Penny does a pass blocker. They didn’t take him in the first round to be a non-factor, however, and keeping Russell Wilson upright while also making plays when the ball comes his way is a sure path to serious playing time.