Seahawks first-round pick Rashaad Penny has struggled to produce over the first half of his rookie season.
The former San Diego State running back currently sits third on Seattle’s depth chart as Chris Carson has cemented the job as the team’s starter and Mike Davis has proven to be a productive second option in the team’s rotation. Some weeks that has resulted in Penny not getting any offensive touches in a game. In two of Seattle’s last four games, that has been the case.
But with Carson dealing with a hip injury that could keep him out for this Sunday’s meeting with the Los Angeles Rams, Penny could find himself more involved in the offense. Despite his lack of opportunities so far this season, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll believes that Penny will still be the player they hoped for once he gets some more chances to produce.
“He needs to just be more involved,” Carroll said on Wednesday. “I think he just needs to keep getting attempts and get out there and play. Just get accustomed to everything that’s going on around him. Big volume player (in college), lot of plays, lot of carries when he played. He’s getting spot play so it’s difficult to go and just make that commitment at this time because we have other guys that have been really effective as well. We’re just bringing him along and hoping that we can acclimate him and see him at his best. He’s got a lot to offer us that we know of and so it’s just going to be a matter of time.”
Penny has gained just 146 yards on 42 carries this season for the Seahawks. He’s been more consistent in receiving situations, catching nine passes for 75 yards. Carroll points to a preseason injury as contributing factor to Penny’s lack of production. He broke a finger in practice following the team’s first preseason game and missed the remainder of the preseason.
“He showed us a bunch of juice and spark before he got hurt and then the month that he missed in there seemed to set us back a little bit and we were so close to the season that it really wasn’t the time to go back to camp and develop him. He had to just kind of jump in with us and it took him a while to get back going again,” Carroll said. “So I think he’s got a little bit of a stuttered background to get started for the season and it’s just unfortunate that he didn’t get more action, didn’t get enough activity in the preseason.”
Carson and Davis have been the more productive options so far this season, but Penny will get his chances to show what he can do sooner or later. He may get an extended opportunity as soon as this Sunday in a pivotal game on the road against the Rams, who the Seahawks rushed for 190 yards against just a month ago in a 33-31 loss in Seattle.