Throughout the 2019 season, 2017 seventh-round running back Chris Carson had carried the load for the Seahawks, with 2018 first-round running back Rashaad Penny struggling to get opportunities. Last Sunday in Philadelphia, Penny got more opportunities — and he made the most of them.
Still, Penny’s 14 carries for 129 yards and Carson’s six for 26 doesn’t mean that Penny has supplanted Carson.
“I mean, Chris is our guy,” Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer told reporters on Friday. “We know that. He’s playing terrific football as well. But, like what happened last year some, each week, sometimes different guys step up. It happens that way in the passing game. Different receivers step up. Happened in the running game. Of course, we want to get Rashaad his touches, get him in the game. In terms of forcing it to happen, we’re not going to do that.”
Schottenheimer explained that the team had been talking about getting Penny more chances, and that they decided in the Eagles games to “get him into a rotation.”
“I thought that that plan was good for us,” Schottenheimer said. “He went out and capitalized on it. We knew the big play ability was there. We knew the speed was there. He had a great week of practice last week. It was good to get him into the flow of the game. A couple times he’s gotten reps, it’s been three and out. Or, hey, we had two plays then he had to come out for different reasons. I thought the plan kind of came together this week. It doesn’t always every week, but it did come together this past week.”
For the year, Carson’s rushing attempts have outnumbered Penny’s by more than four to one, with 208 to 50. And the production is in turn greater as well: 879 to 296.
The comparison to receivers is a bit misplaced. Although it may vary as to which one gets the targets and catches, teams use one tailback at a time. Carson has been that one tailback more often than Penny. And it sounds as if Penny’s big week in Seattle won’t change things come Monday night, when the Vikings visit Seattle.