Pete Carroll Confident in Seahawks' Running Back Group Heading into Offseason
Despite being riddled with season-ending injuries at the end of the 2019 campaign, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll expects two of his key running backs to bounce back tremendously in 2020.
Prior to the Seahawks’ Week 17 NFC West title game against the 49ers, they lost Rashaad Penny to a torn ACL and other knee damage on the road against the Rams in Week 14. Just two weeks later, Chris Carson suffered a fractured hip and C.J. Prosise went down with a broken forearm during Seattle’s Week 16 defeat to Arizona.
Following the trio of injuries, the Seahawks were forced to bring Marshawn Lynch back to the Pacific Northwest out of retirement for one last playoff run as a complement to rookie Travis Homer. The iconic running back averaged less than three yards per carry, but he produced four touchdowns in just three games and provided energy in the locker room.
During his end of the year press conference on Monday, Carroll expressed his excitement about Carson being able to avoid surgery on his injured hip and how that’ll allow him to come roaring back for next season.
“We’re optimistic, more-so about Chris [Carson] because Chris doesn’t have to do any rehab right now. He’s not having surgery and all that,” Carroll discussed. “He’s just got to get through it and stay off it for a while. He’s a fantastic workout warrior. He’ll come roaring back. We are really counting on Chris to come roaring back.”
While Carroll is confident about Carson’s health status for next season, the Seahawks coach was slightly less optimistic about Penny’s chances of being ready to play at the start of next season due to the nature of his injury and lengthy recovery process.
“I think Rashaad is challenged more because he’s got the full rehab that he’s got to go through. He’s doing great. He’s ahead of schedule already. They’re really excited about the progress that he’s making. He’s got six or seven months ahead of him that are going to be really challenging,” Carroll explained. “He’s really determined, his attitude is great about it. He’s planning on making it back and getting ready to play.”
With Penny's status for training camp uncertain, Homer could have a chance to carve out a role during the early stages of the 2020 season. The rookie running back was primarily utilized on special teams until Seattle lost both Carson and Prosise for the remainder of the season.
Just as Carroll detailed on Monday, the ex-Miami standout's late-season performance made a positive impression on the coaching staff and he'll be in the mix for Seattle's third down back duties this spring.
“[Travis] Homer really helped us out with the playing time he got. A classic example, what does a guy have to do when he doesn’t need to play? Homer did,” Carroll said. “He showed us what he could do. I think it should be a strong group.”
While Carroll spoke about Carson, Penny, Homer, and even Lynch on Monday, he didn’t mention anything about Prosise, who broke his arm in Week 16. Given his lengthy injury history and the emergence of Homer, the Seahawks likely view the fourth-year pro as the odd man out among their running back group.
If Seattle plans to seek additional depth in the backfield, they'll likely do so in the draft, as this year's class features a loaded group of running backs and value could be found in the middle and late rounds.