Rejuvenated Seahawks RB Chris Carson Sharpens Mental Edge
Situations change quickly in the NFL. Look no further than the case of Seahawks running back Chris Carson.
Just two weeks ago, Carson found himself under siege after losing three fumbles in Seattle’s first three games, including coughing up the football in a Week 3 loss to the Saints. Despite finishing fifth in the NFL in rushing last year, some called for the third-year back to be benched for his ball security issues.
But in a five-day span, Carson quickly rediscovered his 2018 form, eclipsing the 100-yard mark in divisional victories over the Cardinals and Rams. Breaking tackles in bunches and hurdling defenders when given the chance, he’s now back on pace for a 1,200-yard season, giving the Seahawks tremendous offensive balance.
What’s been the secret for Carson? While obviously focusing on his technique carrying the football on the field, he also attributed time spent with the team’s mental coach for helping him find his groove.
“I talked to him right before the Arizona game.” Carson told reporters on Thursday. “He told me, ‘just give me two things.’ I gave him the two things, and he said, ‘Whatever you do out there, just think about those two things,’ and that’s what I did. It really worked out and it played a big part.”
Whatever those two things were, it’s certainly worked out for Carson and the Seahawks. While avoiding putting the ball on the turf, he rushed 49 times for 222 rushing yards in Seattle’s back-to-back wins and also caught the game-winning touchdown against the Rams after initially bobbling the reception.
Weighing a compact 222 pounds, Carson has all the physical tools necessary to thrive as an NFL running back. Playing in a run-oriented scheme coordinated by Brian Schottenheimer, his combination of power between the tackles and outstanding vision makes him the ideal workhorse back in Seattle.
But to get his game back on track after a dreadful start to the season, Carson knew getting his mind right would be essential to improving his performance up to his standards.
“I think it’s big.” Carson said in regard to being mentally strong as an athlete. “I think it’s probably one of the most important things. It’s hard to go in depth with it but, having a lot of people just talk to you about it. Especially going through what I went through the first couple of weeks, that really played a big part in it.
Heading into a challenging road game in Cleveland, Carson will have an excellent opportunity to continue his resurgence against a Browns defense that surrendered 275 rushing yards in a 31-3 loss to the 49ers on Monday night. Over the past two weeks, the Browns have yielded nearly 450 rushing yards and 6.5 yards per carry.
But much as he turned his season around quickly, Carson understands situations change rapidly in the NFL landscape and he expects Cleveland to be well-prepared to defend Seattle’s run game on Sunday.
“At the end of the day, it’s the NFL and they’re going to make adjustments, they’re going to come out ready play.”
After taking advantage of a mini bye with the previous weekend off to physically heal and maintain his mental edge, Carson will be ready to rock as well. Look for the Seahawks to feed him early and often as they push for a third consecutive win to keep pace in the highly-competitive NFC West.