Despite a slow start to the 2022 season, Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny is ready to live up to his projection as the team’s breakout player.
Having signed a one-year deal worth $5.7 million in the offseason, Penny was expected to operate as the team's lead back after a dominant finish to the 2021 season.
However, the San Diego State product has been off to a sluggish start in 2022. Through three games played, Penny has 32 carries for 141 yards and no touchdowns.
Still, the 26-year-old is beginning to show signs of promise as the season progresses. During the Seahawks' 27-23 loss to the Falcons, Penny rushed 14 times for 66 yards and caught his lone target for three yards.
While those numbers may seem modest considering his potential, Penny may take solace in the fact that his workload increased from his six carries for 15 yards performance against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2.
Unlike the 27-7 defeat which Seattle suffered at the hands of their division-rival Niners, Penny was a key part of the team’s offense during a game that they had every chance to win.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll has recently indicated a commitment to incorporate both his most talented and most reliable players into featured roles within the Seahawks offense. Though Penny’s career had previously been marred by injuries (he has appeared in 37 of 65 possible games in his career) he has been extremely productive when healthy. His career 5.6 yards-per-carry is second best among backs with a minimum of 150 carries since he was selected in the first round of the 2018 draft.
With Seattle's primary receiving back Travis Homer having been placed on injured reserve due to an injury to his ribs, Penny may be in line to see additional passing game targets. Although he is typically not a factor in the passing game (31 career targets), both he and rookie Kenneth Walker III may form a formidable backfield tandem, capable of winning their battles in multiple ways.
If Penny is able to break his scoreless drought, he may find this weekend to be his best opportunity yet. Despite being one of the league’s most surprising teams, the Detroit Lions defense has surrendered 31.0 points per game, as well as an average of 142.3 rushing yards per game to opposing offenses this season.
Kickoff between the Seahawks and Lions is set for 1 p.m ET from Ford Field in Detroit, MI.
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