Rust: What the Seahawks in qualifying will mean for the future of the QB spot
So, as the Seahawks battle this season with the intent of using Rashaad Penny as their signature back, it seems likely that the depth of the backroom in Seattle – especially with the expected style of attack – will be tested at some point.
Penny finished last season in great fashion, which Seattle hopes will be a precursor to this year, but he also has a long injury history.
This is where junior Ken Walker III comes in. And DJ Dallas is going into his third season. Travis Homer is in his fourth year. If the Seahawks are going to rely too heavily on running game to be offensively productive, especially with the uncertainty of a quarterback, it will take more than one ball carrier to get it done.
“We’re just a bunch of hungry guys. We call ourselves the pack. The wolf. Crazy, you know?” Dallas said with a chuckle. “I think we all push each other. We have a great group of guys.”
Penny knows this is a proof season due to his past health struggles. The six-game flash he earned at the end of last season was Penny’s finally showing the promise that came with his first-round pick. The fact that he finally arrived led to a mixture of relief and frustration and the realization that he was just a little snippet with so much to prove.
“It was no surprise to me because I always knew what I could do. I think the hard part was just playing on Sunday,” said Penny. “I think that was the hardest thing for me, now that I’m feeling healthy and feeling my best. I can’t wait to take off this year. Having all these guys in the backroom running competing, I feel the same as my freshman year. These guys are really hungry to pull actors and I’m hungry to do the same but it’s all because of love and competition and that’s what it’s really about.”
Walker was a surprise pick by Seattle in the second round, but it made sense once news of Chris Carson’s ongoing neck problems became known. Carson was released last month after he failed physically, which means Walker will likely step in in the complementary role to Penny.
“He’s fast. This guy can play and reminds me of a younger Chris,” said Benny.
The only thing that will help determine how fast Walker is on the field is his ability to capture NFL-level pass protection. If Walker struggles, he may be limited to being more of an option in early descents.
This is where Dallas could see an increasing role. Dallas seems most likely to step in for the third retreating role, but he doesn’t want to be limited to that. Dallas hopes that a full and relatively normal holiday season for the first time in his career will come to fruition.
“It takes a group, it takes a group to finish the season,” Dallas said. “And I just want to be the guy, when my number is called, I want to be ready.”
Notes: Coach Pete Carroll returned to training Friday after testing positive for COVID-19 last weekend. Carroll was wearing a mask during the open part of the training. Carroll has been participating in meetings virtually while in isolation after testing positive.
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