Coming off a breakthrough second season in which he finished fifth in the NFL in rushing yards, Chris Carson will once again be the featured running back in the Seahawks offensive attack.
But after rushing for over 2,500 yards as a team in 2018, Carson won’t be the only stellar back capable of carrying the rock and catching passes out of Seattle’s backfield.
“Very excited, it’s deep.” Carson said about Seattle’s group of running backs. “We got a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things, we complement each other really well so, it’s just great to have that kind of depth.”
Carson paced the league’s best rushing attack with over 1,100 rushing yards and nine touchdowns last season, but he was far from the only back who made an impact in Seattle’s old-school offensive attack.
Enjoying a breakout year of his own, veteran back Mike Davis rushed for 516 yards and caught 34 passes as a receiver, emerging as the Seahawks third down back and maintaining the role throughout the season. His success led to a two-year free agent deal with the Bears, where he’s expected to see a larger workload in the Windy City.
Despite missing time with a fractured finger during the preseason and struggling out of the gate, 2018 first-round pick Rashaad Penny also found his groove midway through his rookie season, including filling in for Carson and rushing for over 100 yards against the Rams.
After finishing with 429 yards and averaging nearly five yards per carry, Carson says a leaner, better prepared Penny has looked far more confident this offseason and he looks primed to take off in his sophomore season.
“Rookie year is always a tough year, it’s the longest of your career. His confidence has grown, his play speed is a lot faster. He’s all-around improved.”
To offset Davis’s departure for Chicago, Seattle bolstered its backfield behind Carson and Penny by using a sixth-round pick on Travis Homer. Though an injury will keep him as well as C.J. Prosise out of the team’s exhibition opener, Carson has loved what he’s seen so far from the rookie out of Miami, notably commending him for his pass protection skills.
“He’s a hard worker, he brings the energy every day.” Carson said. “He’s really good at pass protection, that’s like one of the hardest things for rookies to pick up coming in, but he’s great at it, he’s showing us a lot of techniques that he’s learned at his college.”
Away from drafting Homer, the Seahawks also welcomed back 235-pound freight train Bo Scarbrough, who joined the team after being plucked off the Jaguars practice squad in December.
Though he’s hovered under the radar to this point, the former Alabama standpoint has quietly put together a strong first training camp as a Seahawk. With Homer, Prosise, and potentially J.D. McKissic wearing street clothes against the Broncos, the second year back should see extended action to improve his standing.
Fitting the mold of a between-the-tackles style runner who typically thrives in Seattle, Carson envisions Scarbrough being in the thick of the competition for a roster spot.
“He’s a freak. He has one of those put the foot in the ground and get vertical, and you’re not going to try to get in front of that. He’s a powerful runner, good hands. He’s a complete back.”
Entering offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s second year at the helm, the Seahawks have been far more creative moving backs around the formation during offseason workouts and training camp, including splitting them out wide as receivers.
Thanks to this development, Carson and company will most certainly get more touches in the passing game. Starting with Thursday’s exhibition match, he’s eager to see what he and his backfield running mates can accomplish handling increased responsibilities this upcoming season.