BY Art Thiel 07:58PM 10/26/2020

Thiel: Seahawks short again on running backs

Seahawks’ top three running backs came up hurting after the Arizona loss. Another talent shortfall that might inspire Russell Wilson to over-compensate? Nah, says Pete Carroll.

Chris Carson had five carries for 34 yards and one reception for seven yards before getting hurt Sunday against Arizona. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

If you thought, as did Pete Carroll, that Russell Wilson was trying a little too hard in Arizona, wait until the game against the contemptible, foul and dastardly scalawags from San Francisco Sunday. Wilson’s clench might crack molars.

“No, I don’t think so at all,” the Seahawks coach said airily Monday about Wilson over-compensating for the woebegone defense. OK, but what if Wilson has to play the 49ers without Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde and Travis Homer? We’re talking full Superman mode for him, right?

The invocation of superhero rescue came to mind after Carroll disclosed in his Monday afternoon presser that the Seahawks’ top three running back have injuries that could keep them out of the first of the two annual NFC West soul-grippers with the 49ers (4-3).

Known Sunday when he missed the second half of the come-from-ahead, 37-34 overtime loss to the Cardinals was that Carson had a mid-foot sprain. Also known after the game was that Homer had a knee bruise that kept him out of overtime, when rookie DeeJay Dallas missed pass-block assignments that ended up getting Wilson sacked.

“We needed Homer in there,” Carroll told 710 ESPN radio Monday morning. “It was hard on DeeJay.”

Not known until Monday was that Hyde, freshly returned to the lineup after a shoulder injury, who ran 15 times for a season-best 68 yards and a touchdown, had a “tight hammy,” Carroll said.

What you thought was afternoon thunder was actually a region-wide gulp.

Unless Carroll is comfortable going with Dallas, a fourth-round pick who has two rushes for eight yards and four catches for 33 yards in his first season, the Seahawks may have to dive into the running back market. And that’s before dealing with the rolling calamity of the worst-in-the-world defense.

Pursuit of urgent emergency help, however, is complicated this season because of the testing regimen imposed by covid-19 restrictions.

“This is really difficult to get guys in here in time, where they could actually practice and have a chance to even be familiar with taking the hand-off,” Carroll said. “We have some things that we can do if we need to (within the roster). We’re gonna take it one day at a time and see if our guys can get back, with a couple creative thoughts going forward that we’ll keep in-house for now.”

Ooh, secrets. Creative thoughts. Hmmm.

So what happened last time the Seahawks lost three running backs at once? You know, in December: Carson, Rashaad Penny, C.J. Prosise. Lost to injury all at once.

Beast Mode.

Just sayin’.

Pure speculation, of course. But hey, Carroll is the one who opened the door. Although December was in The Before Time.

Marshawn Lynch, 34, is a free agent who left on good terms following the playoff loss in Green Bay. He played in the final regular season game and both playoff contests, scoring three touchdowns. What he’s doing now is known to few, and understood by fewer.

Ironically, Prosise, 26, was cut Monday by Houston, where he played special teams and had a single rushing play. He played four years in Seattle but only 31 games due to a passel of injuries.

Penny has spent the season on injured reserve recovering from surgery to repair an ACL torn in December. He’s nearing a return, but it didn’t sound like this week was likely.

“I saw him working out today and he looked pretty good,” Carroll said. “That’s on the (doctors), so we’ll wait and see what they say. I don’t have the timeline on that, but he was running hard today, so he’s getting close.”

The hope is that Hyde, 30 and a seven-year vet hired for depth, can make it against his old club.

“If Carlos is available to us,” Carroll said, “which we’re hoping he is, we feel like we can keep the tempo going if Chris can’t make it.”

Regarding Sunday’s dispiriting loss of a game that they controlled and never trailed until the final score, Wilson’s three interceptions — his most in a single game since 2017 — were decisive but not habitual, Carroll said.

“Russ hasn’t thrown balls like that; throughout his career, you can you can barely remember the times when that’s happened,” he said on the radio. “So that’s not something we should be worrying about.

“When we make big mistakes, it’s because we’re trying more than we should, when we try to make something happen.”

Wilson post-game took full responsibility: “I thought we played a really solid game, except for those three plays, to be honest with you. That’s on me.”

Mistakes from over-trying are hardly unique to Wilson, Carroll said, and didn’t think he was compensating for the defense.

“I don’t think that has anything to do with what’s going on the other side of the ball,” he said. “He knows what he’s doing. Sometimes plays get away. That’s to be expected. We try to avoid it, and minimize every every aspect of that, but unfortunately that was kind of the story in this game.”

Nevertheless, the shortage of healthy running backs adds pressure to a team that already had a severe shortage of defensive stoppers. It’s not hard to imagine Wilson looking through his closet for a cape.



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  • Kevin Lynch

    Rams looked strong tonight. Goff’s play-action and deep-drop bootlegs worked well, giving him time to throw with a run option. Rams and 49ers defenses may be starting to meld. Garappolo averaged 11 yards an attempt on Sunday but that may be primarily ‘yards after catch’. Hawks will miss what would have been a screaming crowd on Sunday. Seattle-SF will be a tough game to call. Tough one to pick.

    • art thiel

      It’ll be easier to pick if DeeJay Dallas starts.

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  • Husky73

    Chris Polk is available.

    • art thiel

      So is Corey Dillon.

      • James May


        • Husky73

          Rich Alexis

          • Husky73

            Jim Cope

          • jafabian

            Curt Warner.

          • 1coolguy

            Hugh McElhenny, The King!

          • Husky73

            Don McKeta

          • art thiel

            OK, we get why you’re Husky73.

        • Husky73

          Carl Wojciechowski

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          Robin Earl

  • DJ

    Thanks Art! I’d give some credit to the AZ defense for ruffling Russ’s feathers and their due diligence in making picks. It’s only a matter of time before a defense will come up with a scheme and efforts that can’t be planned for by our Super Stud QB. It was almost a perfect storm of circumstances, including in-game injuries. But anyone that wasn’t wary of the trifecta of former Huskies in the AZ secondary simply hasn’t been paying attention. The odds makers should have at least factored in a Budda Baker pick, er, six (almost).

    The game was everything that I expected regarding a dangerous AZ team and our weaknesses. Couldn’t predict a Carson outtage, nor the ineptness of the Offense to fail to get a first down on their final drive of regulation to run out the clock. It only became a close game because of the slow start for the AZ Offense in the first half. My guess is that the splash of icy water on their faces at halftime changed everything in the second half. Talk about an offensive buzz saw! They have every reason to be confident going forward. Seahawks now have more reasons to be worried, even with an all world passing attack & decent special teams. Compensation for deficiencies is not a last formula for success…..

    • art thiel

      AZ’s second-half D took more risks because they saw Peterson needed no help on Metcalf. Seahawks didn’t have a countepunch. But even without Chandler Jones, it’s a solid D.

      FYI, that was Baker’s second career pick in four years. First one was he previous week.

      • antirepug3

        Baker’s interception reminded me of the Butler pick that lost the Hawks a 2nd SB.

        • art thiel

          Same building too.

      • DJ

        Good call – I like that. AZ’s D did take a lot more chances, and they have the right guys to do it. Really shook up our O what with not having Carson as an option, and decent RB blocking for Russ. Will be interesting to see what adjustments the Hawks make going forward to counter – providing they have the personnel to do so

        • art thiel

          AZ’s D entered the game 2nd in fewest pts allowed. Carson’s absence hurt more than they want to admit.

  • jafabian

    The LB’s are about as banged up. I noticed that Shaquem played extended minutes and didn’t hurt himself either. Looking forward to seeing if this carries over into the next game.

    • art thiel

      Shaquem had 40 snaps as a spy on Murray, but Shaquem didn’t get much done. I think Carroll/Norton expected more production.

  • Topcatone

    I wonder if that last Wilson interception was his or a bad pass route run..none of the receivers looked like they were getting ready to catch that pass…the first one was horrible vision for Wilson. He usually does not make that mistake.

    • art thiel

      The first one was on Wilson, who needed to lead Carson deeper into the end zone. The second one was on Metcalf, who stopped his scramble route when Wilson expected him to go to the end zone. The third was on Wilson, who tried to force the ball into a tiny window. Needed to keep running.