The Seattle Seahawks have a Rashaad Penny problem.
Officially, Kenneth Walker had two rushing touchdowns on 14 carries!
Officially, Walker also ran for 26 yards on 14 carries, his second consecutive one-point-something yard per carry game.
What’s the Penny problem?
Option A: They do not have Rashaad Penny.
Option B: They have a running back exactly like Rashaad Penny.
Before Rashaad Penny decided it is better to be unbelievable than laughed at, we all got on here repeatedly (myself very much included) and, well, laughed at him. Penny one time ran for 8 yards on two carries, 9 yards on six carries, and 7 yards on seven carries in three straight games.
That was last year.
Yet it was Pete Carroll, earlier this season in fact, who said they did not understand nor use Penny the right way early in his career. We watched time after time Penny turn in butt fumbles, minus the fumble part, until everything suddenly clicked for him. His homerun-or-bust potential was apparent early, but the busts exceeded the homers.
The problem right now for Seattle unfortunately is both Option A and B are a reality. They miss him, desperately, because they’ve gone and rostered the rookie version of him.
Check out Walker’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders:
Here are Kenneth Walker's carries from Week 12 in order:— Tyler Alsin (@TylerjAlsin) November 28, 2022
12 yard touchdown
14 yard touchdown
-13 yards, not a typo
confused and game-losing fumble
Two ridiculous touchdown runs, followed by a whole bunch of worse than nothing. On 15 carries Walker had six plays for zero yards, fewer, or gave the ball away. Walker’s success rate on his carries is at the bottom among all qualified running backs.
What it means for Seattle right now is unsavory. They’ve got to figure out if they can capitalize on the good version of him, when needed, while he remains the last rookie on this roster who still looks lost like a rookie at times. Otherwise it’s Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas time in the middle of a playoff chase.
What it means for Seattle long term is fascinating. I’d say confidently, that the two games after Penny’s injury decimated his stock. Walker looked like he should have never been on the bench, people hopped on the radio and said crazy things like “Adrian Peterson,” suck it Ben Baldwin, etc. (Editor’s note: We only kid former Field Gulls contributor Ben Baldwin!)
But it’s equally true that the two previous games have brought Penny’s talents back to the forefront. The team can’t be ready to move on from him that easily, no way. Walker’s not ready now, and while it sure would be great to assume he will be, breaking through this rut is no guarantee. It took Penny three years to do it.
Walker hits home runs, and maybe even has more explosiveness than Penny. Can Pete Carroll help him get right faster than last time around?