Seahawks to Win? Need Top Two RBs Healthy – Sports Illustrated

One thing is certain when it comes to the Seattle Seahawks offense. If the Seahawks want to roll with coach Pete Carroll’s philosophy of implementing a more run-heavy style of play, both running backs Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker III will need to be active.
This isn’t a suggestion. It’s a statement, and for good reason.
Seattle’s 27-11 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears at Lumen Field offered little in regard to Geno Smith proving he’s a long-term option at quarterback. For now, the Seahawks are banking on the 31-year-old journeyman for stability, at best.
Sure, plays like a 41-yard pass to receiver Penny Hart will be required to win on Sundays. And yes, Hart, a former undrafted free agent out of Georgia State who's bounced from Seattle’s practice squad to the active roster, will likely be replaced by Pro Bowl receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett once the real games begin, but the premise remains the same.
Carroll has spoken for years about his desire to make the rushing attack a more focal point of the offense. Penny and Walker can finally provide that 1-2 punch.
They have to be active first. The names behind them only offer so much.
Running backs Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas understand their roles in Seattle. Both are going to be used on certain plays and find most of their success on special teams.
Against what looked to be half of the Bears’ projected starting defense, Homer and Dallas combined for 58 rushing yards and averaged 8.3 yards per play in the first half. 
On paper, 8.3 seems like an efficient number, but take a second look at the number. 
Almost 57 percent of the duo’s first half yards came on one play — a 33-yard run by Homer at the start of the second quarter. The longest run following that was a gain of seven by Dallas on the ensuing drive.
Seattle saw promising results late last season in Penny, a former first-round pick who's never flourished due to injuries. In the final five games of the regular season, Penny went off. He averaged nearly 7.1 yards per run. Four of the five games ended with Penny surpassing the triple-digit marker. He also scored all six of his touchdowns during that span.
Injuries remain an issue for Penny. A groin issue cost the fifth-year runner a chance to suit up in the preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. His status for the preseason finale against the Dallas Cowboys is questionable.
Walker, Seattle’s second-round pick out of Michigan State, was on a tear in practice to begin his NFL career. He still is expected to be a vital part of the offense, but a hernia injury now leaves his status questionable for Week 1 against the Denver Broncos.
Dallas offers more value than Homer due to his receiving skills. Last week with second-string QB Drew Lock, the third-year running back darted his way into the end zone with a 17-yard touchdown. On Thursday, he tallied four catches for 52 yards, including a 29-yard reception during the second quarter.
That’s not enough for Seattle to feel comfortable, though. And with Smith struggling as a passer, plus Lock missing time due to COVID-19, the Seahawks are in a bind when it comes to scoring or putting together quality drives. 
Carroll wanted a more productive ground game. He could have it with the combination of Walker and Penny. For now, the absence of both puts a damper on the master plan.
Depending on the health of the top two runners, outcomes like Thursday could be the norm for Seattle most Sundays.  
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