Finally appearing healthy, Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny says he feels “explosive” just when Seattle needs him to have a breakout season. Penny, for most of his career, seems to have never been close to being 100 percent health and becoming the running back Seattle thought they chose in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.
2021 isn’t just a pivotal season for Penny but it could be for the Seahawks as a whole and Penny will likely have an impact on how the future of the team turns out. Pete Carroll is still his energetic self, but he is in his 70s now and could leave his coaching post and focus on his Vice President of Football Operations gig. Russell Wilson was mentioned as a possible trade target this offseason so who knows what will happen next offseason.
Should the team fail to meet expectations this year, lots of changes could take place. While Seattle has a lot of youth, many of the key members of the team are older. Left tackle Duane Brown will be 36 years old when the season begins. Linebacker Bobby Wagner will be 31 but for a player at his position that is a time when many begin to slow.
Rashaad Penny very important for Seahawks in 2021
If Seattle finishes third or fourth in the NFC West, Wagner could be released as he is very expensive in 2022 (due to make $20.35 million) and Brown is a free agent after this year.
Seattle wants to get back to a more balanced offense to help in the regular and the playoffs, should they get there. Not relying solely on Wilson is a smart move. Not that Wilson isn’t great, he is. But a playoff defense having to stop Wilson and the Seahawks from running would be a tough task.
This is why Rashaad Penny is so important. Seattle has had little luck in having running backs, including lead back Chris Carson, stay healthy for most of an entire year. Penny is going to be relied upon to be the backup to Carson while also getting a lot of reps.
Penny has shown, except in 2020 when he was extremely limited, that he has speed and power and might even be a 1,000 yard running back. But he hasn’t been healthy and now appears to be. Penny is due – finally – for a breakout year and at training camp this week said, “I feel very explosive. I honestly feel like I’m back in high school again. I feel way faster.”
If both Carson and Penny can stay mostly healthy this season (and if healthy, they will be productive) then the Seahawks are going to have a very good season and that means a deep run in the playoffs. Should Penny get injured again that means a lack of real depth at running back which means more Russell Wilson passes which means the offense is more predictable which means another early exit in the playoffs for Seattle, if they even get there.