Rashaad Penny

Social media reacts: Seahawks top Vikings to take control of NFC West

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Social media reacts: Seahawks top Vikings to take control of NFC West

The Seahawks took control of their destiny in the NFC West with a 37-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football.

With the win, the Seahawks took over the NFC West and second place in the NFC. Had they lost, Seattle would have fallen all the way back to the five-seed. It was a crucial game with high stakes, but only one team could come away victorious. 

After trailing 17-10 at halftime, the floodgates officially opened for the Seahawks, thanks to two touchdowns from Rashaad Penny, a 60-yard bomb from Russell Wilson to David Moore and how could we forget the defense? That Bradley McDougald recovery and Tre Flowers pick was out of this world. 

Here's a look at how fans and media reacted to the Seahawks 37-30 win over the Vikings in prime time: 

It was the 1-2 punch Pete Carroll has talked about all season long, but we finally saw it in real life. Carson, who sustained a hard hit early on which required a trip to medical tent, got things started for Seattle and scored the first touchdown of the game.

Rashaad Penny responded with one of his own in the third quarter, when he came in on a second-and-goal. Seahawks Twitter kind of lost it. 

Then David Moore was left wide open at the end of the third quarter. The Seahawks wide receiver caught a 60-yard bomb from Wilson to extend the lead to 27-17.

The touchdown pass was Wilson’s 63rd touchdown pass that traveled at least 20 air yards, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

The game wouldn't be complete without some defensive stops. Bradley McDougald came up with a clutch recovery and Tre Flowers intercepted the Vikings, which turned in a seven-point play. 

Rashaad Penny SZN wasn't over yet, though. The rook cooked the Viks defense when he sprinted into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game. 

With the 37-30 victory, the Seahawks are now 10-2 on the year and the best in the (NFC) West. Seattle will next head to Los Angeles to take on the Rams, who are coming off a 34-7 stomping over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13. 

Seahawks' Rashaad Penny at his best after frustrating, humbling rookie season

Seahawks' Rashaad Penny at his best after frustrating, humbling rookie season

“I just hit a wall.” 

These were the words Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny used when describing his 419 yards, two touchdowns and one broken finger that limited his potential in his rookie season. 

Now, heading into his second year, Penny is a few pounds lighter, one year wiser, and ready to soak up all of his opportunities in Seattle. 

“Over the past few months and this offseason, I’ve just started taking everything seriously by treating my body right and doing the little things,” Penny said. “Also, I think what helped me was losing all that extra weight. Now I feel better. I don’t have all those nagging injuries. I’m at my best.”

So, what’s changed in Penny? A few things. The team’s first-round draft pick in 2018 hired mentor former NFL running back and Super Bowl Champion Marshall Faulk, who has helped him learn the dynamics of becoming a pro. 

“I sent him the playbook and he shows me what to look for,” Penny said. "We watch videos on FaceTime. I’m just trying to learn the dynamics of being more of a pro.”

Penny is also feeling better than he’s ever felt, thanks to his nutritionist and a few healthy meals per day. He says he’s now 230 pounds, although the Seahawks currently list him at 220. 

His faster pace and newfound patience has caught the attention of his coaches, including offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. 

“It’s been cool to watch Rashaad, watch him grow up, watch him mature, watch him learn to kind of be a pro,” Schottenheimer said. “I’m really pleased with the way he is attacking practice right now. I think last year he didn’t know what he didn’t know. Now, he’s got some leadership ability, he’s getting a ton of reps because obviously Chris is out. But it’s been fun to watch him grow. The talent is there—we all know that. It’s just him putting consecutive days in a row and I think he has done that the last couple of weeks.” 

While Penny still has a lot to learn, he feels like he’s more prepared to step into the role of a true pro in his second season. 

“You get anxious over-excited. You have high expectations, being a first-rounder,” Penny said. “But at the end of the day it’s all about coming in and doing what’s at hand. You know, we have a great running back in Chris Carson. So I try to take little details from him, try to be his best friend. 

“We are trying to create something that hasn’t been done here.”

Seattle Seahawks' running back Rashaad Penny a different player this spring

Seattle Seahawks' running back Rashaad Penny a different player this spring

RENTON, Wash. - Seattle running back Rashaad Penny has an uphill climb ahead of him to unseat starter Chris Carson. The first step in that process for Penny is demonstrating to the coaching staff that he is capable of matching the consistent displayed last season by his competition, who led the team with 1,151 rushing yards.   

So far through voluntary offseason training activities, Penny has been nothing less than impressive, according to offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who said he sees in the second-year back a more mature and professional individual.

An example of Penny's versatility and talent offered up by Schottenheimer involved the 220-pounder running a choice route out of the backfield, deftly setting up a linebacker and then getting open for the reception. 

"You don't really see guys that big that can move like that," Schottenheimer said. "There's really nothing that he can't do."

That was the thought process that compelled Seattle last year to selected Penny in the first round of the NFL Draft out of San Diego State. An injury during training camp set him back while Carson, a seventh-round pick in 2017, emerged as the clear starter. Penny showed flashes during the season while rushing for 419 yards and two touchdowns with an average of 4.9 yards per carry. But Carson, who has been sitting out of OTAs with a tweaked knee, proved to be the more consistent professional and remained the starter when healthy. 

Penny has one trait that Carson does not and that's explosive speed. If Penny can put together the rest of this game, that breakaway ability would make him difficult to keep him on the sideline. Although it's only June, Schottenheimer said Penny appears to be a different man this time around. 

"I'm really pleased with the way he's attacking practice right now," Schottenheimer said. "Last year he didn't know what he didn't know. Now he's got some leadership ability. He's getting a ton of reps  because obviously Chris is out. It's been fun to watch him grow. The talent is there. We all know that. It's just him putting together consecutive days in a row. And I think he's done that the last couple of weeks. It's been cool to watch him mature."

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said that Penny appears leaner and faster than he did last year, which should only enhance his chances of making a bigger impact in 2019. 

"He looks great. He looks great," Carroll said. "He’s fast, he’s lean, he looks like the off season that he put forth and then also what he’s done with our guys has been working right on point. He’s doing really well. He’s trimmed a little bit. Yeah. He’s stronger than he was, I think, so he’s transferred some weight. But he looks great right now, so we’re really happy with them."

Seattle Seahawks Draft Preview - A No. 3 running back might be needed

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Seattle Seahawks Draft Preview - A No. 3 running back might be needed

Part 2 in an eight-part series that takes a position-by-position look at the Seattle Seahawks' needs heading into the NFL Draft on April 25-27. 

Past posts: Quarterbacks

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Today: Running backs:

Depth Chart: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, C.J. Prosise, J.D. McKissic, Bo Scarbrough. 

Need: Medium to low. 

Expectations: Seattle could be in the marke for a No. 3 running back. 

Potential targets: Ashley Young provides a list of potential draft targets at running back for Seattle.   

Picks: The Seahawks have four picks in round one (No. 21), round three (No. 84), round four (No. 124) and round five (No. 159).

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Seattle is certainly set at the top of the depth chart at running back but healthy depth is an issue.

Seattle went from being one of the worst rushing teams in 2017 to leading the NFL in that category last season thanks to the rapid development of a largely pieced together offensive line and running back Chris Carson. The former seventh-round pick rushed for 1,151 yards to become the team's first 1,000-yard back since Marshawn Lynch in 2014 (1,306). 

Uncertainty at the position last year after Carson played just four games because of a broken leg led Seattle to select Rashaad Penny in the first round of the 2017 draft. 

Penny, injured early on, could never supplant Carson, who fits the mold of a hard-nosed runner coach Pete Carroll likes to revolve his running game around. Penny, on the other hand, offers more breakaway speed. 

The No. 3 running back, however, remains a big question mark. Mike Davis, who rushed for 514 yards last season, got scooped up in free agency by Chicago. 

Seattle has been waiting for the electrifying C.J. Prosise to pay off since selecting him with a third-round pick in 2016. But numerous injuries have limited him to 192 rushing yards in 16 games over three seasons. Can the Seahawks continue to wait on him? 

J.D. McKissic, who also returns kicks, caught 34 passes in 2017 but was limited to five games last season because of injury. 

Seattle picked up Scarbrough late last season as insurance depth. 

If Seattle is committed to either Prosise or McKissic being the No. 3 running back then there is no need to burn a draft pick on a new project. With a 1,000-yard back and a recent first-round pick on the team, drafting a running back at all appears to be quite unlikely. 

However, given that Prosise and McKissic are hardly proven commodities, Seattle could do well to improve the depth here through the draft but only if the Seahawks are able to trade down to acquire more picks. Using one of their four current picks at this position would be too redundant at this point. 

Seattle Seahawks' GM John Schneider ready to wheel and deal?

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Seattle Seahawks' GM John Schneider ready to wheel and deal?

The Seattle Seahawks enter the NFL Draft process with four picks. That's about 10 too few for Seattle general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll.

Having picks in just rounds one, three, four and five certainly won't cut it. 

“That’s a challenge for us,” Schneider told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Ind.  

Don't expect Seattle to sit still with just four selections once the three-day, seven-round draft starts on April 25. 

Schneider and Carroll love the NFL Draft process and for them, the more picks the better. The duo has made a living out of selecting middle-to-late-round gems such as quarterback Russell Wilson (third round, 2012), cornerback Richard Sherman (fifth round, 2011), safety Kam Chancellor (fifth round, 2010) and running back Chris Carson (seventh round, 2017).

[ALSO READ: Seattle Seahawks' GM John Schneider addresses QB Russell Wilson's future]

For those reasons, Seattle seeks to stockpile picks. They drafted nine players last year, 11 in 2017 and 10 in 2016. In fact, the last time Seattle drafted just the normal allotment of seven players was in 2009, a year before Carroll and Schneider took over.

“It’s what we do,” Schneider said. “Our guys do a great job of working their relationships around the league and we’re trying to navigate where we’re going throughout the draft and targeting players and moving around.”

There is a good chance that Seattle will do much of the same in April. 

"We don’t necessarily have to go down all the time," Schneider said in regards to trading down in the draft. "But it’s kind of fun." 

Seattle is light on picks because it traded its second-round pick to acquire left tackle Duane Brown from the Houston Texans in 2017, traded its sixth-round pick to Green Bay to acquire backup quarterback Brett Hundley and sent its seventh-round pick to Oakland for safety Shalom Luani.

On safety Earl Thomas: Schneider was asked about safety Early Thomas, who held out of training camp in hopes of a contract extension before returning to action and then breaking his leg in the fourth game of the season. Thomas is now a free agent.

"I understood his frustration," Schneider said when asked about how things ended with Thomas. "It's a business. He's a free agent. He’s going to test free agency. We’ll see what happens. He's going to be one of those dudes that's up in the (ring of honor)."

On running back Rashaad Penny: During last year's draft, Seattle traded down to acquire picks and then selected running back Rashaad Penny No. 27th overall. Penny battled injuries while rushing for 419 yards and two touchdowns while not being able to beat out second-year running back Chris Carson, a seventh-round pick in 2017 who rushed for 1,151 yards and nine touchdowns. 

“He had a nice rookie year," Schneider said. "Battled through some things. He’s never been hurt before. As a rookie it was kind of hard for him to figure things out. But I think he’s on the path of getting ready to have a great season. We don’t have any reason to not think that.”

On defensive end Frank Clark: The biggest free agent on Seattle's radar is likely its own, Frank Clark, who led the team with 13 sacks. Seattle is expected to work to keep him but Schneider offered little insight into that process. 

"Frank and I, we have a great relationship," Schneider said. "Communication has been great. There’s a strong level of trust between the two of us."

Kicking situation: Another free agent is kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who turns 41 this weekend. Seattle made a move at that position shortly after the season ended by signing Sam Ficken to a futures contract in January. Ficken appeared in two games with the Los Angeles Rams in 2018 and two in 2017. The 26-year-old out of Penn State has attempted six career field goals making three.

"He had a great workout with us," Schneider said. "We wanted to get him in there as quickly as we could to have that stable guy. We will continue to look for someone to work with him.

Janikowski has made 436 of 542 career field goal attempts. 

Seattle Seahawks injury report for Arizona Cardinals

Seattle Seahawks injury report for Arizona Cardinals

Seattle coach Pete Carroll told reporters today that the playoffs looming next week would not impact his decisions regarding which players on the injury report would play or sit in Sunday's final regular season game against Arizona at CenturyLink Field. 

“It has nothing to do with that,” Carroll insisted. 

Seattle (8-6) plans to go all out against the Cardinals (3-12) even though the Seahawks have already wrapped up a playoff berth. Carroll has said all week that maintaining momentum and continuing to play good football is more important than worrying about who could get injured. Plus, the team does have something to play for given that a loss and a Minnesota win over Chicago would drop Seattle from the No. 5 seed to the No. 6 seed. 

"We’re ready to finish with a bang here," Carroll said. "We’ve got to play a really good football game. We’ve had a hard time with the Cardinals in years past and we’ve got to make sure we take care of business and play good football to give ourselves a chance. We’ll see what happens.”

As of Friday, Seattle's injury report seemed to be quite favorable. Not one player is listed as out and only left guard J.R. Sweezy (foot) is listed as being doubtful but according to Carroll he will sit out Sunday's game.  

“Sweezy improved during the week," Carroll said. "He got really good, consistent information in the checks that we made around the country on what he has. It’s an unusual little thing that he’s dealing with. It’s real uncomfortable. He’s got some swelling that he’s dealing with. It’s probably a 3-4 week recovery for most people and he’s going to do it in two weeks. He’ll be ready next week.”

Listed as questionable are right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring), safety Bradley McDougald (knee), defensive end Dion Jordan (knee), safety Tedric Thompson (knee) and running back Rashaad Penny (knee).

“Fluke is a gameday (decision) but he’s made real progress this week and he did some things that helped him so we’re looking forward to him being ready to go if he can make it through the Sunday workout,” Carroll said.

As for Penny?

“He practiced all week and we’ll find out and make sure," Carroll said. "He’ll have a workout on Sunday, also."

It appears that Thompson could be a no-go.

“He’s got an irritation in the back of his ankle, kind of around his Achilles," Carroll said. "It’s not an Achilles injury, but we thought it was for a little bit. He just hasn’t quite made it through it to our satisfaction yet, but he’s going to try and (we will) take a look at him on Sunday.”

What's likely to happen is that with each player that is questionable and/or a gameday decision, Carroll will likely error on the side of caution. Why push someone like Fluker out there against the Cardinals if he's only 80 percent healthy when Seattle will most certainly need him against in the playoffs against Dallas or Chicago, which both feature top 10 rushing defenses?

Seattle Seahawks' LB K.J. Wright's status revealed for the Kansas City Chiefs revealed

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Seattle Seahawks' LB K.J. Wright's status revealed for the Kansas City Chiefs revealed

Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright will play Sunday night against Kansas City at CenturyLink Field, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll revealed today. 

Wright has missed 11 games this season because of a knee injury, playing in just three. His last appearance occurred Nov. 11 during a 36-31 loss at the Los Angeles Rams. 

“K.J. made it through the week in great form," Carroll told reporters. "He’s going to play. We’re really excited about him playing and coming back. He looked terrific and his fresh legs may help us out a little bit.”

Seattle's defense could use all the help it can get while dealing with Kansas City's offense, which leads the NFL in total yards per game (427.3) and scoring (35.6).  The Seahawks (8-6) need a win to help secure a wild card berth in the playoffs. Kansas City needs a win to help fend off the Los Angeles Chargers (11-3) for the AFC West crown and home field advantage in the playoffs.

The only Seattle player listed as being out for this game is safety Tedric Thompson, who is bothered by injuries to his ankle and chest.

The good news is that many players that did not practice at points during week are now listed as questionable, including right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring).

“He’s trying to hold out hope for gameday recovery so we’ll see how that goes," Carroll said. 

Bradley McDougald (knee), running back Rashaad Penny (knee), cornerback Shaquill Griffin (hip), offensive tackle Germain Ifedi (groin) and defensive tackle Jarran Reed (oblique/groin) are also questionable.

McDougald, Carroll said, should be good to go.

“We’ll have to wait and see. I can’t believe Bradley is not playing in this game," Carroll said. "I think he has every intention of playing and he just had to miss the week for his treatment.”

Ifedi tweaked his groin during practice, Carroll said. Griffin should play. 

“Yeah, he’s going to be okay," Carroll said of Griffin. "He made it through the last couple of the days of the week. He’s ready to go so there’s one for you.”

Penny remains a wild card.

“Yeah, we’re holding out hope that maybe on gameday, he can do something," Carroll said. "We’ll find out. He did a little work today for the first time this week and his recovery is going really well so it’s just whether or not it’s the right decision for him to go and if we can get enough information on gameday. He’s going to do some stuff tomorrow too, so we’ll know more.”

Injury status of several Seattle Seahawks remains uncertain

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Injury status of several Seattle Seahawks remains uncertain

Seattle's injury report today certainly came in a lot lighter than it did on Wednesday with several players returning to practice in preparation for Sunday night's game against Kansas City at CenturyLink Field. 

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin (hip), cornerback Shaquill Griffin (hip) and defensive end Dion Jordan (knee) all returned to practice on Thursday after not practicing at all on Wednesday. Safety Maurice Alexander (concussion) and defensive end Frank Clark returned to limited participation. 

Still not practicing are right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring), running back Rashaad Penny (knee), safety Bradley McDougald (knee), safety Tedric Thompson (chest and ankle) and defensive tackle Jarran Reed (oblique and groin).

With offensive lineman Jordan Simmons having been placed on injured reserve with a knee sprain, maybe the most needed player to return off of the injured list is Fluker, who has missed the team's last two games. 

“I just talked to him out there on the field during walkthrough and he’s going to try to find out what he can do at the end of the week," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "We’re not going to know until the end of the week. That’s why all the questions are still out there about what we’re doing at guard."

The same can be said for McDougald and linebacker K.J. Wright, who has missed 11 games this season but did participate in limited practice on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

“He’s practicing, so he’s ready to go today and we’ll just go one day at a time," Carroll said of Wright. "Really excited about him getting the chance to get back out there, of course, and he looks so good on the field. He’s a monster out there so it’s great to see him and Bobby (Wagner) lining up together. We’ll see if we can carry that throughout the week.”

Penny is a bigger question mark. 

“It’s uncertain though if he can get back, we don’t know yet," Carroll said. "He’s really determined to try to make it back so that Friday is the day he can go for it – show that he can run and get going. He’s been really diligent about his rehab, so we’ll see what happens."

Seattle picked up running back Bo Scarbrough as insurance this week.

"We’re serious about running the football and this guy is a guy that gives us an attack mentality and a physical aspect of it in the event that maybe we are coming up short here," Carroll said. "I think we realized it during the game last week when a couple guys got banged a couple of times and then all of a sudden, you’re down to your last running back. Those guys (Chris Carson and Mike Davis) were fine and all that, but it just reminded us of the sense of urgency. We’re hoping Rashaad is back and we will see what happens.”

Penny and Wright out for Seattle, Baldwin to return

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Penny and Wright out for Seattle, Baldwin to return

Seattle rookie running back Rashaad Penny and linebacker K.J. Wright have been ruled out for Sunday's game at San Francisco but wide receiver Doug Baldwin will play, according to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. 

Penny injured his knee during the team's 21-7 win over Minnesota on Monday night and Wright has been hindered by a knee injury for much of the season. Safety Maurice Alexander (concussion) is also listed as being out.

“(Penny) came out of the game last week with a sore knee and it didn’t respond quickly enough to get back for this week, so we’re going to leave him so he can get treated over the weekend,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll told reporters.

Seattle (8-5) can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the 49ers (3-10). 

Right guard D.J. Fluker, who missed Monday's game with a hamstring injury, is listed as doubtful. Seattle has done well twice this season with Jordan Simmons starting in place of Fluker by rushing for over 200 yards at the Los Angeles Rams and against the Vikings. 

Baldwin, who also missed Monday's game, is listed as questionable with a hip injury but should play.

"Doug did really well," Carroll said. "He practiced, made it through it today. He did fine. It looks like he’s playing.”

Safety Bradley McDougald (knee) and defensive tackle Jarran Reed (Oblique) are also listed as questionable.

Carroll said that Wright, who has appeared in just three games this season, is progressing.

"He got reps today," Carroll said. "This was the most he’s had. We’ll check in with him in the morning to see how he recovers and comes back from that. It’s really important how he recovers. We’re going to leave him home so that he can really work hard on it so next week he can have a chance to practice on Wednesday and we’ll just take it one day at a time and see how he goes. He’s optimistic about it and we are, but we really won’t know until the end of next week where he is.” 

RB Rashaad Penny makes statement in Los Angeles

RB Rashaad Penny makes statement in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES - Rashaad Penny felt frustrated. Not because he didn't believe that Chris Carson deserved to be Seattle's starting running back, but because the first-round pick had been lost in the shuffle. 

He received just four carries against the Los Angeles Chargers last week and in Detroit didn't appear in one offensive snap. Deep down he knew he could get the job done. He just needed opportunity. 

On Sunday, Penny unleashed all of his frustration on the Los Angeles Rams during a 36-31 loss at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 123 miles north of where he starred at San Diego State. Penny rushed for 108 yards on 12 carries as the backup to Mike Davis, who started in place of Carson, out with a hip injury. 

Penny had runs of 38 yards and 18 yards in the first quarter, the latter of which went for a touchdown. On both plays, he demonstrated the same patience, vision and speed that allowed him to rush for 3,656 yards for the Aztecs. Penny said his performance was born from learning to remain patient, playing with confidence and letting the game come to him rather than overthinking. 

"Our offensive coordinator [Brian Schottenheimer] just told me to do my job, take one play at a time." Penny said. "I think that was the most important thing for me. I kind of worried about two or three plays ahead instead of the one play that I needed to focus on. Now I’ve just got to find my groove, and I think I am more ready.”

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Penny, despite falling further out of the lineup in the two previous games, had been working hard to become a better professional running back. On Sunday, Carroll said Penny looked like the guy they thought he would be when the team selected him No. 27 overall in this year's NFL Draft, and before a broken finger cost him most of the preseason. 

"We’ve been on him hard," Carroll said. "We’ve been challenging him to get right, work at the right tempo all week, find what it’s like to be pro, just teaching a young guy figure it out. He’s been very open, very receptive...Maybe from this point forward you see him just take off. He looked fantastic today. It’s great for us.”

Carson and Davis are power backs who run relentlessly hard, which is what Carroll likes to see from his backs. Penny has a speed dimension that both Carson and Davis lack. Getting Penny up to speed would add a dimension to the backfield that has been missing most of the season. Penny showed flashes of his abilities with nine carries for 49 yards at Arizona in Week 3 and his 43 yards on nine carries against Oakland in London a few weeks a go. All told, however, he entered Sunday with 146 yards rushing on 42 carries. 

"He stayed humble," quarterback Russell Wilson said. "He stayed working his tail off everyday. He’s going to be a great player for us. He’s physical, knows how to run it, sees the reads really well, and stayed the course throughout this journey. So, we’ve got a great stable of running backs."