Chris Carson’s coming back.
But not at the expense of all of Mike Davis’ playing time.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday that Carson, his lead running back, will return this week and play in Sunday’s NFC West game against the undefeated Los Angeles Rams. Carson missed last weekend’s win at Arizona with a hip injury.
But Davis is going to play, too.
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Asked what Davis’ role would be against the Rams and beyond now that Carson is back, Carroll said: “He’s (Davis is) going to fit in somewhere. He needs to play. He needs to be a part of it. We’ll work that out.”
Davis was the third-string back until about 90 minutes before Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, when the Seahawks decided Carson was out for the game. Davis started, and then duplicated Carson’s career-high 100-yard rushing game from the week before in the win over Dallas. Davis, a four-year veteran and former San Francisco 49er, set his career bests with 21 carries for 101 yards as Seattle won its second straight game, 20-17 over Arizona.
After almost ignoring the run in the first two games, when they passed 73 percent of the time and lost both, the Seahawks have had a 100-yard back in each of the last two games. Both have been victories. Carson and Davis have Seattle’s first 100-yard rushing games in two years.
Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer chose Davis to start at Arizona and be the lead back instead of rookie first-round draft choice Rashaad Penny. Penny remained in a secondary role, and it’s clear the Seahawks want to keep Penny in understudy mode for now. He had nine carries and 49 yards against Arizona, and showed spark and speed to the outside for the first time this season.
Right now, the coaches trust Carson, a veteran of six NFL starts in his two injury-shortened seasons, and Davis, who started at the end of last season after Carson broke his leg, more.
“Chris wasn’t able to go. I talked it over with Schotty, about who we thought would handle it the best and would be the most comfortable. Mike’s played more and he’s been around and started games and all that,” Carroll said. “We just thought we’d go that way and keep Rashaad (in) kind of the role that we had projected going into the game, where he would come in off the bench and fill in and do some stuff, and we would see how the game would go. That was just a thought early.”
Penny did in Arizona some of what he also did in college at San Diego State: return kickoffs. Replacing usual return man Tyler Lockett, Penny returned three kickoffs for 65 yards, with a long of 23 yards.
Carroll said Penny will return kickoffs again this weekend versus the Rams.
“He hit it pretty hard. It was good. He enjoyed it,” Carroll said. “He felt like he needs to get his timing, his feel for it again. It was really beneficial to have his shots this week, and we’ll put him back there again this week and see how he does.”