Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy were invisible in Sunday's loss at Tennessee. But coach Pete Carroll said the team wanted to get them some work and hopes they will get more involved down the road.
Lost, maybe, in the anthem protest before the game and then how the Seahawks ended up losing at Tennessee Sunday is that it was another afternoon when running backs Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy were essentially non-existent.
Heading into the season, one of the big questions about the Seahawks was how the team would divide carries between Rawls and Lacy, who it figured would be the team’s top two running backs.
But Sunday only further confirmed that rookie Chris Carson is the feature tailback for now as he got the start and was again Seattle’s leading rusher with 34 yards on 11 carries.
Rawls and Lacy were each active. But Rawls got just one snap without a carry while Lacy did not play at all.
Through three games Carson has 117 snaps while Rawls has 17 and Lacy — signed to a one-year contract in March worth up to $4.25 million with $2.865 million guaranteed — just seven.
Carroll insisted Monday that the team planned to try to get both Rawls and Lacy some work. But that went out the window when the Seahawks fell behind 30-14 in the late third quarter requiring the Seattle to pretty much abandon its running game.
Of Seattle’s 72 official plays just 22 were runs.
“The running back needs more carries, and our guys are still young and figuring it out and all that,’’ Carroll said. “There weren’t enough carries to share, and so Thomas and Eddie didn’t get a shot to go much, but it wasn’t by their doing, we just didn’t get enough plays.”
Carroll said he doesn’t expect Rawls — who led the Seahawks with 830 yards as a rookie in 2015 — and Lacy to be taking their inactivity well.
“Yeah, it’s hard for them,’’ Carroll said. “They want the ball every snap, and I don’t blame then, they’re great competitive kids. If they didn’t feel like they wanted it, they wouldn’t be who they are. So it’s difficult.”
Carroll said he has talked to each but would keep those conversations private.
The talk about how the running back spot is shaking out, though, figures to only increase as Carson has taken center stage.
Sunday, C.J. Prosise also got his most work of the season, mostly as a two-minute and third-down back, finishing with nine yards on four carries and three receptions for 65 yards.
But Carroll said Prosise was looked at for a possible ankle injury Monday. He didn’t reveal if it showed damage but if Prosise is questionable in any way this week then that could open the door for one of Rawls or Lacy to get more work.
SUNDAY’S PROBLEMS FIXABLE, CARROLL SAYS
While there was no shortage of areas to point to as reasons for the loss to the Titans, Carroll said the good news is that he thinks they are all things the team can fix.
He pointed to two as particular issues — four botched snaps on offense and some poor run fits on defense, particularly on a 75-yard run by DeMarco Murray that helped break the game open.
“We’ve got to stop hurting ourselves in areas that cause problems,’’ Carroll said. “We had trouble on the line of scrimmage on defense, and with the snap on offense. Those are totally within our control. We got to take care of business. Those things have to go away.’’
Carroll noted that the Titans had just 30 yards rushing on 17 carries in the first half as proof that the issues weren’t physical.
Of the 75-yard run, Carroll said: “We misread the formation and didn’t hit it just right on the run play, and the ball got out. You know, concerned, yeah, in that we don’t want that to happen anymore. We want to get rid of that. We had a perfect first half of run fits, and then it was a couple of similar plays in the second half that we didn’t hit right, different looks from the defensive side. Gosh, we were just so on it to start: 26 yards from that group, and they were really trying in the first half was really exquisitely played. And then in the second half I thought it fell apart with a couple runs.”
As for the snaps, Carroll said: “They were all different. We had a low snap, we had a snap under center that we mishandled, we had a snap in a silent-count situation that was off timed. So it wasn’t one thing, if it was that, it would have been easy to fix. And (quarterback) Russell (Wilson) could have—there was a low ball that he didn’t catch that he usually gets, and it just got away from him. So there were really four snaps that were in question, and it’s four huge opportunities. So it’s hard to take those, that has to be clean. It can’t be part of our football.”
Carroll said linebacker and special teams standout Dewey McDonald “does have an ACL injury’’ that is “serious.’’ He said he didn’t have any other details, but an ACL injury would likely sideline McDonald for the rest of the season. If so, expect a roster move to possibly come on Tuesday.
Otherwise, Carroll didn’t offer up a lot of specifics about injuries. He said receiver Doug Baldwin was having his groin looked at Monday as well as Prosise having his ankle but said he had no results to reveal.
Carroll also said left tackle Rees Odhiambo suffered an ankle injury on what was the team’s second-to-last offensive play (Matt Tobin filled in for one play, Seattle’s final touchdown on a Wilson pass to Paul Richardson).
He said defensive tackle Frank Clark was battling cramps in the second half.