Why Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny had a tough day against the Saints

In Week 7, the Seattle Seahawks dropped their fifth game of the season to the New Orleans Saints as they fell 13-10 on Monday Night Football and fell into sole possession of the last spot in NFC West. The Hawks were without the services of Russell Wilson and Chris Carson, but after a return from the injured reserve, Rashaad Penny was active in the first round of 2018 for the first time since the season’s inaugural Week 1 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Here’s a look at how he fared when he was tasked with carrying the football against the Saints by reviewing each of his six carriers.

Berries 1: 1. & 10 at Seattle 1 (5:55 remaining Q1)

Penny only wins one yard on this game, but that’s not necessarily his fault. Center Kyle Fuller almost completely whizzes on his attempt to block Saints linebacker Pete Werner (20), and Werner creates enough disruption in the backfield for other defenders to then be able to come in and tackle.

Berries 2: 1. & 10 on New Orleans 43 (0:37 remaining Q1)

Penny only picks up three yards on this game, but that probably represents his best off-zone run in the game. On this particular game, right guard Gabe Jackson is unable to stay with experienced defensive tackle Josiah Bronson (91), who enters the backfield and forces Penny to cut down. Penny does a very nice job of avoiding Bronson and then immediately continuing straight up the field.

Berries 3: 1. & 10 at Seattle 23 (4:18 remaining Q2)

Another out-of-zone call and Penny appears to be in a hurry in the backfield. He makes the correct readings of the defensive linemen and looks to make the prescribed cut, but as a result of his apparent rush he slips when he makes his plant and it ruins the game. He tries to recover by using his athletics and hitting everyone to the edge at the back of the game, but ends up being turned around when he tries to skip the back cornerback.

Berries 4: 1st & 10th at Seattle 40 (2:51 remaining Q2)

This is one of those games where if Penny was a little bit more skilled, he would probably win more than the single yard he earned on this game. The point here is that despite the left side of the line opening a hole for Penny, no one gets to the second level to block Werner (20), who stops.

If a line opens holes so big, it feels like a running back should be able to get more than a yard. Of course, it’s unknown if anyone puts a hat on Werner, and Penny is able to turn on the afterburners as he slides through a hole large enough for a beer car.

Berries 5: 2. & 9 at Seattle 13 (12:54 remaining Q3)

This gets Penny into the type of race where he excels best – a gap race in space where he can use his speed. Jamarco Jones and Duane Brown both draw on this misleading game, unfortunately Cam Jordan has been playing for a long time and stays at home instead of buying some of what Jones and Brown sell. That said, 32-year-old Jordan probably no longer possesses the 4.87 speeds he showed at the 2011 combine, and this is a footfall he will lose a hundred times out of a hundred. The five-yard gain represents Penny’s best run of the night.

Berries 6: 1st & 10th on New Orleans 48 (11:26 left Q3)

Another out-of-zone call, and this is probably Penny’s worst tow of the night. He gets the ball and the reading is there to make the cut across the formation based on how the defensive linemen at the point of attack are positioned. Unfortunately, instead of planting and making the cut, Penny tips her toes forward half a dozen steps before indecisively stumbling into the back of Jamarco Jones. Penny did not get any more carry after this, and whether it was due to a track count in his first match back, or whether Shane Waldron did not want to call his number anymore due to inefficiency, we may not know until we see how many opportunities he gets against Jacksonville on Sunday.

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