The Seattle Seahawks have not had running back Chris Carson in uniform since a Week 4 victory over the San Francisco 49ers due to a lingering neck injury. This situation remains unlikely to change based on the latest update from head coach Pete Carroll.
Carroll met with media members on Wednesday, November 17, to discuss the upcoming game against the Arizona Cardinals. He confirmed during the session that Carson will not yet return to practice and that he will remain on Injured Reserve.
Carroll did not provide much information, but he said that Carson has not made the amount of progress that they hoped while trying to return. He continues to deal with the neck injury that first made him inactive for the October 7 game against the Los Angeles Rams, as well as the next four games.
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Carson Returned to Practice on November 10
Coming out of the bye week, the Seahawks provided optimism about Carson’s potential return to action. Carroll met with media members on November 8 and said that the running back would undergo some more tests before returning to practice.
The Seahawks provided another big update on November 10 by designating Carson to return to practice from Injured Reserve. This roster move opened up a 21-day period in which the team would have to either activate him to the active roster or shut him down for the remainder of the season.
“He’s got to make it through the week of work and like we always talk about, it’s a one-day-at-a-time thing,” Carroll said, per the Seahawks website. “He’ll get banged around a little bit tomorrow, but just see how he responds to it. It’s pretty important to get a good bead on this one. He’ll feel good physically running around and all that because he’s in great shape and he’s been working really hard, so it’s just how he responds — same old thing — and how his body reacts to the workload.”
Carson remained on Injured Reserve as the Seahawks traveled to Lambeau Field for a 17-0 loss to the Packers, but there was a possibility that he would return ahead of Week 11. However, Carroll’s latest comments now create doubt about his availability for the remainder of the season.
Carson’s Absence Continues to Hurt the Seahawks
Carroll’s Seahawks have always relied on the run while incorporating such names as Marshawn Lynch, Thomas Rawls, Christine Michael, and Carson. However, the absence of Carson has put extra pressure on Alex Collins and the rest of the running backs.
The game against the Packers was a fitting example. Collins averaged 4.1 yards per carry, but he only rushed 10 times. Russell Wilson added five carries for 32 yards in his return while Travis Homer only rushed once for two yards. DeeJay Dallas and Rashaad Penny did not log any carries. Penny, a former first-round pick, has only rushed 15 times for 24 yards during the season while only appearing in three games.
According to Pro Football Reference, the Seahawks currently rank 22nd in the NFL in rushing with 898 yards. Collins leads the list with 345 yards while Carson still sits second on the team with the 232 yards he piled up in the first four weeks. Wilson is third with 100 yards.
Getting Carson back into the fold would provide a boost to the offense, provided he is healthy enough to return. He would add some consistency to the rushing attack and would give Collins opportunities to provide splash plays. For now, Collins will have all of the pressure on him as he shoulders the load and tries to help the Seahawks recover from a 3-6 record.