The Seattle Seahawks are looking for help at running back after placing the team’s RB1 Chris Carson on the Injured Reserve list. According to the NFL transaction wire, the Seahawks hosted two running backs for October 19 tryouts, ex-Packers rusher Dexter Williams and B.J. Emmons.
After a standout career at Notre Dame, Williams spent the last two seasons with the Packers. Williams was released by Green Bay prior to Week 1 as the team finalized their 53-man roster. The Giants signed Williams to the team’s practice squad only to release him weeks later.
Last season, Williams found himself in one of the deepest running back groups in the NFL stuck behind Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was complimentary of Williams while the two were teammates.
“I love Dex,” Rodgers said during a November 2020 interview, per Packers.com. “Dex has a really good attitude. He’s done a nice job of growing up in the offense and feeling more comfortable with the checks and his responsibilities in pass blocking and route running. It seems like he’s a little more settled this year and feeling more confident.”
Emmons had a brief stint with the Seahawks this offseason but was released prior to training camp. The former Alabama running back was later signed by the Raiders but was cut prior to Week 1.
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Carroll on Penny: ‘He’s Really Raring to Go’
The often-injured Rashaad Penny has been sidelined since Week 1 but Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll indicated the running back is trending towards playing in Week 7. Penny is entering a critical second half of the season as the Seahawks declined his fifth-year option over the offseason.
The running back will hit free agency in 2022 and is hoping he can build up his value with a strong finish to the season. Unfortunately, Penny has struggled with injuries throughout his career and has only played in a total of four games over the last two seasons. Carroll emphasized Penny will not be limited this week and is “raring to go” when the Seahawks desperately need help at running back.
“This week, he is able to kind of jump right in and be unlimited,” Carroll noted during his October 18 press conference. “Yeah, I talked to Rashaad last week, but I think I told you guys that in looking forward to this week coming up that he needed to have a great week last week, which he did. And he’s had a number of weeks, the last three weeks have been really good for him. He is raring to go and there there won’t be any restrictions on him, unless the workload builds up on him.
“And I’m hoping that that’s not going to be the fact, because the way he’s prepared. It’s extremely important that he comes back to us now and helps out the running game and all that and I’m really excited for him. It’s been a long year in the return and all of that for him, been really frustrating for him and he’s really raring to go.”
Williams Was Selected by the Packers in the Sixth-Round Pick of the 2019 NFL Draft
Williams had 158 carries for 995 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging 6.3 yards per run during his senior season at Notre Dame. Heading into the 2019 NFL draft, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler gave Williams a fourth-round grade and had him as his No. 9 ranked running back in the class. Williams ended up falling to the Packers in the sixth round.
“A one-year starter at Notre Dame, Williams spent his first three seasons in South Bend as a backup who was in and out of the medical tent and coach’s doghouse,” Brugler noted in his 2019 draft guide. “He took advantage of his second and third chances and developed a more professional attitude for his breakout senior season, ranking top-15 nationally in rushing yards per game (110.6) in 2018.
“Williams looks his best downhill where he can attack lanes and allow his athleticism to take over. He is still in the development phase as a pass catcher and blocker, but shows noticeable upside in both areas. Overall, Williams hasn’t been the model of reliability over his career, but his turnaround and productive senior season give evaluators optimism because he has the natural talent to upgrade a team’s running back depth chart if he stays committed.”