RENTON -- The loss of Rashaad Penny for the rest of the season to a torn ACL opens the door for C.J. Prosise and Travis Homer to step into bigger roles in the Seahawks' offense.
While Chris Carson will likely resume his role carrying the primary load for Seattle's backfield, Prosise and Homer will each get chances to show they can provide an adequate alternative.
"I’m really happy for C.J.," head coach Pete Carroll said on Wednesday. "Just the numbers all got him during the middle part of this season. He’s a really capable player. We love the way that he plays and the way he’s been practicing. He’s been healthy to give himself a chance, but he’s been frustrated, too, you know. In likely fashion. he should be. He’s ready to go.
"It just kind of gives us the chance to think, let’s get Homer some shots, too. If the opportunity arises, we’re going to do that.”
Prosise has had a couple impressive moments during his four seasons with Seattle. However, they've been few and far between as injuries have usually led to his being unavailable for long stretches of time. Additionally, the one-two punch of Carson and Penny, along with Homer's roles on special teams, have led to Prosise being inactive frequently this year, including a five-game stretch where he didn't suit up for a game despite being fully healthy.
Penny's loss removes that impediment to playing time for Prosise and he's looking forward to getting his chance to show what he can do once again.
"It's not my first time in this position. The time is called and just got to go perform, got to go and do your job. Just ready for the opportunity," Prosise said.
"I feel more prepared than ever. I've been working on my game, working on myself mentally, physically. I've stayed in the playbook, stayed ready. I knew my time was going to be called at some point so I was waiting for it."
As a rookie, Prosise had a two-week stretch that flashed plenty of potential. He rushed for 66 yards on 17 carries and caught seven passes for 87 yards in a 31-24 road victory over the New England Patriots. The following week he broke off a 72-yard touchdown run against the Philadelphia Eagles before a fractured scapula sustained late in the first half ended his season. Numerous other injuries limited him to just 10 games played total over the next two seasons. He's been healthy all year for Seattle but hasn't had many chances to play in his seven appearances this season. He admitted it's been difficult to be on the sidelines for a significant portion of the season.
"It was tough," Prosise said. "Coming in not really having much expectations playing-wise. It was frustrating. It was a hard time for me, but also, for me, it was adversity I had to get through. It's going to make me stronger, make me better for the opportunity ahead. Now is the opportunity so I'm just going to take advantage."
Meanwhile, Homer has just one carry this season and it came on a fake punt two weeks ago against the Vikings. However, Carroll said Wednesday that he's ready to get involved in the mix as well.
"We’re ready to go, really," Carroll said. "He has been a fantastic contributor in special teams. He’s worked throughout the year with us. We don’t have any hesitation. He will have a chance to get the ball this weekend."
Penny injured his left knee on his first and only touch of Sunday night's loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The injury will require surgery in the near future once the swelling from the injury subsides. The surgery will be able to determine the full extent of the damage to Penny's knee.
"It’s a long haul before we get him back," head coach Pete Carroll said. "We’re going to take all the right precautions to make sure we start the process at the right time. They got to get in there and find out what’s going on, but it’s an ACL damage mainly that they’re concerned with.”
Penny tweeted on Wednesday a message of determination about working back from the injury,
"Don’t doubt me, I'm built for this. Comeback going to be even sweeter," Penny wrote.
Carson said he's spoken with Penny and expects him to bounce back from the surgery.
"I talk to him every day," Carson said. "He's going to get his surgery and then attack rehab so he's going to be fine."
The Seahawks promoted cornerback Ryan Neal from the practice squad and placed cornerback Neiko Thorpe on injured reserve.
Thorpe had surgery last week for a sports hernia that will end his season. Neal has spent the entire season on Seattle's practice squad after being released by the Atlanta Falcons at the end of training camp.
"He’s done a nice job with us," Carroll said. "We saw him back in his Atlanta days on film playing. Really liked his toughness, aggressiveness and confidence that he played with. He’s done that here for us. He’s done a really good job.
"He’s going to take Neiko’s spot and he’ll be on special teams and all that. We’re grateful that we’ve had the chance to build him up and prepare him. Make him one of our guys. I’m anxious to see him play.”
Additionally, running back Xavier Turner was signed to the practice squad to add depth to the position following the loss of Rashaad Penny to a torn ACL.
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has now caught the flu bug that had hit Tyler Lockett, David Moore, Tre Flowers and others two weeks ago.
Clowney is also dealing with a core muscle injury that was need to be managed the rest of the season. Carroll said on Monday that Clowney was "hurting" a bit coming out of the loss to the Rams. A combination of the flu and injury kept him from practicing on Wednesday.
"He’s sick today. He got to flu thing, it finally hit him," Carroll said.
Fellow defensive end Ziggy Ansah remains limited in practice as he works back from a stinger sustained against the Minnesota Vikings. Carroll did say that Ansah has a good chance to play this week against the Panthers.
"He’s got a chance, a real good chance to be okay, but he has to still prove it. It’s a strength issue right now," Carroll said.
Tight end Luke Willson and fullback Nick Bellore both have a chance to return to the lineup this week.
Willson has missed the last three games since injuring his hamstring against the San Francisco 49ers last month.
"He’s chomping at the bit to play this week," Carroll said. "Give him credit, he wants to play in the worst way. He ran well today. He was really pumped up about it. He told me at least four times how well he looked in his workouts. He’s working at it.”
Bellore has missed the last two games after injuring his quadriceps in the win over the Eagles.
"Nick’s got a chance to come back," Carroll said. "He’s going to practice today. We’re thinking that Nick, if he makes it through the week, we’ll wait to determine that, but he should be able to play for us. That’s a big plus for us coming back. He’s been a real factor in [special] teams. A real good factor for us. We’re looking forward to him coming back."
Linebacker Mychal Kendricks ended up being limited in practice on Wednesday despite a hamstring strain that Carroll said earlier in the day would keep him from taking the field. He's making progress but his status likely won't be known until later in the week.
"He ran yesterday, and I think he’s going again today. He won’t practice today," Carroll said. "We have to wait and see all the way until the end of the week if he can make it back."
Photo Credit: GLENDALE, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 29: CJ Prosise #22 of the Seattle Seahawks scores a rushing touchdown during the second half of a game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on September 29, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. Seahawks won 27-10. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)