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Seahawks Mailbag: Running Back Depth, Josh Gordon, Mascots & More

You had Seahawks questions; we have answers. 

Rashaad Penny is congratulated by fellow running backs Chris Carson, C.J. Prosise and Travis Homer after his touchdown in the third quarter.
Rashaad Penny is congratulated by fellow running backs Chris Carson, C.J. Prosise and Travis Homer after his touchdown in the third quarter.

The Seahawks dropped their first road game of the season on Sunday, losing to the Los Angeles Rams to fall to 10-3. While disappointed in that result, the Seahawks know they can still make this a great season if they finish strong, starting with this weekend's game in Carolina. But before we turn our attention to the Week 15 matchup with the Panthers, it's time once again to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to your question this time around. To submit questions for future mailbags, you can send them to me via Twitter (@johnpboyle) or online at

@MakingTime95 asks, "Will C.J. Prosise and Travis Homer be able to cover Rashaad Penny's absence?" And on a related note, @T_Kearny asks if Homer can pass Prosise as the team's No. 2 back.

A: There's no sugarcoating the fact that the Seahawks will miss Penny, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in Sunday's game. He was Seattle's No. 2 back behind Chris Carson for a reason, and he had made a big impact in the previous two games, scoring three touchdowns while accounting for 236 all-purpose yards.

But the good news is that the Seahawks like their depth at running back beyond Carson and Penny, and while his opportunities have been limited, Prosise has shown big-play ability in the past. Homer, a rookie out of Miami, hasn't had a chance to show what he can do on offense yet, and Carroll made it clear with his comments Monday that Prosise is the next man up for now, but there could definitely be chances for Homer to earn himself more playing time if he takes advantage of whatever chances he gets.

"C.J. will step into that role and Homer will help out, and we'll see how those guys can do," Carroll said Monday. "We'll expect them to do well—C.J. has always done well when we give him the chance, now he'll know he's in the game plan and all of that, and I'm hoping he'll contribute in a big way… C.J. has the background as a receiver that makes him a little bit different type of threat that we've used when we have him in the game plan, so we'll look forward to him contributing that way. We know he's a big play guy, he's already had a couple of good big plays earlier in the year. We're going to count on him to really just pick up where Rashaad left off."

@therealluigi_ asks, "Should the Seahawks take a look at any free agent running backs?"

A: I'm sure the Seahawks will at least take a look at who is available, because as general manager John Schneider always says, they look at everything. So while it wouldn't surprise me at all if a running back is added this week, the Seahawks might not feel like they have to add someone right away. After all they had gone five games prior to Week 14 with Prosise inactive, meaning Carson, Penny and Homer were the only backs available on gameday, so carrying three running backs could be an option.

Steve Grappo from Seattle asks, "The Seahawks have an unusual streak of unique final scores in every year since Pete Carroll became coach. Have we had one yet this year?"

A: Yes! A scorigami question.

First a bit of background (watch the video below if you're a nerd like me and want a lot more background), scorigami is a term coined by SB Nation's Jon Bois, and it's the term for when a game ends in a final score that has never before occurred in an NFL game. I talked to Bois two seasons ago and wrote about scorigami here.

Anyway, getting to Steve's question, he's right that, unbelievably, the Seahawks have had a scorigami game every season since Carroll took over, including their Super Bowl XLVIII win over the Broncos, and even more amazingly, they won all of them:

2010—Seahawks 36, Cardinals 18
2011—Seahawks 36, Giants 25
2012—Seahawks 58, Cardinals 0
2013—Seahawks 43, Broncos 8 (Super Bowl XLVIII)
2014—Seahawks 36, Packers 16
2015—Seahawks 39, Steelers 30
2016—Seahawks 37, 49ers 18
2017—Seahawks 46, Colts 18
2018—Seahawks 43, 49ers 16

Unfortunately, this year's Seahawks scorigami game has not yet taken place, so the pressure is on to do something weird over these next three games or in the postseason.

@kmasterman asks, "Which is your kids' favorite mascot? It's definitely Turf the dog, right?"

A: If you ask my younger daughter, the answer is probably Turf because she loves dogs, and because a man in a giant bird suit kinda freaks her out (sorry, Blitz). My 4-year-old, however, absolutely loves Blitz, so that'd be her choice if we're talking Seahawks. If all mascots are on the table, she was also a huge fan of the Portland Pickles Mascot when we went there last year, so that one might be in the running.

Bianca Sarte from San Diego asks, "What makes the Seahawks so positive during the toughest times. For example, when they're struggling during games, what helps them bounce back and keep their mentality strong?"

A: I'd say the Seahawks' resilience is a reflection of the culture Pete Carroll has built in Seattle. Few human people in this world are more optimistic than Carroll, and when that's genuine, which it is with Carroll, it becomes contagious. It also helps that quarterback Russell Wilson has a very similar mindset to Carroll, in addition to just being a really good quarterback, a trait that has helped him lead so many comebacks over his eight-year career.

Ray Brown from Marysville asks, "Do you see Josh Gordon playing a larger role in the offense?" Mike Gomez from Lockhart, Texas also asks about getting Gordon more involved, as do @ECHenryinWA and @mikeymike360.

A: Gordon has six catches in his four games with the Seahawks, including two for 34 yards on Sunday, but while his numbers don't reflect it yet, it appears he is getting more comfortable in the offense and the Seahawks are getting more comfortable using him, so yes, there is a good chance he plays a larger role going forward. For example, while Gordon had jus two catches last weekend, he saw his playing time increase substantially from the first three games in which he played roughly a third of the snaps. In L.A., Gordon played 55 percent of the offensive snaps, third among receivers behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Over time, more playing time will lead to more targets, and as Carroll noted Monday on 710 ESPN Seattle, there were a few opportunities to get Gordon the ball that didn't work out.

"We missed him a couple of opportunities too when he ran great routes and things we were looking for, and we just didn't get the ball out to him," Carroll said. "He's a good football player, and he's going to be a good help down the road over the long haul."

@OvvalavvvO asks, "If we win out and win the division, who would we most likely play first in the playoffs?"

A: First a disclaimer, we're getting way ahead of ourselves here, and the only focus for the team right now is on beating the Panthers this week. That being said, there's no harm in fans or writers playing out what-if scenarios, right?

If the Seahawks win out, they'll get a first-round bye, which means it's pretty difficult to predict who they play since it will dependent on what happens in the Wild Card round. If the Seahawks were to win the division without the bye—say if they and the 49ers both lost a game prior to their Week 17 meeting, followed by Seattle winning that game to win the division with a 12-4 record—then in all likelihood they'd be the No. 3 seed since the NFC East winner is going to be the No. 4 seed (Dallas and Philadelphia are both 6-7 at the top of that division). The No. 3 seed hosts the No. 6 seed, which as of now is Minnesota, but could also end up being Green Bay if Minnesota were to move past the Packers in the NFC North, or the Rams if they stay hot and can catch whoever doesn't win the NFC North.

And while this question specifies winning the division, the other scenario in play for Seattle is going to the playoffs as a Wild Card if the Seahawks don't catch the 49ers, who are currently in first place. In that case, the likely destination would be Dallas or Philadelphia as the No. 5 seed, though a No. 6 seed is still possible depending on what happens in the North.

But again, we're getting way ahead of ourselves, so let's just worry about Sunday's game in Carolina, shall we?

@Amanda30307873 asks, "Who was your favorite NFL team growing up?"

A: I'm from Seattle, so it was definitely the Seahawks first and foremost. I also like the Eagles as a kid though, because A. I went through a phase of really liking eagles (I liked dolphins too, but never got into the Miami-based NFL team, go figure), and B. Randall Cunningham was awesome.

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