It's easy to forget that Carson was among the NFL's most impressive rookies last September, outplaying veterans Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy with a decisive running style and a well-rounded skill set. Seattle's ground attack never recovered from his loss, as the offense turned one-dimensional for the season's final three months.
Now that the No. 249 overall pick in the 2017 draft is healthy again, coach Pete Carroll has singled him out for praise in organized team activities.
"He hasn't missed one snap of anything," Carroll said Thursday, via the Seattle Times. "He's just looked so fit and just so cut and quick and explosive and all of that. He's the guy that just stood out in that regard.
"He's absolutely full steam. He has just had a great offseason. He was really frustrated about not being able to finish us last year, and he put it to work. He did it. I'm excited to see how he goes. He's going to play really good for us when we get back."
Carson faces stiffer competition in Penny than he did last year in a banged-up Rawls, a declining Lacy and fragile receiving specialist C.J. Prosise. That said, he's not intimidated by the resources invested in a three-down back the organization strongly considered drafting at No. 18 overall before trading down nine spots.
"Everybody's competing no matter what -- who comes in or who leaves -- the model is to compete. Everybody's hungry."
While Penny is the favorite to be featured in Seattle's attack this season, Carson's presence will ensure that nothing is handed to the rookie. Even if Carson is ultimately relegated to a complementary role, Carroll should sleep better with the assurance that his backfield is as deep as it's been since Marshawn Lynch was rampaging through opposing defenses en route to the Super Bowl.