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49ers-Seahawks preview: Is Chris Carson the guy to watch in Seattle’s backfield?

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The Seahawks added a couple options this offseason. We try and figure out who will be worth watching on Sunday.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers run defense was atrocious in 2016, and we saw some improvement in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers. The 49ers held Carolina to 3.1 yards per rush, which was something they only did against the Rams last season. And given the Panthers prominent options in the backfield, it was a solid performance.

This week, the 49ers face a Seattle Seahawks squad with some intriguing options in the backfield, but a ton of questions. Thomas Rawls was removed from the injury report on Thursday, and might be the most talented option on the roster. Chris Carson got the most carries last week. Eddie Lacy is their most notable offseason addition in the backfield, but he has not impressed.

We’re back once again talking with Kenneth Arthur from Field Gulls. I talked 49ers-Seahawks with him, which you can read over at Field Gulls. Earlier, today, we discussed the Seahawks offensive line. Here is what he had to say when I asked him how the running back situation will shake out.

This is a common question and the only answer anyone can honestly give is "I don't know." The Seahawks used 18 or 19 running backs last year, which was an NFL record. They might not use that many this year but they might be the most 25/25/25/25 team in the league at running back.

Lacy has not looked good for basically the entire training camp, preseason, and Week 1. He looks slow. He just looks like a regular dude coming off the street getting handed the ball in a professional football game. If that continues, then certainly I could see Lacy out of the picture and potentially back on the waiver wire. I would put him as the number four back in this roster in terms of who should play the most and who could fall out of favor completely first.

Prosise would be my number three because he's just inexperienced and more of a third-down back/pass-catcher than a true back. You can hand him the ball and get a huge result sometimes, but I don't know that he'll ever be a first down player. On Sunday, I'd expect him to get a few touches in situations where Pete Carroll may be looking to catch the defense off-guard with a big, explosive play.

They're playing it safe with Thomas Rawls, so he'd be my number two. They cautiously sat him in Week 1 and I expect they'll begin to work him back in this weekend. I think he could still be the best running back on this roster, and when healthy, one of the better running backs in the league, but as of today he's still someone who hasn't looked right since breaking his ankle almost two years ago.

That leaves Carson as my number one option. I think Carroll is slowly warming up to the idea of the seventh round rookie getting first and second down carries and doing so in the first quarter. He was the first back on the field against Green Bay and led the unit in carries, as well as getting a 10-yard catch. He's a good pass blocker on third downs too, so Carson could potentially be a three-down back. Beyond all expectations, I think Carson has the highest probability in the unit of getting 200 carries this season and being the featured back come December/January. He's looking very good.