Huard: Why Seahawks’ Kenneth Walker III is exploding down stretch
Just a few weeks ago, there were questions about whether Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III had hit a rookie wall.
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The second-round NFL Draft pick out of Michigan State was a key part of Seattle’s four-game winning streak in October and early November, rushing for 97 yards or more in all but one of those wins, but he struggled in the following four games. . Walker didn’t break the 50-yard mark in any of those contests, and was mostly held to just 26 yards on 14 carries (1.86 yards per carry) on Nov. 27 against the Raiders.
However, the past two weeks have seen Walker break through that initial wall. On Christmas Eve, Walker had a big second half to finish with 107 yards on 26 carries at Kansas City, and in Sunday’s win over the Jets he rushed for 133 yards on 23 attempts for a 5.78 average.
Walker made a statement right out of the gate against New York, too, with a 60-yard run on the first play from scrimmage.
Kenneth Walker starting the new year in style 😤 @Kenneth_Walker9
📺: #NYJvsSEA on FOX
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/X0l893cfwp pic.twitter.com/1Asdb1EObN
— NFL (@NFL) January 1, 2023
Walker’s last two appearances stand out because they have come against two of the toughest defenses in the league. How has he broken out at a time when his season is usually already over in college? Former NFL quarterback and current FOX football analyst Brock Huard broke it down Tuesday during Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk’s Blue 88 segment.
“It hit me,” Huard recalled, “(Seahawks coach Pete Carroll) told us that two or three times — and especially when we played Ken Walker’s audio after the game in Kansas City where Ken Walker said, ‘You know, in the first half I had guys telling me I had to hit the hole.’ And when we played it, Pete said, ‘Yeah, that was me. I was the one who told him go hit the hole. Don’t wait and jump.’”
Huard went on to explain why hitting the hole is something backs need to learn to embrace in the NFL.
“This is a different league, man. It’s different from high school, where you can pass everyone to the end. I look at these players, I remember Chuba Hubbard in particular – he played at Oklahoma State, he’s with Carolina now, and Chuba Hubbard played in Canada in high school. I remember reading his bio and it was like, ‘Oh, his senior year, he averaged 17.3 yards per rush.’ What? Because every time he could corner him, he was gone. There was no one who could run with him. You go to college, that changes, right? Now those lanes narrow down a little bit, and it’s not eight lanes, it’s about four.
“… You get to the NFL, man, stay in your lane and hit that 100 mph lane. And then once you get to the line (of scrimmage), and once you gain a yard or two and then you want to roll, and then you want to jump, God bless you, then you go for a run at home. But you can’t take negative games. You can’t go out again and again and again. Go get that single, go around the base and then if you see the light of day and you have to go, then go.”
It seems that Walker has trusted the advice of Carroll and others, and as a result he is finding success.
“If you have to run in the dark to get 4 meters, you run in the dark,” Huard said. “But I think the last game and a half, really since that second half in Kansas City, you’ve seen him hit that hole a lot more violently.”
You can listen to the full conversation between Huard and Mike Salk in the latest podcast segment at this link or in the player below.
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