Penny is making the transition to fullback, H-back and tight end, Mike Jurecki of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM reports.
Penny, who went undrafted out of Idaho in 2016, has spent his first two professional seasons at running back, where he racked up 124 yards and two scores on 31 rushes (4.0 YPC) in 2017. His transition to a blocking role could be a signal that Arizona's new coaching staff doesn't view him as a legitimate candidate for the backup job behind workhorse running back David Johnson. However, it could also be viewed as a lack of confidence in tight end Jermaine Gresham (Achilles) being ready for Week 1. Either way, Chase Edmonds, who the Cardinals plucked in the fourth round of this year's draft, now seems to be the preferred handcuff to Johnson in advance of 2018 fantasy drafts.
Active for all 16 games last season, Penny didn't reach double-digit offensive snaps in a game until the final three contests, when he accounted for most of his production. Overall, he turned 31 carries into 124 yards and two touchdowns while corralling four of six targets for 38 yards. With David Johnson returning to full health, Penny will be little more than an insurance policy within the Cardinals backfield.
Primarily a special-teams contributor for most of the season, Penny become more involved in the offense after Adrian Peterson injured his neck in Week 13. From that point forward, he earned 67 of his 96 offensive snaps for the year, during which he recorded all but one of his rushes and receptions apiece. Working behind veritable workhorse Kerwynn Williams, Penny was used as a short-yardage specialist, yet he still averaged 4.0 YPC in his first stint as a pro. Penny is an exclusive-rights free agent in the offseason, so if the Cardinals opt to offer him a tender, he'll likely have to earn his way onto the 53-man roster with David Johnson (wrist) and 2017 fifth-round pick T.J. Logan (wrist) back to full health and Williams likely around due to his passable spell as the lead runner.
In Kerwynn Williams' (quad/ribs) first two starts, Penny had a minimal role as a short-yardage back. That said, over the last two games, Penny's workload has increased, resulting in 10 touches for 41.5 yards from scrimmage per outing. Williams remains the No. 1 option out of the backfield, but Penny seemingly has carved out a modest snap count of late.
Penny (hand/groin) remained limited at Friday's practice and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game in Seattle, Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times reports.
Penny never got the chance to build on his 10-carry, 45-yard performance in Week 15 against Washington, as Kerwynn Williams (quadriceps/ribs) managed to play in last week's 23-0 win over the Giants. Both running backs seem to be on track for the regular-season finale, likely relegating Penny to his usual role as a short-yardage specialist and occasional early down replacement. D.J. Foster handles most of the receiving work out of the backfield.
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|