With Kyle Orton having been released by the Denver Broncos, speculation has run rampant about where he will finish the season. Most observers feel he is headed back to the Chicago Bears, where he began his career. Other possible destinations mentioned include Houston, Kansas City, Indianapolis and Tennessee. However, if they have the salary cap space, I would like to see the Seattle Seahawks make a claim on Orton.
This is not a slam on Tarvaris Jackson. I have nothing but respect for Jackson, but he should not be playing right now. If he had played for any other team, he would have been placed on injured reserve the day after he suffered a pectoral injury against the New York Giants. His injury is affecting his play, and the situation is getting worse.
The two interceptions Jackson threw against the St. Louis Rams were horrible throws. The defense didn’t do anything remarkable to create those turnovers. Jackson’s mechanics on both throws were awful. He looked like a 50 year old weekend warrior playing flag football. The injury is limiting his ability to throw downfield. It won’t be long until the Seahawks start seeing eight man boxes and press coverage on every play.
The injury also seems to be affecting his mobility. He took a couple of sacks against the Rams that any healthy quarterback, no matter how slow footed, would have easily avoided. He saw the defenders, but couldn’t do anything about it. The Seahawks were fortunate that they were playing the inept Rams. A better team would have buried the Seahawks early.
It’s obvious that the only way Head Coach Pete Carroll will play Charlie Whitehurst is if Jackson is completely incapacitated. Carroll certainly had the opportunity to switch quarterbacks last Sunday, and Whitehurst was in fact warming up on the sideline. Carroll felt that Jackson at around 50% health-wise was preferable to a 100% Whitehurst. That tells you all you need to know.
This is where Orton comes in. If the Seahawks claim him, he can be with the team and practice for almost three weeks in the same setting, as the team is about to embark on a rare three game home stand. He can watch on the sideline as the Seahawks face the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles game is on Thursday night, and the next game against the Rams isn’t until eleven days later on Monday Night Football. That would give Orton plenty of time to prepare for any playing time that should arise.
If Jackson’s health improves, then he should remain the starter, but I just don’t see that happening. I find it highly unlikely that he could play the rest of the season at an acceptable level. Whitehurst is not an option, and Josh Portis is an untested rookie. Having Orton would prevent Jackson from further injury and allow him to recuperate in time for next season.
Acquiring Orton would tell the team that management is committed to winning as many games as possible NOW. As unlikely as it seems, the Seahawks do have a chance at a wild card berth. The schedule is certainly in their favor. The Redskins have lost six in a row. The Eagles are floundering, and Michael Vick might miss the game against Seattle. The Rams are in complete disarray. Who knows how the Chicago Bears will react to the loss of Jay Cutler? The San Francisco 49ers might come in to Seattle on Christmas Eve with nothing to play for, and the Arizona Cardinals are not playing particularly well. An added bonus to claiming Orton would be preventing him from returning to the Bears, who would be one of the main wild card competitors.
Tarvaris Jackson has been a warrior, but his health is not improving. Kyle Orton would provide a solid, if not spectacular, replacement as the Seahawks enter the final few weeks of the season. This is an opportunity the team should not pass up.