With the recent news that Russell Wilson is now a contender for the starting job, the QB situation in Seattle is becoming increasingly interesting. According to reports, Wilson had a tremendous minicamp and has catapulted himself into contention for the starting position. Do I think that this is likely to happen? No; however, I do think this is good news in general.
There are many who believe that an all-out competition between newly signed Matt Flynn, returning starter Tarvaris Jackson, and Wilson is just making a messy situation. On a lot of teams, this issue might create locker room drama that tears a team apart from within. But, ever since Pete Carroll came to Seattle, he has preached the sermon of competition. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can lose your spot at any time. Carroll and Schneider draft people with the mental ability to thrive in this type of situation. They have had great success so far. Undrafted receiver Doug Baldwin came in and became a top target for the team. Players are hungry, and if they lose that drive and their stats drop, someone else will take their place.
This brings me to Tarvaris Jackson. I realize that many people disagree with me, but I would never start Jackson another game, ever. I know he is a good guy. I know he wants to play well, gives it his all, and plays through injury. I just don’t think he has the ability to make good decisions. Jackson would pass when he should take a hit; get sacked when he should have thrown it out of bounds; fumble when the game was on the line. This breaks the back of any team. Too often, he looked like Chicken Little in the pocket and panicked. You can’t blame it on a new offensive scheme, he had the same OC. He’s also not a rookie. Before Sidney Rice got hurt, Jackson would force throws to Rice at the expense of open receivers and first downs. I just don’t believe that Jackson has the ability to reach the next level and continuing to start him would be detrimental to the team.
My ideal roster order for QBs would be Flynn, Wilson, Jackson/Portis. With the not-sizable, yet not-miniscule amount we are paying Flynn, it behooves the Seahawks to start him and see what he can do. He has shown flashes of greatness and we need to see if he can consistently do that for us. My gut tells me that he can and I can’t foresee any situation in camp where Jackson would crush Flynn in competition.
Wilson should be the #2 QB for two reasons. First, Seattle needs to establish QB lineage or at least a totally reliable backup (like Charlie Batch in Pittsburg). Seattle needs to avoid repeating the loss of a key element of the offense (i.e. Hasselbeck) and being left empty handed under center. Wilson has a lot of detractors, mostly because of his height, but it wouldn’t be the first time that the critics would be wrong. Secondly, Jackson is a free agent after this season. I cannot see any situation in which he is re-signed by the Seahawks. Therefore, he has maybe a little trade value right now and none in the future. If Wilson can develop behind Matt Flynn, Seattle can possibly trade him to another team for some draft picks a la the Seattle-San Diego trade that brought in Whitehurst. Focusing on developing Wilson as a #2 QB offers more benefits than watching Jackson throw a game away backing up Flynn. I’d rather lose a game and give Wilson experience, than lose a game because we wanted to see Jackson flail around aimlessly some more.
Hopefully, the quarterback competition settles a lot of these issues and Seattle can enter the season with a solid and foundationally sound offense. It’s hard not to see the potential for greatness when you look at the individual offensive components. The Seahawks need to solidify the critical element of QB and everything else should fit together.