– is it will give our current QB two HUGE red zone targets (Rice stands at 6′ 4″, MW at 6′ 5″), two guys with great hands, and two guys who can bail out a mediocre QB (see: Seahawks depth chart) with their high level of play. It could move Golden Tate to the slot, which should give him an opportunity for receptions in open space and to make something happen with his feet (as we saw at Notre Dame). Tate will need to work on route running to be an effective slot player, but it should at least create some exciting mismatches. Is it too much to see Rice -Williams as football’s new Fitzgerald-Boldin tandem? Possibly. But the potential is there.
The glaring problem I see this season, as I’m sure you all have noticed by now, is the starting quarterback. First: thank you management for having the audacity to part ways with Hasselbeck. I love the guy (how can you not for everything he did for this team) but it was time to cut ties. I raise my glass to Matt, and I’ll cheer for him and Locker in Tennessee, but it’s time for a new franchise signal caller on the Hawks.
Tarvaris Jackson was signed based on a prototype of who Carroll/ Bevell want to lead their offense. It’s no secret Carroll loves mobile quarterbacks with huge arms- guys who excel in play action and bootlegs, can scramble, elude tacklers, and make big throws. I’m a fan of those traits as well, but it doesn’t matter how many would-be sacks you shed if you can’t throw an accurate ball. Jackson was the best option at the position based on the prototype (and, I’m guessing, the price tag as well).
What’s odd to me is Carroll’s nearly immediate appointing of Jackson as the starter. I understand the importance of his experience in Bevell’s system, but it seemingly goes against Carroll’s very philosophy- always compete, let the best player play. Though I question his reasoning, I don’t question the decision; I think Jackson is the better quarterback. He offers superior versatility and better fits the Carroll/ Bevell mold. His experience will help the offense transition and his rapport with Rice should be beneficial as well.
Though it’s fun to see Jackson, Rice, Miller, and Gallery as Seahawks, it’s also important to note the front office’s devotion to youth. Despite the moniker rebuilding teams seem to herald- ‘build through the draft’- free agent signings have made the Seahawks much better than a week ago. We’ve locked up young players on extended deals, setting up the offense for success for years to come. Robert Gallery is the exception on offense, but his veteran savvy provides much needed leadership, experience, and mentorship on an offensive line starting two rookies at RT and RG, a semi-rookie because of injuries at LT, and a C who’s been looking for an identity on the line for three years.
The missing piece, the most important cog, however, is the quarterback. I would be utterly shocked if we don’t grab our guy in next year’s draft. We’ll be out of position to draft Andrew Luck, but Landry Jones and Matt Barkley (if he comes out) are in play, especially with a move up the draft board. Jackson and Whitehurst will suffice for a season. The offense has young playmakers at WR, RB, and TE and what looks to be a sublime offensive line for years to come. We’re set up perfectly to accommodate a drafted quarterback, while competing for a division title and playoff run in the mean time. I absolutely love it.
COMING SOON: Notes from preseason games, “Why the Hawks will win” series (every Saturday), and my new favorite game: “Predict an upset”