The Seahawks QB Question


I was in the process of responding to the 5 comments from my gut reaction post yesterday, and decided that this topic was big enough to warrant it’s own post. I’ll be addressing the Brandon Browner situation at some point this week as well, because clearly that topic needs to addressed still.

Let me start off by saying that, after yesterday, I’m ready for the Seahawks to make a change at QB. Yes, I know that they won, but after watching the game again on my DVR, I believe they won in spite of Tarvaris Jackson, and not because of him.

Now, I’m not one who usually put the success or failures of a team on the QB. I know better. Too much is not under the QB’s control. The game plan, play calling, blocking, running game, and receivers have as much or more to do with a team’s success that the QB does. I supported John Kitna when everyone wanted his head. I supported Matt Hasselbeck. I’ve even supported Jackson until now. So when I say that Jackson shouldn’t be the team’s starter, it means something.

First, let’s look at Jackson’s stat line:

This week183158.1%1715.5
This week01460.043.8

I had to break up the table to make it fit, in case you were wondering why it’s like that.  Before I go into exactly why I think this means that the Seahawks should make a QB change, lets first put those numbers in the context of the rest of the league. Note that these ranks are out of 32:

NFL Rank3030T262827

As you can see, Jackson ranks in the bottom 6 in every one of these categories. So for whatever the reason, he’s just not getting the job done. The opponents should also be taken into consideration here. The 49ers are not a good football team in any aspect of the game. The Steelers have been called “old and slow” a number of times, and just gave up a pile of yard to a sans-manning Colts team that’s looked dreadfully bad. The Cardinals have arguably the worst pass defense in all the NFL.

One thing that most NFL fans don’t realize is that sacks are as much on the QB as they are a problem with the offensive line. Let me explain. There are 3 reason for this:

  1. The QB is responsible for making adjustments to the protection pre-snap. It is his responsibility to slide the protection, or change it altogether, to make sure that all possible pass rushers are accounted for.
  2. Audibles and hot routes. If the play that has been called is doomed to fail because of the defense, then change the play. I know we’ve been spoiled the last few years having Hasselbeck and his knowledge of the game making these changes, and that we shouldn’t necessarily expect the same from Jackson, but that doesn’t mean he has no control over things.
  3. This one is the most important: Throw the damn ball! The QBs around the league that get sacked the least aren’t usually the ones with the best O-lines. They’re the ones who don’t hold on to the ball and let the pass rush get to them.

It’s this last one that is really plaguing Jackson and the Seahawks. I went back and looked at all 14 sacks Jackson has taken this year, and on 8 of them, he had time to get rid of the football. If no one is open, then throw the ball away. That’s what good quarterbacks do.

This is part of the reason why Jackson NFL QB Rating and Completion % are over-inflated. Rather than throw the ball away and hurt his individual stats, Jackson is hanging on to the ball, taking the sack, and hurting the team. I have no idea if he’s doing it on purpose or not like Rob Johnson used to, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is hurting the team by not throwing the ball.

I could go on and on about this, but this article is already long enough. I’ll end this by addressing one of the points that Jackson’s supporters have been using for the past 24 hours, I’m referring to the “Charlie Whitehurst doesn’t score that TD” argument. And while that true, neither Whitehurst nor all but 1-2 QBs in the league are capable of what Jackson did to get into the endzone there.

The problem with that argument is that it’s a false argument. Had Jackson done his job he wouldn’t have had to run the ball in at all. His primary receiver on that play was Mike Williams, who was open in the endzone.