We used to be in there, now we’re out here
A day after we said the Seahawks won’t win in the playoffs with Tarvaris Jackson, Pete Carroll reiterated what was already clear: Jackson enters next year as the starter, but the Hawks will be on the lookout for another guy.
“We know where we are with that,” Carroll told reporters, not needing to remind everyone that Jackson is signed for only one more season. “Now, that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to look at the draft really hard and all the opportunities.”
Since Carroll mentioned it, what are the possible “opportunities” to upgrade the position?
The Hawks will be in the middle third of the draft, which might be too deep for a first-round quarterback. There are only four who are considered that caliber, and as many as five teams drafting ahead of Seattle might want to take them.
Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will be gone in the top five, and Landry Jones and Ryan Tannehill could go in the top 10 despite being rated in the 20s. Cleveland, Miami, Washington and Kansas City are all candidates to take quarterbacks after Luck goes first overall.
Tannehill could be a great option for the Seahawks if he’s there for them. The big, athletic QB was coached by Mike Sherman, a former assistant under Mike Holmgren who also coached the Packers for six years. So, Tannehill knows NFL offenses and probably could step right in as a rookie if Jackson were injured or made the same kinds of mistakes he did at times this year.
If the draft doesn’t provide “opportunities,” the only other long-term possibility would seem to be Matt Flynn. The Packers picked him in the seventh round in 2008, when John Schneider was still in Green Bay, so Schneider knows all about him. That connection could lead to a reunion if Schneider thinks Aaron Rodgers’ backup could follow in the footsteps of Brett Favre’s former backup, Matt Hasselbeck. Of course, the Hawks probably would have competition for Flynn, who is the latest young backup to garner interest as a starter (following guys like Kevin Kolb and Matt Schaub).
If the Hawks didn’t want/get Flynn or couldn’t draft a guy, there are no quarterbacks who would be appreciably better than Jackson next season. Kyle Orton would be the one guy worth checking out, but the Seahawks have had a couple of chances to pursue him and have not been interested.
Whether they bring in a rookie or not, the Hawks figure to go with Jackson next year.
Carroll and Jackson both talked about using this offseason to build the rapport in the passing game that was missing this year, when they basically had to start in training camp from a standstill and then had any development interrupted by injuries to Jackson, his linemen and his receivers.
In an online chat hosted by The Seattle Times, Jackson said, “As we grow as an offense, you’ll see pretty much everybody improving. You’ll see me improving and getting better. I just feel like, as a quarterback, you’re only as good as the guys around you. We have the guys in those positions to make those plays. We just have to be around each other a little bit more and get a better feel for each other. I feel like we will be a better and more explosive offense in the years to come.”
Carroll said, “If we put together an offseason and a nice camp again, with familiarity with the guys and everything about the system, with a commitment with the running game, we know [Jackson] can function with our football team.
“But,” Carroll repeated, “we’re going to always keep working to make it [as] competitive as we can at every position, and his is no different.”
Jackson said he understands “the business of the game. … If they do draft quarterback, I’ll make sure I’m the best teammate I can be.”
Carroll also addressed what we mentioned as one of Jackson’s big failings from this season: the inability to rally the Seahawks from behind late in games.
“I’d like to see him have the opportunity to win our games at the end when we need him to,” Carroll said. “We could have won three of our games on defense first if we stopped them. Then we put the offense in the situation where they had to come back to win it. So it’s both sides. It’s not just one guy or one aspect.
“But I’d like to see him come through and make some of those, take us down the field and win the game at the end. We’ve had a few chances, and we haven’t got that done.”
Carroll likes Jackson enough to give him a full year to show whether he can pull off those kinds of comebacks. But if he can’t, it’s obvious Carroll will be ready to replace him. And that’s all you can ask at this point.
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