RENTON – Pete Carroll has done his best to provide support for quarterbck Tarvaris Jackson, including a major confidence boost by anointing him the starter before he even took a practice snap with his new team.
So it’s no surprise that when asked if Jackson could be Seattle’s quarterback of the future, the Seahawks coach agreed.
“I’m looking at it that way, yeah,” Carroll said. “I think I’m probably more appreciative than (reporters) at this time because we haven’t won enough games to make you excited about it. But I’m seeing the things that he’s able to do that gives us a chance to run an offense like we like to run it and he’s added to what we thought we could do by growing with him and learning about it.
“We’ve got a lot of games now. Hopefully we can keep him going and keep him healthy until we really get a great gauge on him, but he’s got a lot of games to prove it and show his value. I don’t see any reason not to think that he can’t make a lot of stuff happen over a long period of time.”
What else is Carroll supposed to say, right? He has to publicly support his starting quarterback. As always, when dealing with Carroll you have to read between the lines.
The Seahawks signed Jackson to a two-year, $8 million deal because they thought he fit the characteristics Carroll desired in a quarterback – a youngish, smart, mobile athlete with a strong arm, toughness and good leadership skills who has some gas left in the tank.
So far Jackson, 28, has met expectations, throwing for 1,335 yards, completing 61 percent of his passes and totaling six touchdowns and six interceptions. He has a 78.5 passer rating. He missed one game because of a strained pectoral muscle, but showed toughness by returning to play three weeks later.
But with the team at 2-5, decent statistics aren’t adding up to wins, something Jackson understands when asked to evaluate his performance.
“We’re a 2-5 team,” Jackson said. “So the quarterback’s job is to help the team win as much as possible. We still have got a lot of work to do, so 2-5 is failing. So I guess I’ve got an F so far right now. But we’re getting better. We’re growing .And I’m feeling more and more comfortable each week.”
Aa decade earlier the Seahawks traded for a young Matt Hasselbeck. Similar to Jackson, at 25 years old he had his share of growing pains. But he developed into a Pro Bowl-caliber signal-caller.
And if you’re looking for a more recent example, the Buffalo Bills eschewed drafting a franchise quarterback with the team’s No 3 overall pick this year after finishing 4-12 last year.
Instead, the Bills selected defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and stuck with 28-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The strategy worked. Buffalo is tied for the AFC East lead with New England at 5-2 and has one of the top scoring offenses in the league. Fitzpatrick recently signed a six-year, $59 million extension with the Bills as the team’s franchise QB.
Of course, the Seahawks are not putting all of their eggs in one basket. Seattle strongly considered drafting Andy Dalton at No. 25 overall in this year’s draft, but instead decided to improve the talent along the offensive line by selecting James Carpenter.
But even with Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst and Josh Portis on the team, expect the Seahawks to take another quarterback early in next year’s draft. That’s how Seattle personnel guru, general manager John Schneider, was schooled during his time in Green Bay – make the quarterback position as competitive as possible.
“The two most important people in the building are the head coach and the quarterback,” Schneider said. “So we evaluate quarterbacks every single year. But I do know this: If you panic and do the wrong thing in terms of evaluating the quarterback, then you can really set the organization back.”
Former Seattle quarterback Warren Moon said he believes the Seahawks have more talent this year than last year’s 7-9 playoff squad, and it’s just a matter of giving them time to grow together. And Jackson could be part of that future equation.
“The talent level that is here right now, to me, is really good, and has a chance to be really special,” Moon said. “And Tarvaris, given the time with these guys, he’s got a chance to be a guy that they can look to for a longer period of time. The jury’s still out on that. But from what I’ve seen from him over the last three or four games that he’s played, his numbers have been really good. Now it’s just a matter of making those numbers wins, and that comes with having these guys playing together.”
Count Carroll as a Jackson believer; the quarterback has nine games to prove it to everybody else.
“The natural stuff is there,” Carroll said. “The competitiveness is there, a terrific arm is there, a sense for our offense and what we’re doing – all of those things are very positive. Now we need to see it be translated into winning.
“But by no means would I ever, ever put it on one guy and say the quarterback is why you win. Maybe there are other people that think that way, but I don’t. … I’m not voting him into the Hall of Fame or anything. I’m not trying to lead you that way. I’m just excited about what he brings us and that he can make things happen, that he can make the big plays.”
Seattle receiver Sidney Rice missed practice Thursday with a foot injury. Rice fully participated in practice the day before. Not practicing for the second straight day were tight end Cameron Morrah (toe/knee) and defensive tackle Alan Branch (knee/hip). Receiver Mike Williams (hamstring) and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) were limited participants. And linebacker Leroy Hill (knee) and safety Kam Chancellor (knee) returned to practice on Thursday after sitting out on Wednesday. … For Dallas, cornerback Mike Jenkins (hamstring), running back Felix Jones (ankle) and linebacker Sean Lee (wrist) did not practice for a second straight day. Punter Matt McBriar (left foot) and offensive lineman Kyle Kosier (foot) were limited participants, and quarterback Tony Romo (ribs) was a full participant in practice.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks
Seattle at Dallas, 10 a.m., Ch. 13, 710-AM, 97.3-FM as newcomers go, tarvaris tops
A comparison of Tarvaris Jackson (Seattle), Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo) in their first six games with new teams:
Tarvaris Jackson (2011)12019760.91,335662078.5
Matt Hasselbeck (2001)8014953.7945352465.6
Ryan Fitzpatrick (2009)8114555.9967471765.5