We talked to Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll this morning for the first time and he dropped this bomb on us – free agent pick-up Tarvaris Jackson will be the team’s starting quarterback for the team’s regular season opener at San Francisco.
So much for competition.
Carroll said because of the compressed time schedule and the fact that Jackson already know the passing game from is time with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell in Minnesota, Jackson gives the team the best chance to hit the ground running.
Also, Jackson is most familiar with Seattle’s lucrative, free agent addition Sidney Rice from their time together in Minnesota.
“If you can imagine, we’ll only have six days until we play our first game,” said Carroll, referring to the fact that free agents can’t practice until the league year begins on Thursday, something Carroll railed against at several point or our conversation today. “So I think from our mindset it’s a great sense of security that we have made this move like we have. Tarvaris has got a great future. He gets a brand new chance to play quarterback. A brand new situation, and one that we think we’re going to bring out the very best he has to offer.
“This entire program has always been about competition. It’s the central theme in this program. In this situation I think to make it the most competitive for our team, Tarvaris needs to be our starter right now. He comes in as a starter. He’s going to own that position until Charlie and the next couple fellas that are playing that spot get a chance to catch up.”
So without Jackson taking a practice snap, he comes in a Seattle’s quarterback. This appears to be the end of Whitehurst’s opportunity to become this team’s quarterback of the future.
The Seahawks swapped second round picks in 2010 and gave up a third rounder in this year’s draft to secure Whitehurst in a trade with San Diego. Whitehurst is due to make $4 million in non-guaranteed salary this year, if he’s on the team’s final, 53-man roster.
So has Carroll given up on Whitehurst? And in hindsight, did the Seahawks make a bad decision?
“In my mind nothing’s changed,” Carroll said. “This is just a competitive decision because of the time frame that we’re dealing with. It’s strictly that. This is not the purely competitive situation that I would like it to be. But the other side of that is, I think to compete for our team, this is the right thing to do, so that overrides the individual. Charlie, as soon as he can get caught up, then I could say, ‘Charlie, the competition is dead on. Let’s go and see where you sit with us.’ And he has a great advantage in this first week, and he’s recognized that. He’s getting all of the snaps. He’s getting all of the reps to try and catch up so he can compete, and command the offense the way we know Tarvaris can.
“But it will be somewhere down the road here. It might be a month from now. It might be two months from now, when Charlie really has ownership of it.”
And how did Whitehurst reaction to his demotion?
“He was awesome,” Carroll said. “I’ve been so straight with Charlie from the moment we’ve ever started talking. He knows what we’re talking about. He gets it. And he understands the competitive approach now is to take advantage of this opportunity while he gets all of the reps, while he gets all of the focus time to accelerate his process in learning all of this stuff.
“We’re not all that much different. There’s a lot of terminology that’s the same. But the bulk of the throwing game is where it’s so different. And conceptually things are called different; the protections aren’t quite the same. So all of that gets in the way of just the flow of a quarterback that is really commanding everything needs. So it’s just going to take some time.”
We talked to Jackson before Carroll made his announcement, so we don’t have reaction from him or Whitehurst on the announcement. I’ll have more later