So, we've signed a starting quarterback with two starts under his belt who doesn't fit Pete's "mobile point guard" profile all that well, and NOW it's a good offseason?
It's nice when your thoughts organize themselves into convenient categories. My reaction to Seattle's signing of Matt Flynn is threefold. In brief: He's far from a bust-in-waiting. Still, it's a little surprising...and a little revealing...how much excitement has been generated in Seattle by a 7th-round QB who has flashed success in very limited starting experience in the NFL's most efficient offense. Harsh way to put it? Sure. But not untrue, and not irrelevant.
I'll elaborate on Flynn later. First I want to talk about how his arrival affects our incumbent quarterback, Tarvaris Jackson.
I'm the last person to suggest that our QB situation last year was ideal. I know exactly what we have in Tarvaris Jackson: a "bridge QB" with glaring holes in his game who will probably never survive in the playoffs. And towards the end of the year as Jackson experienced a solid stretch as a "game manager", a lot of folks seemed content with that and gave Jackson credit for what he had accomplished. It's a rebuild, we said. We'll get there.
Then free agency came around, and the scent of new possibilities seemed to trigger all kinds of panting amongst the fan base.
Suddenly, people were poking their head into every musty, cobwebbed quarterback cupboard they could possibly think of. And not just Flynn or The Peyton. I was seeing names like Kyle Orton, Alex Smith(?), Donovan McNabb(?!), Chad Henne(?!?), David Garrard(?!?!), Matt Leinart(?!?!?!?!!!!), Brady Quinn(!!!!!!!!!!!!11!11), and John Skelton(*implode*). If you wanted to know how many QB's there were on the market, skip your usual habit of Googling "2012 free agent QBs"...you could just trip on over to any Seahawks fan forum and you'll find a thread pushing each one. Easy list for ya.
And don't forget the long trail of potentially maybe eventually released quarterbacks that the Peyton Manning odyssey left in its wake. C'mon back, Matt Hasselbeck! Try again, Kevin Kolb! Welcome to secular Seattle, Tim Tebow! I half expected to see some rumor of Peyton dislodging his own brother into the free-agent winds. And every one of them was suggested for a Seahawks uniform by one of my 12th Man brethren.
This reeked of desperation to me. It certainly ran deeper than just a desire for "competition". Some folks were honest enough to admit why their QB search was so intense. They didn't really care whether the newly signed QB is no better, they just couldn't stand another minute of Tarvaris Jackson. It was pretty much assumed at that point - and still is - that it can't get any worse than Tarvaris, and that even a cursory attempt to bring in new blood must therefore be an automatic positive step.
I'm very glad that this sentiment was NOT one of the reasons that John Schneider signed Flynn. Change for the sake of change (let's call it what it is) doesn't sound like professional thinking, does it? I'd be pretty unsettled if the front office was throwing dollars around for lateral moves designed purely to keep our attitudes hopeful and our butts in the seats. This signing had better mean one of two things: a) Seattle expects Flynn to be significantly better than Tarvaris, or b) they expect Tarvaris to do significantly better in the presence of heated-up competition.
There will be a competition to ensure that one of those two things happens. Fine and good. But what bugs me is the near-automatic assumption that Jackson will lose said competition. People really do believe that it couldn't be worse than Tarvaris. That's not only bad analysis and bad perspective, it's a slap in the face to both Tarvaris and the front office who signed him. Suggesting that we bring in Matt Leinart to compete? That's almost as insulting as the childish nicknames going around ("T-Joke", T-Suck"). You'd really rather have an 8-10 starter with a piss-poor attitude and an inability to get a team behind him, than a 17-16 starter who's an established leader and warrior on the field?
But indeed, some folks were not only scrambling to find alternatives, they were pretty much taking it for granted that said alternatives would win the starting job from Jackson.
It's illogical. It's impatient. It's shortsighted. It's based on gaping assumptions. It's bad scouting. It's bad business. It's thinly disguised free agency boredom. It's not good reasoning. Tarvaris Jackson is NOT the worst starting quarterback in the league and may very well end up under center in August.
I AM NOT SAYING TARVARIS IS THE FUTURE OR THAT I EXPECT HIM TO BECOME A STARTING-CALIBER QB. Intangibles do not produce stardom and T-Jack is limited. I get it. I'm simply suspecting that some of you have never seen the play of Max Hall or Chad Henne or Colt McCoy. Some of these guys would love to have T-Jack's starting record. Most of the alternatives people have been pushing are no more experienced or accomplished than T-Jack. Some can't even earn the respect of a locker room. Donovan McNabb played for Minnesota without a hint of a spark. Nobody from Arizona is going to improve on 7-9.
Or would you really would prefer Caleb Hanie's 3 TD's to 9 INT's?
Or paying two second rounders for Kevin Kolb instead of a relatively paltry $4 million a year?
Or that "clown" Ryan Mallett, whose mere rumors of immaturity turned some of you off?
Or how about this...we could not only be starting the 6-15 Colt McCoy, but sitting here fearful that the front office might actually believe in him as a QBOTF.
We don't need to be satisfied with Jackson as a starter, and we should continue looking for an upgrade. But saying stuff like "Even the CFL has better starters than Jackson"? No, I'm not on board with that. This calls for some perspective. We could have it a LOT worse than we do.
Far from being useless, T-Jack is one of the best backups in the league. He is a leader, hard worker, tough sportsman, focused professional, and role model and mentor for younger players. He has avoided any number of embarrassing pitfalls - griping about his small contract, taking public potshots at uneven teammates, being glimpsed flailing his arms and losing his temper on the sidelines. Not a whiff of that. He hunkered down and played the man, made the best of what he had. Before the press, on the field, and in the locker room, he has commanded the players' respect and exhibited all the poise, humility, determination, self-accountability, forward thinking, and physical self-sacrifice of Matt Hasselbeck.
Coming from a Seahawks fan, I think that's high praise indeed. And all that while knowing that he was just a band-aid in the team's eyes.
Tarvaris Jackson deserves more respect than "Nah, let's bring in Brady Quinn". Enough with the nicknames, the insulting mis-analysis, and the smug calls to cut him now that we've signed Matt Flynn. Cut a backup who can manage his way to 7 wins? Do you have any idea how many teams would kill for such a backup? This is me calling out the 12th Man and asking for some class in Seattle. Some of you sound like Philly fans. (That's not a compliment.) It's bad enough that every ESPN talking head was labeling every free agent QB a "fit" in Seattle just because they were a QB. You actually know Pete Carroll, know his philosophy, know his reasoning and his vision. You should know better.
If you'd simply rather have someone, anyone other than Tarvaris, I submit that you don't know what true suck looks like. Perhaps you can find a Miami fan to enlighten you.