Tyler Thigpen, Josh Portis and other No. 2 QB options
By Brady Henderson
The Seahawks’ search for a backup quarterback following the trade of Matt Flynn to Oakland was among the topics discussed when general manager John Schneider joined “Bob and Groz” this week.
Co-host Bob Stelton asked about the appeal of filling that role with a veteran. He contended that none of the available options – Vince Young and Brady Quinn were the two names he mentioned – come with the same comfort level as Flynn, whom the team considered a starting-caliber quarterback.
Reports suggest Tyler Thigpen is a consideration for the Seahawks, who are in search of a backup quarterback after trading Matt Flynn. (AP)
“I think maybe just purely from a perception standpoint you may not have that because of the names you’re reading about in terms of the veterans, but there’s several guys out there that we know we could play with and win with,” Schneider said.
Tyler Thigpen has been mentioned as an option by ESPN’s John Clayton and Chris Mortensen as well as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. La Canfora tweeted earlier this week that “everything still points to Tyler Thigpen visiting and signing there soon enough.”
Thigpen, 28, spent the last two seasons as the Bills’ backup. He started 11 games for the Chiefs in 2008, completing 54.8 percent of his passes with 18 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 76.0 QB rating that year. He’s made one other start during his seven-year career.
Thigpen’s mobility might carry extra appeal. The Seahawks became even more dangerous later in the season as they implemented zone-read plays into their offense. Coach Pete Carroll has acknowledged the benefit of having a backup who could run such plays should starter Russell Wilson go down. Thigpen has a 5.9 yards-per-carry average and three career rushing touchdowns.
Something else to keep in mind: Thigpen’s age, credentials and career trajectory would suggest he probably doesn’t consider himself an up-and-coming starting quarterback the way Flynn did a year ago. That might be important. While the Seahawks preach competition and valued the luxury of having what they considered two starting-caliber quarterbacks with Wilson and Flynn, perhaps they’d feel better about someone who’s more content with his role as a backup.
Flynn “was not a guy that helped Russell. He was not a guy that was into those Tuesday meetings. And rightfully so, he wanted that job very badly,” Brock Huard contended during a discussion with his brother Damon and ESPN.com’s Mike Sando in February.
Josh Portis is back in the fold after signing a two-year deal with the Seahawks, a move that was announced Wednesday. Portis, 25, was the team’s third quarterback in 2011 and was on Seattle’s practice squad last season before his release in late November.
Portis has athleticism, a rocket arm and familiarity with the Seahawks’ offense. He hasn’t appeared in a regular-season game, however, so his signing likely won’t preclude another addition.
Mortensen also believes USC product and former first-round pick Matt Leinart is a consideration. Leinart, 29, has made two starts over the last five seasons.
“We have a plan in place. It’s just not going to develop overnight; you have to take it day by day,” Schneider said. “I say that, [but] we might do something at the end of the week, we might do something tomorrow, I don’t know. I can’t tell you exactly when it’s going to happen. It could be in the draft as well.
“We have a plan and parameters for that plan, so we’re just going to stick to it and plug along.”
The video below includes additional thoughts from Stelton and Dave Wyman about what the Seahawks might look for in a backup quarterback.
You can listen to Wednesday’s show here.