By Dave Wyman
As an ex-linebacker, I don’t claim to be an expert on the finer points of quarterback play, but I can watch a game on TV and read the box scores with the best of them.
Jeff Foxworthy might put it this way: If you saw both Seahawks games this year and blame Tarvaris Jackson for the 0-2 start, you might be an amateur. If you read these statistics of Jackson’s first two games and think he should be replaced with backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, you might be an amateur.
Tarvaris Jackson has been sacked 10 times and hit an additional 16 times over two games. (AP)
These statistics don’t even begin to tell the story of T-Jack’s first two games as a Seahawk.
His completion percentage is at 62 percent. Mike Holmgren set the bar for that statistic at 65 percent for Matt Hasselbeck in order to have success in a pass-first offense. Tarvaris is two completions short of the Holmgren standard. I can think of two completions that should-have-been right off the top of my head — Marshawn Lynch on a swing route in San Francisco and Ben Obomanu on a third-down pass in Pittsburgh. Both passes were on target but dropped.
True, Jackson is responsible for all three of the team’s turnovers. However, his lone interception was a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half against the 49ers and both fumbles he lost because he was blindsided.
The quarterback hit
Don’t forget the quarterback hit statistic … I know T-Jack hasn’t. Not only has he been sacked 10 times, he’s been hit an additional 16 times — hard. Only Jay Cutler has been hit and sacked more often and the little punk deserves it! At this pace, those of you who want to see Charlie will get your wish because T-Jack will have checked himself into a hospital bed at Harborview.
There’s no running game
That’s an understatement. The Hawks are dead last in the NFL with 47.5 yards per game. Worse yet, T-Jack has run for a quarter of those yards. Seahawks running backs have run for just 70 yards in two games.
Former Seahawks quarterback Sam Adkins is an expert on quarterback play. He was the last Seahawk to wear the number 12 jersey and on the Seahawks pre- and post-game show; he has the last word on quarterback play. Sam looks and acts more like a defensive player (which is why I hang out with him), but he understands the quarterback position as well as anyone I know and has been coaching and studying quarterbacks since his retirement in 1981.
After Seattle was shutout 24-0, Sam talked to a caller on the post-game show about Tarvaris Jackson: “In the NFL, there are quarterbacks that you win with and quarterbacks that you win because of. Tarvaris Jackson is a quarterback the Seahawks can win with.”
Translation: T-Jack is probably not a franchise quarterback in the class of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers. Those are quarterbacks that you win because of. But T-Jack could be in the class of Mark Sanchez or Matt Cassel. Their job is to play like a point guard in basketball. Distribute the ball, don’t turn it over and make a play when you need to. Sam refers to these players as “game managers.” They’re quarterbacks you can win with.
The game manager
Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel was a perfect example of a game manager in the 2010 season. He only threw for 3,100 yards (less than 200 per game) but he also only threw seven interceptions and led his team to the playoffs. He didn’t have to do anything spectacular because the Chiefs had the best running game in the league and played good defense.
Without those things, you’re asking Jackson to be something that he never was, and was never expected to be. Ask yourself what you did expect from him. Besides, he’s being paid like a backup so you’ve got no complaint there (he’s being paid like our backup, anyway).
Is T-Jack the answer in Seattle? Maybe, maybe not. At some point, it may make sense to replace Jackson with Whitehurst. It would stand to reason that at this rate, Jackson may break down or his confidence may get shaken to the point where it affects his play. But do you still think the 0-2 start is Jackson’s fault?
If you answered yes, you might be an amateur.
The pick-six nightmare
I feel sorry for Aaron Curry. It’s not often that you say that about a guy that is worth millions of dollars and is living out a childhood dream playing professional football. But the interception he dropped in the second quarter against the Steelers will haunt him forever. With Curry’s speed, he could’ve easily out-raced Ben Roethlisberger to the end zone.
I know how he feels. My freshman year at Stanford, we played our first game against the Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette, Ind. In the fourth quarter, with the game well in hand, I came in to play some mop up duty at inside linebacker. We had the Boilermakers buried on their own 5 yard line when Purdue quarterback and future L.A. Rams quarterback Jim “don’t call me Chris” Everett threw a ball right into my hands. I could’ve walked into the end zone. Imagine that. My first play as a college linebacker could’ve been an interception for a touchdown.
When I lay awake at night thinking about my football career, It’s not the sacks or the interceptions that I think about — it’s the ones I didn’t make. I can still feel that ball bouncing off of my hands! Painful.