When you look around the league, the one statistic that is up and thriving is quarterback hits. Sacks, pressures and hits … they’re all the same to a quarterback like Tarvaris Jackson. Whether you’re sacked, forced out of the pocket or hit as you throw the ball, it means not being able to throw the ball on rhythm or use the proper mechanics that you’ve been taught your entire career.
It’s not just a Seahawks’ problem this year and several factors out of T-Jack’s control have come together to create the perfect storm for Seattle.
The NFL lockout meant no OTAs (Organized Team Activities) or mini-camps. The number of repetitions missed because of this has been estimated at about 1,000. That’s 1,000 opportunities to fail, get beat, win a small battle, tweak your technique and learn from your mistakes. That’s a lot of opportunities to get better considering there are typically 60-65 offensive plays during a game.
Throw on top of that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that has cut the number of practices during training camp in half.
Defense wins early
True, on defense there are more rules that benefit the offense and things that you can and can’t do (mostly can’t).
• You can tackle the quarterback but you have to do so respectfully. If it’s Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, forget it.
• You can’t touch an offensive player’s head area even though they can straight-arm you in the face and shove you to the ground or lower their heads and try to knock you out.
• You have to wait until a receiver has the ball firmly in his grasp, is looking at you and utters the words, “OK, I’m ready to be tackled now.”
But I digress.
You can count on defenses getting up to speed faster than offenses around the league. Offensive players execute and defensive players react. There are lots of things that can go wrong on the offensive side of the ball especially early on. Alignment, snap count, motion, blocking assignments, etc. Every year you see defenses excel early on and this year is certainly no exception.
Coordinators gone wild
I don’t know what has gotten into defensive coordinators around the league, but they’re dialing up heat! The Chargers’ Greg Manusky rushed at least six almost every play. The Broncos brought safeties off the edge, ran their middle linebacker on a delayed blitz – as if unleashing Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller weren’t enough!
It makes Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who sent Marcus Trufant off the edge (15-yard sack of Kyle Orton), look conservative! I believe that this is also a byproduct of the lockout and the new CBA – coordinators don’t have the time they need to test their blitz packages in practice.
On top of that, the Seahawks have a new quarterback in Tarvaris Jackson, a new quarterback coach in Carl Smith, a new offensive line coach in Tom Cable, a new offensive coordinator in Darrell Bevell, and two rookie starting offensive linemen in James Carpenter and John Moffitt. Not to mention the fact that Robert Gallery is experienced but new in town, Max Unger played in one half of a game last year, and Russell Okung, the team’s most reliable offensive lineman when he’s healthy, is out.
This may sound crazy, but considering all of that, I’d say that Tarvaris Jackson has played exceptionally well. He avoided several sacks in the preseason opener against the Chargers, slipped away from Jared Allen last week and avoided two Von Miller sacks Saturday night against the Broncos.
If Golden Tate had caught the pass that was intercepted last week by Vikings defensive back Marcus Sherels, he’d have one less interception. He’s proven to be accurate when he has the time and his pass last week against the Vikings to Mike Williams while on the run, was right where it needed to be – up high where only the 6-foot-5 Williams could get it.
The “perfect storm” has descended on Tarvaris Jackson in Seattle, but considering all of those factors, I’d say the Hawks brought in the perfect quarterback to navigate the storm.