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Moon: Veteran backup would still benefit Seahawks’ Russell Wilson

Warren Moon says the fact that Russell Wilson "knows a lot" will help if his backup QB is a rookie. (AP)
LISTEN: Warren Moon says Russell Wilson could use a veteran backup

There’s been little discussion needed about who will back up Seahawks QB Russell Wilson in 2016, since Wilson has never missed a start – or practice snap – during his four-year career. But for the first time, Wilson may be working during the season with an understudy who has less NFL experience than he does.

Tarvaris Jackson sat behind Wilson on Seattle’s depth chart for the past three seasons but remains a free agent despite head coach Pete Carroll saying during the offseason that there was interest in bringing him back. That was before Jackson found himself in hot water, though; he pleaded not guilty this week to a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon stemming from an alleged domestic dispute.

The Seahawks have had only one other primary backup QB during Wilson’s tenure besides Jackson, which was Matt Flynn in 2012. Flynn, the presumed starter at the time he was signed, was outplayed by the then-rookie from Wisconsin and traded the next season.

The current QB depth chart includes rookie Trevone Boykin, an athletic undrafted rookie from TCU, and Jake Heaps, the former Skyling High School star who also went undrafted out of BYU in 2015. Seattle reportedly put in a waiver claim for now-Chicago Bear Connor Shaw, and ESPN analyst Phil Savage has suggested that the Seahawks could consider bringing in Michael Vick.

NFL Hall of Famer and Seahawks color commentator Warren Moon said Tuesday to Gee Scott (filling in for John Clayton on 710 ESPN Seattle) that the prospect of an inexperienced backup, while not ideal, isn’t critical.

“It would be good if he had a guy behind him that had a little bit of experience, but Russell is really sharp and knows a lot,” Moon said. “But it’s always good for that backup quarterback to be able to tell him that he might not see. It would be a comfort zone, but it’s not necessary.”

Moon said he didn’t mind during his playing career whether he was backed by a veteran or younger quarterback, but noted he’d been in the league long enough that it didn’t matter by the time he was backed by a rookie.

“I think for Russell, he’s going to be good either way because he is at that point where he has complete control of this offense and he can also help a guy like Boykin behind him maybe be a better player,” he said. “But it would be good if there was a guy who did have a little bit of veteran experience who could at least tell him certain things at certain times on the field that maybe he’s not seeing.”

What may be even more important is settling on a center. After the rocky experiment with converted defensive lineman Drew Nowak, Seattle settled on Patrick Lewis at the end of last season. The Seahawks plan to try former right tackle Justin Britt in the spot in 2016. Moon said finding a rapport like Wilson had with former Seahawks center Max Unger would be beneficial.

“You want to have that comfort that that ball is going to be where it needs to be every time,” Moon said. “Especially going from the shotgun and underneath center. You want to make sure your center is making all the right calls so that responsibility doesn’t come back on you. Because you have enough things you have to look at.”