Second-guessing the Seahawks’ QB plan with Jackson, Pryor

Aug 22, 2014, 10:19 AM | Updated: 10:42 am
Seattle is missing out on an opportunity to evaluate quarterback Terrelle Pryor in tonight’s ...
Seattle is missing out on an opportunity to evaluate quarterback Terrelle Pryor in tonight's preseason game. (AP)
(AP)

Tarvaris Jackson is expected to be the second Seahawks quarterback in tonight’s preseason game against the Bears.

That’s too bad. He’s the last quarterback Seattle needs to see.

That has nothing to do with Jackson, a proven and trusted veteran, and everything to do with the need for a further evaluation of Terrelle Pryor, the fourth-year quarterback the Seahawks acquired in a trade, someone who is tall, talented and intriguing but also inconsistent.

Halfway through this preseason, do you know if Pryor’s promise is enough to warrant one of the 53 spots on Seattle’s regular-season roster let alone whether he’s trustworthy enough to serve as the backup behind starter Russell Wilson?

Now, the fact that the viability of a potential No. 3 quarterback tops the list of concerns entering the most important preseason game is a sign of how very good the Seahawks have had it this August. That doesn’t make it any less intriguing of a discussion.

Jackson is the kind of backup quarterback most teams would dream of. He’s got plenty of experience, a career record of .500 as an NFL starter and seven years working with Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell going back to their five seasons in Minnesota.

All that history is the reason why putting him on the field tonight against Chicago is almost pointless. Wilson is expected to play the entire first half alongside the starters, and maybe even into the third quarter. That leaves Jackson a few series to show exactly what we already know about him.

He’s not a young player who could use the experience. Frankly, he’s also not going to show something in that quarter and a half that will change anyone’s mind about his viability as a starter. Jackson is what he is at this point: an above-average backup quarterback whose experience in this offense makes him especially valuable in Seattle.

With Pryor, on the other hand, there’s still a lot to learn about. He’s got every physical tool you’d want in a quarterback from height to speed to arm strength. He’s also got three years of playing for the single most inept franchise in the NFL over the past decade, a Raiders organization so mired in dysfunction that it’s impossible to tell how much of Pryor’s shortcomings there were due to his decision making and how much it was due to the miserable circumstances of the team around him.

And through two preseason games, what do we know about Pryor? That he was talented enough to lead the team to within 3 yards of a game-winning touchdown in Denver, but rash enough to throw that opportunity away by attempting a pass on the run into triple coverage when he would have still had another down left had he thrown it away.

We also know that he’s fast enough to score on a 44-yard keeper last week against San Diego, showing the kind of speed that coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks covet. We also know the game was already so out of hand by the time Pryor came in to close out the first half that he attempted all of four passes.

The Seahawks need more information on Pryor, and they have more time. That’s what makes it difficult to understand why Jackson would be the second quarterback to enter tonight’s preseason game. The Seahawks have got all the information they would ever need about Jackson, and there’s still so much to learn about Pryor in deciding where he sits on the team’s pecking order at quarterback.

That’s not just true regarding the competition to be Wilson’s backup but whether Pryor is intriguing enough to warrant carrying three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. Seattle has done that before under Carroll, keeping undrafted rookie Josh Portis aboard in 2011. The Seahawks added a third quarterback during the regular season last year, claiming B.J. Daniels off waivers after San Francisco let him go.

It’s the chance to learn more about Pryor that makes it puzzling that Seattle wouldn’t spend more time doing so.

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Second-guessing the Seahawks’ QB plan with Jackson, Pryor