Seattle Seahawks: Ranking Potential Starting Quarterbacks
In one corner, we have incumbent starter, Tarvaris Jackson, coming off a career year in which he threw more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (13).
In the opposite corner sits the two-hit wonder, Matt Flynn, hoping to eliminate all comparisons to Kevin Kolb and other quarterback busts.
And, in a surprising third corner, we have... Russell Wilson?
That's right, expect the 5'10" (and a half) phenom from Wisconsin to pursue the starting job with everything he has.
In this article, we're going to rank each of these three quarterbacks in various areas, eventually predicting the 2012 starter through expert fan analysis (because fans are never wrong!).
Side note: To fans of Josh Portis, I apologize. His age, inexperience and lack of credibility with the organization remove him from starter contention. Please, comment if you disagree.
Without further ado, let's do some ranking and analyze the quest for the starting quarterback job.
1. Tarvaris Jackson—Jackson, simply put, has a cannon. As demonstrated by his bombs to Sidney Rice and Ricardo Lockette in 2011, as well as his rifle passes over the middle on multiple occasions, T-Jack can zip the ball along with the best in the NFL.
2. Russell Wilson—At Wisconsin, Wilson made many plays of 60-plus yards to his No. 1 receiver Nick Toon (not including yards after catch). With NFL weight training and even more coaching, it is very possible that Wilson moves to No. 1 on this list. But since he is still an unproven college prospect, he is second on this list.
3. Matt Flynn—The main knock on Flynn is arm strength. Don't assume this speaks of the length he can throw the ball; rather, this ranking refers to the velocity with which the ball gets from point A to point B. In his two starts, he struggled to make throws that require a good amount of zip on the ball, such as deep out routes and comeback routes. It remains to be seen whether he can remedy this issue, or if he will focus on accuracy to compensate for his lack of arm strength.
1. Matt Flynn—In his two starts as well as numerous preseason games, Flynn has shown accuracy on a plethora of passes. Deep bombs to Jordy Nelson, quick slants to multiple receivers and over-the-middle throws into tight holes were all executed quite well. This consistency bodes well for receivers like Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, who with a well-placed ball can work miracles after the catch.
2. Russell Wilson—At Wisconsin, with the bulkier college ball, Wilson could hit receivers in stride, throw receivers open and throw on the run with unprecedented accuracy. Again, his ranking is a result of his lack of NFL experience. Until he can prove that his accuracy does not fluctuate with the faster pace of the NFL, he will be second to Flynn.
3. Tarvaris Jackson—Jackson is an erratic thrower, to say the least. At times he can fit the ball into seemingly impossible holes, and at other times he cannot hit the broad side of a barn. Because of his wild inconsistency with throwing, he nets the third spot on this list.
1. Russell Wilson—Hands down, Russell Wilson is an athlete. He ran the second fastest 40-yard dash among quarterbacks at the combine (behind RGIII) and made countless plays outside the pocket in college, extending plays with his quick legs. That athleticism will not disappear in the NFL.
2. Tarvaris Jackson—When Jackson actually got outside the pocket in 2011, he was able to extend plays and occasionally scramble for some positive yards. He even got a nice rushing touchdown in Week 3 against Arizona. Unfortunately, this athleticism has gotten Jackson accustomed to holding the ball for too long, often resulting in untimely sacks.
3. Matt Flynn—This ranking could improve. Flynn is decently mobile, but he has yet to prove that he is athletic enough to consistently make plays outside the pocket. Time will tell if this will come to bite Flynn in the behind.
1. Matt Flynn—In studying film of Flynn's preseason and regular season performances, one thing is clear: This kid knows how to read defenses. Four years of tutelage under Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy has not gone to waste. Flynn analyzes which throws he will be making and is not afraid to check down if all else fails. Flynn's mind could in fact be his greatest asset.
2. Russell Wilson—It's hard to argue against Wilson in this area, as he threw only four interceptions in all of the 2011 season. Despite his height, Wilson makes good reads and knows fairly quickly where one-on-one coverage will be. Wilson can be too trusting of his receivers, as he would occasionally throw into obvious double-coverage situations. He can also break the pocket too hastily, a habit that will need to be coached out in the NFL.
3. Tarvaris Jackson—Jackson epitomizes poor decision-making. Numerous forced throws, inability to read defenses pre-snap and hanging onto the ball too long all plummet Jackson to the bottom of this ranking.
1. Matt Flynn—In two regular season starts, Flynn has drastically improved his pocket presence. At New England, Flynn commanded the pocket decently well but faltered near the end of the game. At home versus the Lions, he effectively managed the tempo and was able to pull of an excellent game-winning fourth-quarter drive. If he displays the same traits during his Seattle tenure, the Seahawks have a bright future.
2. Tarvaris Jackson—I begrudgingly bestow Jackson with the second spot here, because he truly does not play the pocket well. He takes too many sacks instead of throwing the ball away, and he does not step up effectively. Still, when he is in the zone, so to speak, he can command tempo at a formidable rate.
3. Russell Wilson—Wilson bottoms out this list because, quite simply, he breaks the pocket too much. In the NFL, this will lead to more sacks and interceptions as opposed to miraculous breakdowns in coverage. Wilson will need to focus more on his snaps under center and quick throws, which I believe he is absolutely capable of.
So Who Will Start?
So who will start in 2012 for the Seahawks?
Based on the evaluations in this article, it is absolutely Matt Flynn. What he lacks in pure throw power he makes up for in accuracy, brains and pocket poise.
Russell Wilson will most likely fill the No. 2 spot on the roster, similar to what Seneca Wallace did with Matt Hasselbeck (except Wilson is 1,000,000-times smarter than Wallace). This means poor old T-Jack drops into third on the depth chart, which would make this fan rather happy.
Agree? Disagree? Tell me how wrong I am in the comments!