Tarvaris Jackson: There Was a 3-Way Quarterback Competition in Seattle

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Tarvaris Jackson: There Was a 3-Way Quarterback Competition in Seattle
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While it is hard to really call this news, reports have surfaced that the Seattle Seahawks are looking to trade Tarvaris Jackson. Reduced work in practice and exclusion from the preseason games are leaving some questioning if he is part of the three-way quarterback battle or if the team is simply holding onto him for a potential trade.

Jackson is, or was, part of the competition at quarterback—just not in the way most people thought.

The Seahawks knew they needed to upgrade the quarterback position in 2012. The lack of an offseason in 2011 and the limited free agent options pushed the Seahawks into a corner. 

Matt Flynn was the quarterback they really wanted to acquire last year, but unlike the Philadelphia Eagles, who couldn't trade Kevin Kolb fast enough, the Green Bay Packers weren't going to trade their backup.

The Packers saw Flynn as a good enough quarterback to lead their team in the playoffs should Aaron Rodgers get hurt. The Eagles either didn't realize the importance of a backup for Vick or didn't have faith in Kolb.

The latter seems more likely, as these two situations are telling of how the two teams really saw their backup quarterback.

Jackson was the best option available last August. He followed offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to Seattle from Minnesota and already knew the offense.

Fast forward to 2012 and the Seahawks signed Matt Flynn as a free agent and drafted Russell Wilson in the third round. A solid rookie camp from RW3 thrust him into the quarterback battle, with most fans and analysts envisioning the quarterback competition as a three-way race for the starting job.

That wasn't quite the case.

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Certainly, if Jackson showed up in camp and looked like a more confident quarterback that was making faster reads and decisions then he would have been considered for the starting spot. But that wasn't expected to happen, and it didn't.

The battle for starting quarterback quickly became Flynn against himself, with RW3 having a slim chance to unseat him.

The other QB battle was Jackson and Wilson battling for the backup job—RW3 is winning.

So far Flynn has responded well. He'll take the first-team reps again when the team arrives in Denver this weekend, with RW3 working the second half.

Jackson might take a series or two, but that would mostly be to showcase him for an interested team. More likely, he'll be on the sidelines so as not to risk injury to a player that could have some trade value. 

When asked about the three-way competition, Carroll did say Jackson was still in the mix. He didn't state for what role, though.

Yes, absolutely he is. Really, this is just the way I’ve chose to do it. I’m banking on the 18 games we’ve seen him. He knows the offense; he knows what is going on.

He’ll be involved throughout. But I want to make sure he gets a good solid day of work (with the first-team on Tuesday) before we get into the week’s game plan, so that Matt and Russell can have their best chance to show. Tarvaris has played a lot of football for us, so we have to give somewhere — so we’re giving that.

We understand the kind of player he is. He’s in great shape, he’s studied hard, he’s ready to go. So we’re just banking that he’ll be able to hold in his level of play without the two weeks of playing time in playing in the games. If he gets in the game, he does — I don’t know how that is going to work yet. The emphasis right now is to get Matt and Russell, their play time again, so we can really get another big body of knowledge of information for them.

Meanwhile, the trade rumors for Jackson continue to swirl.

Some scoff at the idea of Jackson being trade-worthy, particularly with a $4 million contract in 2012. While the cap hit will keep teams from jumping too quickly, Jackson would be one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL.

He isn't likely to step in and win a bunch of games if a starter (Mike Vick) misses a few weeks, but he won't lose a team any (Vince Young), either.

The Eagles learned the value of a backup quarterback after dealing Kolb. They missed the playoffs by one game last season, with Young playing poorly in the three games Vick missed.

Jackson will keep an offense afloat and give a team a chance to win, which is exactly what should be expected from a reserve.

Then again, Jackson had a better season than 10 other teams received from their quarterback in 2011. He completed over 60 percent of his passes, had more touchdowns than interceptions (by one, but it was still more) and posted a 7-7 record as a starter. 

The big area of concern for Jackson was his inability to rally the team for a fourth quarter comeback...he was 0-6. But Sidney Rice was on the shelf for almost half the season, leaving Jackson without a big-time receiver to help him out.

Jackson was given an opportunity to make the Seahawks' roster in 2012, but Matt Flynn and RW3 have played better. If both players perform as well in Denver as they did in the season opener against the Tennessee Titans (23-29, 1 TD, 2 INTs), Jackson will be gone as soon as a team is willing to send a late-round draft pick for him...or August 31st, whichever comes first.

 

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