Tarvaris Jackson: Was He Really Given a Fair Chance by the Seahawks This Year?
With everything now settled, we can all move on with our lives...that's if we haven't done so already.
Yet at the risk of being unpopular, I've decided not to look the other way.
It's not that I'm here to defend Tarvaris Jackson's abilities as a quarterback so much as I'm here to question whether or not he was given a fair chance to keep his job.
Just so we're all clear, Jackson did not make life easy for himself based on his performance last season. At times he was good, but never great, and his track record in crunch time was less than stellar to put it mildly. At the end of the day you either respected him for his efforts while playing most of the season hurt, or loathed him for his lack of clutch play that in part prevented the 'Hawks from having a winning season.
Regardless of which side you choose, throughout the offseason Jackson was promised a chance to compete even as the team continued to collect one quarterback after another.
Upon the signing of Matt Flynn back in March, head coach Pete Carroll was quoted as saying...
“We are really excited to bring Matt in here to compete with Tarvaris."
Then in mid-May, in regards to Russell Wilson's rookie camp performance, Carroll once again spoke of T-Jack's inclusion in the competition...
"It was already going to be taxing with two (Jackson and Flynn), but he's (Wilson) shown us enough that we need to see where he fits in with these guys."
For months we all waited and wondered how the drama would unfold.
Finally when the "competition" began at camp Jackson did get the first shot in practice as promised, but it seemed more a symbolic gesture than anything else.
However, once the preseason rolled around the situation quickly deteriorated as T-Jack sat against both the Tennessee" href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1294327-seahawks-v-titans-quick-wrap-upwinners-losers-and-closing-thoughts/page/5">Titans and Broncos.
Yet if you read Nick Eaton's article from the seattlepi.com closely, Jackson is never quoted directly in any way, shape or form.
But when Eaton asked coach Carroll about whether Jackson was still in the competition, he responded...
“Yes, absolutely he is,” Carroll said. “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,” Carroll added after Tuesday’s practice, in which Jackson took reps with the first team. “But I want to make sure he gets a good solid day of work 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."
After Jackson sat the whole game in Denver it seemed that his chances of starting were basically zero, but in a conversation with the Seattle Times' Danny O'Neil, Carroll continued to string T-Jack along...
"So far, Carroll's poker face has remained firm. He's gone so far as to say incumbent Tarvaris Jackson is still a part of the conversation, even though he has not played in either exhibition game and has been mentioned as a potential trade candidate."
By the time Jackson took the field in Kansas City on Friday night for mop-up duty following another tour de force performance by Russell Wilson, you could almost sense that he was auditioning for a job elsewhere.
Finally when it was all over on Sunday night Carroll had this to say in parting...
Was T-Jack Given A Fair Shot?
Tarvaris, all that we’ve ever seen from him is that he’s a great competitor and a perfect guy to have on your team,” Carroll said. “Because of our situation and the opportunity with the guys that we have, he deserves a chance to be playing. Buffalo came after him and I hope it’s a good thing for him. He did a great job for us and provided everything you’d ever want to see out of a competitor on your team. We think the world of him.
Pete Carroll can slather as much butter on this as he wants, but he never really gave T-Jack a shot.
As soon as Russell Wilson started to look like the real deal, the 'Hawks didn't even do a good job of trying to hide the truth and quickly mothballed Jackson for fear of injuring a potential trade chip while Carroll offered empty promises and platitudes to raise the price for prospective suitors.
As I said at the time, it was a brilliantly fiendish move of Carroll and GM John Schneider to essentially "recycle" T-Jack by trading him for a Buffalo Nickel, better known as a late round draft pick.
So what's the problem?
Isn't the NFL a business that chews and spits out players left and right every day?
Going in we generally knew what Jackson brought to the table, both good and bad. We also knew the 'Hawks were in a tough spot trying to divide time between reps in practice and in games with two unknowns in Flynn and Wilson that needed to be sorted out in addition to Jackson.
This is no easy task, but it's one that Pete Carroll brought upon himself and continually pledged to manage fairly.
Yet for anyone who's been promised a chance to distinguish themselves either for a job, a promotion or any sort of competition in life this just didn't seem right.
No one likes to be strung along only to be denied a real shot.
So while it's easy to praise Pete Carroll and his "Always Compete" mantra in choosing Russell Wilson as starter, to me it's just as disappointing to see that he completely failed to follow through with it in regards to Tarvaris Jackson.
Such is life I suppose for Pete Carroll with the 'Hawks, where he can continue to have his cake and eat it too...
Finally, though his time in Seattle was brief and will soon likely be forgotten, I'd like to thank T-Jack for giving it his all while playing hurt and his harsh honesty in owning up to his mistakes. Maybe he wasn't cut out for the starting job in Seattle long-term, but I'd have liked to have seen him get a better shot.
At any rate I sincerely wish him the best in Buffalo, but hope he doesn't come back to haunt us come December when the Seahawks head east to play the Bills.
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