Ben Obomanu had a respectable return to the field with three catches, but his major contribution came in a sideline interview late in the fourth quarter.
When asked about the offense, he offered that they realize the regular season is right around the corner, and while some people don't make a big deal of preseason games, the Seahawks look to them as tone-setters for the regular season. He noted, "We haven't gotten a chance to see what we really have on offense," which has been frustrating.
The more intriguing question came next. When asked about the difference between having Matt Hasselbeck as the quarterback as opposed to having Jackson as their leader, Obomanu offered:
"With Matt it was kind of an implied confidence or implied swagger, the quarterback position was taken care of. Now, around the locker room and around the organization, we have to keep encouraging Tarvaris, let him know he is doing well. Just those little things to make sure he's confident as the quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks."
As highlighted last week, part of Carroll's plan to put Jackson in the best position to succeed is putting him in an environment conducive to success. In listening to Obomanu's comments, it's apparent that Carroll is making sure the message is clear around the organization: Tarvaris is the starting quarterback, and we publicly support him.
If Charlie Whitehurst was able to connect with Golden Tate on the third down, go-ahead touchdown throw late in the game—which was just out of a striding Tate's reach—does that message remain clear among the players? Insert Sidney Rice, Mike Williams or Obomanu for Tate, and is that ball caught?
The point here: Leadership at quarterback is clearly still settling for the team as a whole. For the third week in a row, the gap appears to have closed, to a degree.
Whitehurst may have failed to close the gap as strongly as he had hoped, but his support to start, at least from outside opinion, likely didn't waver. Just speculation, but if there is a hidden dissension in the locker room, it's unlikely that changed given their performances.
What were the players thinking as they watched Whitehurst chomp at the bit to go into the game, late in the third and early in the fourth, as the first unit stayed on the field and Baldwin later scored on special teams, further delaying his entrance into the game?
We've learned that a team effort is needed for Jackson to comfortably fit into the starting quarterback spot, and the perception that Charlie Whitehurst wants to be the starting quarterback for the Seahawks is continually being reinforced by his actions.
The locker room is potentially in a tricky position; what happens if the quarterback position continues to remain under duress—from opposing defenses and the fans—and the direction of the team effort towards supporting Tarvaris begins to waver?
This week we learned Carroll is trying to give the quarterback leadership baton to Jackson, but in reality it may be up for grabs.