First off, this is not an article blaming Tarvaris Jackson for what has taken place with the Seattle Seahawks so far this year. I respect TJack for his durability and know that a lesser man would have been crippled by the piling on that has taken place in the Seahawks backfield so far.
Let's take a sobering look at what has happened.
First, the offensive line is in a major learning curve. No other team in the league missed the offseason OTA's more than Seattle. I am certain that the plan Pete Carroll and John Schneider had in place included extra time to get so many new pieces to play together.
That includes the defense, who is playing reasonably well but will be a force in two to three more games barring injury. It is certainly not management's fault the plan fell through. As such I am willing to give the line time to get together.
We have seen some improvement already. Let's see what they can do against the Cardinals. Seattle is looking forward to playing a team they beat twice last year. Don't forget, last year they didn't have an NFL-caliber quarterback. Hmmm, that sounds familiar.
The running game has not had a chance to gel yet. Justin Forsett said the running game was just one block or one cut away from breaking out. I'm going to have to take his word for it. I haven't studied the film as closely as he has.
From a armchair perspective, the line is having more difficulty run blocking than it has pass blocking, and that is saying something. I haven't seen much of the explosive blocking we were told was going to be possible with this youthful line.
Who should Seattle Go With at QB?
Again, I am willing to give them time to get together. The line that took us to the Super Bowl had been together for three years at least, with the exception of right tackle Sean Locklear.
I'm not totally sold on Marshawn Lynch as the featured back. He certainly has suffered behind a rookie line. With the exception of a few good runs, we have as yet to see anything close to a running game.
Much has been said and written about the receivers not getting open. I am with the school of thought that it is near impossible to get open when there are six or seven defensive players covering three to four receivers.
Although, I am sure there have been times when people were open and TJack didn't have the time to see them.
Through a combination of line protection and fewer people running routes, including a very talented tight end, we don't know what we have as a receiver corps. I will join those hoping Sidney Rice will have a huge impact at the position.
However, during the preseason games against lesser talent, I wasn't overly impressed. I am hoping he turns it up for the regular season, and the connection with his former and current QB shows up on Sunday.
That brings us to Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst. I am in favor of giving Charlie a chance, not necessarily because TJack is playing so poorly. Obviously, Tarvaris has been challenged. Certainly, there is a case to be made that what has happened so far is anything close to his responsibility.
This is what I have seen, both during games last year and the limited time we have seen Charlie this year. Charlie plays the game the way Carroll designed the offense. Manage the game, get the ball to open receivers and don't give it away. There were times during the debacle against the New York Giants last year that Charlie showed his ability to stay calm under pressure.
The game against St. Louis was a study in keeping the game under control and game management. Could he have led that team past New Orleans the way Matt Hasselbeck did? Unlikely, but we will certainly never know now.
My point is that I have been more impressed with Charlie's decision-making during pressure than I have been with TJack's. Tarvaris's athletic ability is apparent, I am not so sure about the speed of his decisions.
He looked capable during the series of hurry-up offense played at the end of the Pittsburgh game. Do I need to remind anyone Pittsburgh was ahead by 24? My point is this, when the set play calls for quick decisions and quick outs or no huddle, Tarvaris can play as well as most.
When it comes to quick decisions and change of plans, I see Charlie as an improvement. He doesn't have the same level of mobility that Tarvaris does, but I haven't seen TJack gain first downs with his legs much, either. Is it really that much of an issue?
Back to the title of this article, we are one game and maybe as close as one half away from seeing if Charlie is actually an improvement over Tarvaris.
Arizona is not the pushover we are being led to believe. With a more capable QB than they have had since Warner, the Cardinals can put points on the board. Seattle has yet to show it can do that with anything close to capable.
Open up the offense, let the tight ends run routes, put four receiver sets out there and give Arizona's defense have something to think about. Put Charlie in and see if I am right, he makes better decisions under pressure.
One final point. There are players, especially at the QB position, that are better practice players than game day players. Is it possible Tarvaris is in this category?
I would be more than happy to apologize to Tarvaris Jackson if and when he proves me wrong. For now, I believe Charlie Whitehurst could do more with less. Certainly by the game after the bye, we will see if I am right.
I am sure at this rate, we will be no better than 1-4, quite possibly 0-5. At that point, it might be a moot point who ends up being the QB for Seattle.