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Power Ranking Every Starting Seattle Seahawks QB in Franchise History

Darin PikeContributor IJanuary 9, 2017

Power Ranking Every Starting Seattle Seahawks QB in Franchise History

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    Compiling the quarterback rankings for the Seattle Seahawks shouldn't be that difficult. After all, it isn't as though Seattle has had that much success at the position. However, perhaps determining the worst players is the more difficult task.

    The Seahawks have taken a few different routes to finding quarterbacks. Their most successful approach has actually been signing undrafted free agents. This is how they landed Dave Krieg, Jon Kitna and their current developmental quarterback, Josh Portis.

    Jim Zorn was also an undrafted free agent, but he was in the Dallas Cowboys training camp the prior season.

    Seattle has drafted 13 quarterbacks in its 35 years as a franchise. To date, exactly zero of them have found success as an NFL quarterback.

    Just how bad has it been for the Seahawks? The best quarterback they have drafted could be Rick Mirer.

    Mirer showed some promise his first two seasons. He fell off sharply after that, eventually losing his starting job to a nondescript NFL QB.

    However, the reason Mirer tops my list is the Seahawks received a first-round draft pick from the Chicago Bears for his services. That pick turned into Walter Jones. Yes, getting a star left tackle is the most Seattle has done with drafting quarterbacks.

    In recent days I've offered a look at the quarterbacks may look to draft in 2012 to fix this issue. I've also offered thoughts on an available free agent to take over the quarterback duties next season.

    The statistics on the following pages reflect regular season games.

21. Bruce Mathison, 1987: Two Starts

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    You are forgiven if you don't remember Bruce Mathison's impact on the Seahawk's 1987 season. 

    In three replacement games he completed less than 50 percent of his passes and had two TDs to go with three interceptions. That is already more ink than a replacement player deserves. 

20. Kelly Stouffer, 1988-1992: 16 Starts

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    Most Seahawks fans want to throw Rick Mirer out as the biggest QB draft bust for the Seattle Seahawks. Respectfully, they couldn't be more wrong.

    Granted, Mirer was the second overall pick and the St. Louis Cardinals didn't grab Kelly Stouffer until pick six (fitting spot, come to think of it). However, Mirer actually provided a few games of decent play.

    More importantly, the Seahawks received some value from Mirer—but more on that a bit later on.

    It is hard to decide which stat is more appalling for Stouffer. He completed less that 50 percent of his passes in three of four seasons. He had 19 interceptions to just seven touchdowns.

    Stouffer's QB rating was just 54.5, including a mark of just 47.7 in seven starts during his final season in the NFL. I think the biggest insult, though, is he valued himself so high he couldn't come to a contract agreement with the Cardinals. He sat out his first season, eventually forcing St. Louis into a trade with Seattle. 

19. Steve Myer, 1976-1979: Four Starts

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    I'm finding conflicting data on the first quarterback drafted by the Seahawks. Different sources show Steve Myer having between zero and four starts. I'll trust Pro Football Reference, though.

    His stats don't lie. He was just plain bad. He was 83-of-160 (51.9 percent) for 851 yards, 5.3 yards per attempt, six TDs, 14 INTs, QB rating of 43.5.

    Seattle needs to stay away from quarterbacks name Myer, Mirer, Mayer, etc. They may not be named Oscar, but they are all bologna. Now, had Erik Meyer been able to stick in Seattle...

18. Dan McGwire, 1991-1994: Four Starts

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    It is difficult for me to determine where to start with Dan McGwire. Is it that the Seahawks made him the first quarterback taken in the 1991 draft? Should I focus on the windmill-delivery of a 6'8" quarterback that was sacked more often than Tarvaris Jackson—and not because of poor offensive line play?

    Should I focus on how underwhelming he was as a rookie backup to Dave Krieg? After all, the genius owner decided to send Krieg packing after that season, arguably because McGwire was going to become a solid franchise quarterback.

    Some say it had more to do with Ken Behring wanting to make the team bad enough that fans would stop attending games. There was an attendance clause in the Kingdome lease that would have allowed him to move the club to Anaheim; he moved team headquarters there and attempted to take the team down, too, until the 12th Man showed up in Kirkland and blocked the trucks.

    Behring's attorneys somehow missed the performance clause in that contract, too.

    Back to McGwire, there is little doubt that had the Seahawks been trying to win games in the early '90s, McGwire would simply go down as a second- or third-round draft pick that didn't work out for some some other team. A real owner would have drafted Brett Favre

    Instead, he'll be remembered as another wasted draft pick by the Seahawks who had a completion percentage and QB rating in the low 50s.

17. Charlie Frye, 2007-2008: One Start

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    The Seattle Seahawks had a plan for Charlie Frye. They wanted him to come in and be a good enough backup to allow them to work Seneca Wallace into the offense in some creative ways.

    It didn't happen.

    Frye wasn't terrible, but he wasn't good. He had two interceptions and two touchdowns in two games, with at QB rating of 53.4.

16. Gale Gilbert, 1985-1986: Two Starts

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    The only real issue I can take with the undrafted QB is he was 0-2 in his two starts in 1986. The Seahawks went 10-4 with Dave Krieg under center; had Gale Gilbert even won one of those games Seattle would have made the playoffs.

    Gilbert had three touchdowns and three interceptions. His QB rating was a paltry 64.7. 

    It wasn't surprising to see the Seahawks go a different direction the following year. Gilbert went on and eventually posted the same starting record in San Diego over two seasons.

15. Stan Gelbaugh, 1992-1996: Nine Starts

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    Stan Gelbaugh spent five seasons in Seattle and had just nine starts, eight of which came in his first season. 

    Prior to landing in Seattle, he was on nine other professional rosters—five NFL clubs, one CFL team and three World League franchises. To be fair, his time in Canada was as a punter and backup QB.

    Gelbaugh was 1-8 in his stint, but his "win" came in a game that saw him throw just two passes with no completions. But what can really be expected from a guy that was selling copiers when he landed his job as an NFL QB for the last time?

    Yet another "win" for Ken Behring.

14. Charlie Whitehurst, 2010-2011: Four Starts

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    I know some fans will say Charlie Whitehurst didn't get a chance to prove he was a better quarterback than this. I tend to disagree with that statement, as I'm a firm believer players earn an opportunity to play on game day based on the work they put in during practice.

    That aside, there are several other quarterbacks on this list that likely didn't get a "fair" shake, but this is football and fair isn't really part of the equation.

    Whitehurst is ranked 15th in all-time quarterback rating (64.6) for quarterbacks with at least one start. He's thrown three TDs and four INTs in his two years playing for the Seahawks. 

13. Rick Mirer, 1993-1996: 51 Starts

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    The assertion that Rick Mirer is the best drafted quarterback in Seahawks history will no doubt garner some scorn among the 12th Man. However, Mirer showed some promise his first two seasons in Seattle.

    Granted, he was terrible in the next two, but there is a reason Mirer was the best drafted quarterback.

    The Seahawks received a first-round draft pick from the Chicago Bears for his services. That pick turned into Walter Jones with a little help from a mid-round draft pick.

    As much as Mirer didn't pan out, I can't imagine there is a Seahawk fan that wouldn't gladly spend the second pick of the NFL draft for the best left tackle to play the game. 

    But back to Mirer. His Seahawks QB Rating of 65.2 puts him 11th on Seattle's all-time list of starters. He threw 41 touchdowns, which is good for fifth place. He's fourth in interceptions with 56 and yards with 9,094.

    What his stats do is reassure that the Seahawks really need to add a franchise quarterback.

12. Jeff Kemp: 1987-1991: Seven Starts

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    Jeff Kemp was an average quarterback that played on some average teams.

    He posted a slightly below-average record in Seattle of 3-4. However, his 18 interceptions to just nine touchdowns was flat-out awful. 

    Still, Kemp comes in on this list in the middle of the back.

11. Brock Huard, 1999-2001: Four Starts

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    The argument could be made the Seahawks got more value from Brock Huard than any other drafted quarterback. Taken in the third round of the 1999 draft, Huard put up passable statistics.

    Huard's only problem is the team couldn't win with him under center; the Seahawks were 0-4 in his starts.

    Huard was a 56 percent passer with four touchdowns and two interceptions. His QB rating was over 80, placing him in the top half of Seahawks quarterbacks.

    Huard was a fan favorite and a player most wanted to see develop, as he was a start for the Seahawks' neighbor, the Washington Huskies.

Glenn Foley, 1999: One Start

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    So, who out there has a Glenn Foley Seahawks trading card? Anyone? No?

    I can't say I blame you.

    Foley spent one season in Seattle after a five-year stint with the New York Jets. He had one start, posting a win and two TDs with no interceptions. His 113.6 QB rating ranks him first among Seattle Seahawk quarterbacks. 

    However, Sidney Rice holds Seattle's all-time passer rating with a mark of 118.7 (four other players, including Jon Ryan and Michael Robinson share that mark, but Rice's lone completion was longer).

    I find it disconcerting that a player with just one game cracked the top 10, but there just isn't anyone to move ahead of him.

9. John Friesz, 1995-1998: 11 Starts

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    When asked to think of a successful acquisition of a quarterback that played for the San Diego Chargers, many Seahawks fans would be at a loss. I offer John Friesz.

    While Friesz won't be remembered as a solid starter for the Seahawks, he is definitely one of their better reserves. His biggest stint of playing time was in 1996, going 4-2 as a starter. He took over for Rick Mirer, who had a 2-7 record that season.

    Friesz had 2,971 yards as a Seahawk, throwing 16 TDs and 12 INTs. His QB rating was a respectable 78.3 in Seattle. Overall he was 6-5 for Seattle during some down years.

8. Tarvaris Jackson, 2011: Eight Starts

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    Tarvaris Jackson's status on this list is far from settled. In his first of what looks to be two seasons in Seattle, he has shown signs of great promise and moments of inarticulately bad decision making.

    To be fair, some of Jackson's issues are due to poor blocking and a nagging pectoral muscle injury. Coach Pete Carroll had wanted to give Jackson a bit more recovery time, but incredibly poor quarterback play from the backup forced Carroll to reinsert Jackson.

    Jackson has a 4-4 record as a starter, and threw for over 750 yards during an eight-quarter stretch in games against the playoff-contending Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals.

    He also threw three three interceptions in Dallas.

    If given another season, Jackson could actually move up as high as fourth on this list. He could also drop down to—well, there isn't much room to go down.

7. Trent Dilfer, 2001-2004: 12 Starts

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    It is a bit concerning that a player with so few starts sits this high on the list. However, Trent Dilfer could be remembered as the Seahawks most successful backup quarterback, but I have him second in that class. 

    Yes, he was looking like he'd be the starting quarterback for Seattle in 2002, but a knee injury in training camp cost him part of the season. The rest was lost to a torn Achilles tendon.

    Dilfer almost got the Seahawks into the playoffs in 2001. He replaced Matt Hasselbeck mid-season and won two starts. Hasselbeck took the starting duties back, compiling just a 5-7 record.

    Dilfer again replaced Hasselbeck following a shoulder injury. He won two close games at the end of the season, but his former team from Baltimore beat the Minnesota Vikings on the last day of the season, taking the final wild-card berth. 

6. Seneca Wallace, 2003-2009: 14 Starts

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    Seneca Wallace is Seattle's most accomplished backup quarterback. Aside from turning in more seasons than Dilfer, Wallace held court for four games during the 2006 season. He went 2-2 in those starts, helping the Seahawks win the NFC West title.

    Wallace's biggest contribution to the Seahawks might not have come from a thrown ball. He had an impressive and momentum-building reception in the NFC Championship Game. It electrified the crowd and the team as the Seahawks earned their Super Bowl berth with a commanding 34-14 win.

    Wallace had an impressive QB rating of 83.1 in his career with Seattle. Despite a 5-9 record, he was a solid backup to Hasselbeck and at least part of the team that made the franchise's only Super Bowl appearance.

5. Jon Kitna, 1997-2000: 33 Starts

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    Many fans felt Jon Kitna's time in Seattle was cut short. If Mike Holmgren hadn't wanted to start over with some new talent, Kitna might have had an opportunity to shine in Seattle.

    Kitna was blessed to sit behind a Hall of Fame quarterback for two seasons. He had six spot-starts during that time, posting a 4-2 record.

    The full-time starter in his final two seasons, Kitna led the team to 14-13. He led the team back to the playoffs in 1999, winning the AFC West. This ended a decade-long playoff drought, but the team would go another five seasons without winning a playoff game.

    Kitna comes in well behind Mirer in attempts and completions. However, he threw more TD passes than Mirer. 

    Kitna also comes in fourth place for Seattle in QB rating (76.3) for passers with at least a full season of games started.

4. Warren Moon, 1997-1998: 24 Starts

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    Warren Moon would be ranked much higher (as in first) on this list if I was considering his total body of work.

    However, only the players' time in Seattle is applicable to this report.

    As much as Seahawks fans wanted Moon to return to Seattle after his stint in the CFL and Houston, the Minnesota Vikings outbid the Seahawks for his services. Instead, the Seahawks were blessed with Rick Mirer for three more seasons.

    The Seahawks put together a pair of 8-8 seasons under Moon. He was 11-13 in his starts, throwing for 5,310 yards, 36 TDs and 24 INTs.

    Moon definitely brought some style and flash to a .500 football team.

3. Jim Zorn, 1976-1983: 100 Starts

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    Some will argue Warren Moon deserves to be in this slot. It is an understandable argument, as the Hall of Fame QB had a much better career.

    However, Moon's two seasons would have had to include a Super Bowl appearance to overcome what Jim Zorn did for this franchise.

    It wasn't just what the lefty did on the field. Yes, he was a great scrambler and the words "Zorn to Largent...touchdown!" will forever be a part of Seahawks history.

    Zorn's legacy is better remembered for his likable attitude, determination and down-to-earth approach that made the Seattle Seahawks the first love of Seattle sports fans. 

    There was some success, too. The Seahawks were just one game away from the playoffs in years three and four, which was quite the feat under the old expansion rules.

    Zorn also posted three-straight 3,000-yard season. That record stood for the Seahawks until 2005.

    Zorn has a solid hold on third place for most career marks in Seattle. His 20,122 yards are more than double Rick Mirer's fourth-ranked total, as are his 107 passing TDs.

    Zorn's style of play was likened to Fran Tarkenton. Put them both in the same jersey and they could have been mirror images of each other.

     

    Jim Zorn Career Stats

2. Dave Krieg, 1981-1991: 119 Starts

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    Dave Krieg had the unenviable position of replacing a Seattle sports icon as starting quarterback of the city's beloved Seahawks. He handled the transition with grace, which helped ease the fans into to change.

    More important, he led the team to its first playoff appearance and an appearance in the AFC Championship Game the year he took over for Jim Zorn.

    Nothing like success to win over a fan base!

    Some have argued that Kreig should earn a spot in the Hall of Fame. While his averages make him a borderline candidate, his totals support the assertion. After all, some argue Art Monk gained his ticket to Canton based on putting up above-average numbers for a lot of seasons. 

    Krieg had more longevity than most quarterbacks. His 19 seasons are an impressive feat. However, there is one advantage most marginal candidates have that Krieg lacks: a championship. Had Krieg guided the Seahawks to the Super Bowl and replaced the Oakland Raiders as champions, his inclusion would carry more merit.

    The worst part of Krieg's legacy in Seattle is it was cut short.

    Krieg's seven seasons after leaving Seattle included quality play; if not for Behring's misguided tampering with the team, Krieg would have had the opportunity to mentor Jon Kitna and possibly help the Seahawks win a few playoff games.

    Dave Krieg's career stats with seasons in Seattle:

    SEASON

    GP

    CMP

    ATT

    CMP%

    YDS

    AVG

    TD

    INT

    FUM

    RAT

    1980

    1

    0

    2

    0.0

    0

    0.00

    0

    0

    0

    39.6

    1981

    7

    64

    112

    57.1

    843

    7.53

    7

    5

    0

    83.3

    1982

    3

    49

    78

    62.8

    501

    6.42

    2

    2

    0

    79.1

    1983

    9

    147

    243

    60.5

    2,139

    8.80

    18

    11

    0

    95.0

    1984

    16

    276

    480

    57.5

    3,671

    7.65

    32

    24

    0

    83.3

    1985

    16

    285

    532

    53.6

    3,602

    6.77

    27

    20

    0

    76.2

    1986

    15

    225

    375

    60.0

    2,921

    7.79

    21

    11

    0

    91.0

    1987

    12

    178

    294

    60.5

    2,131

    7.25

    23

    15

    0

    87.6

    1988

    9

    134

    228

    58.8

    1,741

    7.64

    18

    8

    0

    94.6

    1989

    15

    286

    499

    57.3

    3,309

    6.63

    21

    20

    0

    74.8

    1990

    16

    265

    448

    59.2

    3,194

    7.13

    15

    20

    0

    73.6

    1991

    10

    187

    285

    65.6

    2,080

    7.30

    11

    12

    5

    82.5

    Career

    213

    3,105

    5,311

    58.5

    38,147

    7.18

    261

    199

    30

    81.5

1. Matt Hasselbeck, 2001-2010: 131 Starts

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    This was actually a difficult decision. As much as Matt Hasselbeck did in and for Seattle, Dave Krieg also had a quality career.

    The scales tipped based on postseason success, though. Hasselbeck did what Kreig couldn't quite accomplish: He took the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. That is the factor that tipped a fairly even scale.

    Then there are the franchise records. Hasselbeck holds the record for most yards, attempts and completions. Tarvaris Jackson (60.4) is the only starting quarterback with a higher completion percentage than Hasselbeck's 60.2 percent, but adding a clause for a minimum of 16 starts would fix that.

    As for the franchise records for TDs, INTs and passer rating, those all belong to Krieg. To be fair, the passer rating is 82.3 to 82.2.

    Seneca Wallace tops them both with an 83.1, but his 14 starts falls short of the full-season requirement mentioned above.

    Not to take anything away from Krieg's magical run in 1983, the 2005 season stands alone for the Seahawks. Hasselbeck turned in a number of gritty performances, albeit with a lot of help from a great offensive line and Shaun Alexander.

    His sense of humor and dedication to making the community a better place will be remembered as much as his on-field performances. 

    Matt Hasselbeck's career stats with seasons in Seattle:

    SEASON

    GP

    CMP

    ATT

    CMP%

    YDS

    AVG

    TD

    INT

    FUM

    RAT

    2001

    13

    176

    321

    54.8

    2,023

    6.30

    7

    8

    3

    70.9

    2002

    16

    267

    419

    63.7

    3,075

    7.34

    15

    10

    4

    87.8

    2003

    16

    313

    513

    61.0

    3,841

    7.49

    26

    15

    2

    88.8

    2004

    14

    279

    474

    58.9

    3,382

    7.14

    22

    15

    3

    83.1

    2005

    16

    294

    449

    65.5

    3,459

    7.70

    24

    9

    4

    98.2

    2006

    12

    210

    371

    56.6

    2,442

    6.58

    18

    15

    2

    76.0

    2007

    16

    352

    562

    62.6

    3,966

    7.06

    28

    12

    5

    91.4

    2008

    7

    109

    209

    52.2

    1,216

    5.82

    5

    10

    1

    57.8

    2009

    14

    293

    488

    60.0

    3,029

    6.21

    17

    17

    7

    75.1

    2010

    14

    266

    444

    59.9

    3,001

    6.76

    12

    17

    6

    73.2

    Career

    180

    2778

    4,616

    60.2

    31,936

    6.92

    190

    136

    40

    82.5

     

     

    For complete passer statistics: Pro Football Reference Seattle Seahawks Career Passing Register.

    Additional information for this article was culled from http://espn.go.com/ and http://www.nfl.com/.

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