Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Seahawks quarterbacks on the hook



If you’ve ever traveled to the Pacific Northwest, you will have noticed their proclivity for doing things well. This is certainly the case in Seattle, where their airplanes, computers, rock n’ roll, coffee, and women’s basketball are all remarkably good. So it’s rather confounding that their pro football suffers from fifty shades of grey, and nothing more distinct.

Many would argue that the Seahawks defensive game has been the foundation of the club in recent years, keeping the team bouyant. For example, the 2011 Seahawks defense allowed just 19 points per game on average, which is better than at least 20 other teams in the league, including your Super Bowl champion New York Giants. They’re speedy, tenacious, and make interceptions (fourth in the NFL last year).

But the discrepancy here is that the Giants pound opponents black and blue when they most need to - they get after the quarterback! They might spot 25 points, but then in the crunch, there’s no sign of complacency or mediocrity. There's just a mammoth squeeze. In this regard, the Seahawks are more, well, flighty. And yet because the NFC West is more routine than your morning Starbucks order, the middling Blue and Green not only seem efficient at times, but inexplicably potent. That’s not difficult against the likes of Kevin Kolb and Alex Smith, of course. 

In turn, Tavaris Jackson looks adequate. He’s powerful, and power goes a long way if you can land the ball within the outer circle of your target at least. Tavaris does this. He also scrambles like Tebow, but with less fanfare, so when he arrives at the first down marker you’re more likely to be pleasantly surprised. Again, if the expectation is minimal, then fair results can always be positioned as “above average”. This is what's formally referred to as the T-Jack Jive.

And so, under Pete Carroll, the Seahawks appear trapped in an obscure offensive phase - averaging just 304 yards per game last season - which doesn’t bode well for the next campaign. Most recently, and startling, the club named Jackson as the training camp starter at quarterback, instead of young gun Matt Flynn - the man they pined for this offseason like Frasier after sassy blondes. That doesn’t sit well with many in the fanbase, nor should it. Even the Crane boys would suggest the strange reverse psychology at play here is bound to adversely affect Seattle’s signal-calling situation.

On the one hand, Flynn needs reps and a vote of confidence. On the other, we already know what Jackson can do, and most certainly what he can’t (his limited ability in reading defenses and locating second and third receiving options is imposing on my mind). So sitting Flynn looks geared toward reducing any immediate expectation of him. This could be futile in the end because unless Dave Kreig is getting off the couch any time soon, Flynn will likely be the most discussed offseason acquisition at the position this summer.

Yes folks, nothing's as it seems in Seattle, as Pearl Jam once cried.  

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