No QBs, no worries? Stay tuned
If the Seahawks get really bored during this NFL lockout, they should find jobs as television writers specializing in cliffhangers. Just look at their quarterback situation.
Seattle Times staff columnist
RENTON — If the Seahawks get really bored during this NFL lockout, they should find jobs as television writers specializing in cliffhangers. They know how to milk a drama for maximum suspense. Just look at their quarterback situation.
Matt Hasselbeck is a free agent, Charlie Whitehurst is the only QB on the current roster, and everyone — especially Trent Dilfer — expected Seattle to draft a young signal caller. The Seahawks decided against it. They're going to delay their most important decision until the league's labor chaos ends. They believe they're better off navigating the uncertainty of free agency or trade season than seeking stability now.
"We had a plan going in, and we still have that plan," general manager John Schneider said when asked if he's concerned because the Seahawks didn't draft a quarterback. "We just can't execute that plan right now."
And so ended another episode of a running series that we'll name after an old improvisational comedy show — "Who's Your Quarterback Anyway?"
The Seahawks used the NFL draft mostly to improve their offensive line and to become bigger and more athletic in the secondary. They hammered at those two issues in dramatic fashion, and the strategy received disappointing reviews. Many national analysts hated their draft, mostly because that quarterback issue wasn't addressed.
Dilfer, a former Seahawks quarterback who now works for ESPN, declared his disdain on television. He said, among other things, that the Seahawks passed on better players at nearly every choice they made, that they're playing a "tortoise game" and falling behind the rest of the NFC West division and that Hasselbeck likely will not re-sign with the team.
His thoughts were interesting and may prove to be true, but they sounded like the emotional rant of a man who is friends with Hasselbeck. The Seahawks won't win any initial impression battles with their draft, but it's far too early for strong, definitive statements. Right now, the only certainty is that they attacked their toughness and athleticism problems in a major way, which was a good strategy, and we'll have to see if they picked good players in addition to good fits.
The Seahawks didn't try to solve all of their problems in three days. They just chipped away at a couple of issues. That's about all you can do in a single draft. The franchise is still a few more drafts from having ideal talent on its roster, and when you look at the Seahawks' rebuilding effort as a multiyear project, their handling of this draft makes better sense. They have so many holes that they have to do the repairs incrementally.
"We're not a team that's going to panic," Schneider said. "We're going to plod through it."
But the Seahawks still need a permanent solution at quarterback.
I've always thought this quarterback thing could go four ways.
• First option (The Succession Plan): Re-sign Hasselbeck and draft a QB to compete with Whitehurst to be the future starter. That's out.
• Second option (The Kevin Kolb Plan): Don't draft a QB, don't re-sign Hasselbeck, and acquire a new "franchise" quarterback through trade or free agency.
• Third option (The Delay Again Plan): Re-sign Hasselbeck, continue to develop Whitehurst and look toward the 2012 draft for another young QB.
• Four option (The "Pray For Them" Plan): Just hand the team over to Whitehurst, aka Clipboard Jesus, and sign a veteran backup in free agency. Oh, boy.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll continues to speak highly of Whitehurst. Every time Carroll was asked about him last week, he called Whitehurst a part of the Seahawks' 2011 draft class because the franchise dealt its third-round pick to San Diego in a package to trade for Clipboard Jesus last season. Funny, Carroll also called Whitehurst a part of last year's draft class because the Seahawks dropped down 20 picks in the second round to get him. Charlie Whitehurst: always a draft pick, seldom a player.
Carroll swears he's still committed to developing Whitehurst. But if he's the starter by default next season, the Seahawks can say hello to 4-12.
If the Seahawks re-signed Hasselbeck or brought in a quality veteran and Whitehurst proved to be better, that's another thing. But he can't go into next season as the preordained starter. He hasn't shown enough, in limited game time or in practice.
Schneider will have the Seahawks ready for free agency, but it won't be a normal free agency. It'll be hectic and unpredictable and truncated. They'll need several plans, and they might need to run through them quickly knowing that they have only a thin safety net.
It's thin because the Seahawks didn't prefer any of the quarterbacks they could've drafted. Not Andy Dalton. Not Ryan Mallett. Not Ricky Stanzi. I don't blame them. They didn't miss out on a franchise quarterback.
They have to find that guy somewhere, though. And soon. Too many cliffhangers, and you're just floundering.
Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or email@example.com, Twitter: @Jerry_Brewer
About Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer offers a unique perspective on the world of sports.
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