QB question also an opportunity for Tarvaris Jackson, Seahawks
Mike Williams says everyone should back off criticism of new quarterback.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seattle @ San Francisco, 1:15 p.m., Ch. 13
RENTON — For 10 years everything started with the quarterback in Seattle.
That's the way Mike Holmgren saw this game, and the way he built his team. If you didn't have your guy at quarterback, you needed to find him. Like right now.
Now, there is a question where there once was a cornerstone. The Seahawks have moved on from Matt Hasselbeck, moved in Tarvaris Jackson and now face uncertainty under center for the first time in years.
Of course, that uncertainty also equates to an opportunity.
"I'm excited," Jackson said. "We've been working hard throughout training camp, preseason games, and now to actually have a real game, we can try to move forward as a new era for the Seahawks."
Only time will tell if this is the first of several attempts for Seattle to find a long-term answer at the position or if the transition that seemed so sudden will turn out to be seamless.
No doubt it will be different. Hasselbeck started every Seahawks season opener for the past 10 years, but now he's in Tennessee. Jackson is in Seattle, and after playing five years in Minnesota he has a chance to start over.
"This is a very, very exciting time for him," coach Pete Carroll said. "And it's an exciting time for our franchise."
He didn't stop there, though, going on to praise the backup — Charlie Whitehurst — whom some fans believe should be starting over Jackson.
"What I love about it is Charlie has been right on his heels," Carroll said. "Our quarterback position is rock solid in terms of competitiveness and depth."
Well, that's one person who doesn't see much of a question at quarterback in Seattle.
The Seahawks have attempted this transition before. In 1991, they had a veteran in Dave Krieg, a rookie in Dan McGwire and they began a decade that will be remembered for 11 different starting quarterbacks in the span of 10 seasons. First-round picks like McGwire and Rick Mirer, a veteran like Warren Moon and even one game with Glenn Foley.
Will the transition be as rocky this time? Seattle hasn't even started a regular season without Hasselbeck and already the position has become a punch line. Except Seahawks wide receiver Mike Williams isn't laughing. He pointed out the difficult situation Jackson inherited.
"Tough situation to come into with Matt leaving," Williams said. "And then so much criticism and ridicule for a guy who has yet to really have his shot. It was kind of unbelievable."
Williams said it was tough to listen to as a teammate, and he couldn't imagine what it was like as Jackson.
"I just kind of want to tell everybody to back the hell up," Williams said. "Let him play, let him have his shot to work and go out here and do his thing."
The truth is that Seattle has not made the quarterback decision that will define this franchise's future. The Seahawks have made a couple of attempts, acquiring a pair of players in Whitehurst and Jackson that they believe could be viable starters. They haven't mortgaged the future to acquire either of them. Certainly not in the way Arizona did when it acquired Kevin Kolb from Philadelphia. Or Carolina did when it drafted Cam Newton in the first round. Or Tennessee did when it chose Jake Locker.
Seattle went shopping for previously owned quarterbacks with tread on the tires and upside down the road. Jackson and Whitehurst, together, will make in 2011 only a little bit more than the amount Seattle offered Hasselbeck for this season when the sides negotiated in March.
And now, the opportunity is up to Jackson, and perhaps later, Whitehurst. There is an opportunity to play their way into Seattle's future, but no guarantees.
• DE Chris Clemons missed practice after suffering an ankle injury during the team's morning walk-through. He missed the first two exhibition games this season as he recovered from a trio of offseason procedures on his ankle.
• LG Robert Gallery (knee) and WR Sidney Rice (shoulder) remained unable to practice, though they have not been ruled out. MLB David Hawthorne (knee) remained limited in practice, with rookie K.J. Wright playing MLB with the first-unit defense.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com
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