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Originally published November 28, 2011 at 8:02 PM | Page modified November 28, 2011 at 10:18 PM

Jackson's lingering injury leaves Seahawks in a bind

Tarvaris Jackson's passing yardage has declined in each of the past four games, and his health will be a central issue in this shortened week as the Seahawks play the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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It could get worse.

That's a definite possibility for the Seahawks and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who isn't getting better as he continues to play through an injured pectoral muscle.

His passing yardage has declined in each of the past four games, and his health will be a central issue when the Seahawks play the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday. That's the day Jackson has just begun throwing in practice the past couple of weeks.

Forget all the questions concerning Seattle's quarterback of the future, because there's a question of how long Jackson can stay in the pocket in the present.

Whether you call the injury a strain or a partial tear is a matter of semantics at this point. Coach Pete Carroll has said there simply aren't a lot of instances where a quarterback has played with this kind of injury, which makes the fact that Jackson is still playing both remarkable and tenuous.

The impact of the injury is apparent. There's not as much velocity on Jackson's throws downfield. This is especially true when he moves from the pocket. There are times the muscle twinges. He has been able to throw competitively on back-to-back days once since suffering the injury a month and a half ago, and it remains possible that he'll need surgery to help the muscle heal after the season.

There are other troubling signs. Jackson's passing yardage has declined in each game since he returned to play the final three quarters of the Oct. 30 loss to Cincinnati.

Some of that is due to the Seahawks' increased emphasis on the running game. But that was true four games ago in Dallas, too, and Jackson was still able to throw downfield. In the past two weeks, Jackson has completed just two passes that gained more than 20 yards.

Seattle's coaching staff defines an explosive play as a run that gains 12 or more yards or a pass of 16 or more yards. In Jackson's first two games back from the injury, he had 11 completions classified as explosive plays. In the past two games, he had four.

The Seahawks' difficulty getting downfield was evident at the end of Sunday's loss. When Seattle needed to move the ball quickly, it couldn't. The Seahawks' final four possessions resulted in 20 yards of penalties, 11 yards of offense and no first downs.

It became clear after Jackson's injury that he is Seattle's best option at quarterback this season. It's equally evident that there's no certainty he will be able to remain in that spot because of this injury.

Seahawks shuffle linebackers

Linebacker David Vobora was placed on injured reserve Monday, his season ended by what is believed to be a shoulder injury.

The Seahawks then picked up rookie linebacker Adrian Moten, claimed off waivers from the Indianapolis Colts.

Vobora was with Seattle in training camp, waived a week before the regular season started, then re-signed in early October after Matt McCoy suffered a season-ending knee injury. Vobora played in six games, serving as a mainstay on Seattle's special teams and as the first linebacker off the bench. He stepped in Sunday when David Hawthorne missed some time after suffering a knee injury.

Moten started at strongside linebacker for Maryland last year. He played in 10 games for the Colts.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @dannyoneil.

Thursday

Eagles @ Seahawks, 5:05 p.m.

Hope chest
A game-by-game log of Tarvaris Jackson's five games since he returned from the strained pectoral muscle he suffered Oct. 9 at New York:
Date Opponent Yards Comp. % Explosive plays*
Oct. 30 vs. Cincinnati 323 52.5 6
Nov. 6 at Dallas 221 56.7 5
Nov. 13 vs. Baltimore 217 63 4
Nov. 20 at St. Louis 148 58.3 2
Nov. 27 vs. Washington 144 46.7 2
*The Seahawks coaches define an explosive passing play as one that gains 16 yards or more

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