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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



November 28, 2011 at 7:01 AM

Seahawks Tarvaris Jackson a passing trend downward

Posted by Danny O'Neil

"T-Jack is doing everything he can. We need to look at the film, see how he played and the decisions and things like that, but I know he's trying his tail off to get it done."
      -- Pete Carroll after Sunday's game

Tarvaris Jackson isn't healthy.

That's obvious at this point, his pectoral muscle injured to the point that he wasn't able to throw on consecutive days for a month and a half.

But is he too hurt to keep playing?

It's a question the Seahawks have to at least consider given the diminishing returns from Jackson since his return and the reality that Seattle is playing on Thursday. That's the day Jackson has been able to start practicing the past couple of weeks.

When Seattle begins practicing Tuesday in preparation for Philadelphia, it's not just a question of how to divide the workload between between backup Charlie Whitehurst and Jackson, but whether Seattle's starting quarterback can in fact be ready.

This week, Jackson threw for 144 yards, his passing yardage declining for the fourth successive game. He completed 14 of 30 passes for a season-low in completion percentage, but that fact is muddied by the reality that a number of passes were dropped by his receivers.

What stood out, though, was the fact Seattle had four possessions in the final 8 minutes of Sunday's game, and those four drives included 20 yards in penalties and 11 yards of total offense and no first downs. Seattle turned the ball over on downs after a fourth-down sack and after a Washington field goal put the Seahawks behind by six points, Jackson's final pass was intercepted.

So much of this season has been dominated by the discussion of Seattle's quarterback of the future. This week there is a question about the present because while the first half of the season showed pretty clearly that Jackson was the best quarterback on Seattle's roster, the past four games have seen a dip in his production.

Some of that is due to an increased emphasis on the rushing game. Marshawn Lynch has more than 20 carries in each of the past four games. Some of that may be due to Jackson's injury.

It's impossible to say how much, but the fact that surgery remains a possible remedy gives a pretty strong idea of just how serious that injury is. And in any case, the numbers do show a dip. Jackson's completion percentage has fallen from 63 percent against Baltimore to 58.3 percent at St. Louis to a season-low 46.7 percent against Washington.

The yardage is even more telling. He passed for a career-high 323 yards in the three quarters he played against Cincinnati, and that total has declined in each game since then. He threw for 148 yards in St. Louis and then 144 against Washington.

The Seahawks may be facing a decision at quarterback this week, because with a game on Thursday, they won't have any time to take a wait-and-see approach.

Seahawks quarterback Jackson no match for fourth-quarter pressure
By Steve Kelley | The Seattle Times

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