Many expected the Seattle Seahawks to take a quarterback in the 2010 NFL draft, especially with two first-round picks in their pocket.
They did not.
Many more expected them to take a quarterback in the 2011 draft, especially with Matt Hasselbeck’s future in limbo.
And again, they did not.
In the first year of the post-Hasselbeck era, Pete Carroll went the free agency route to fill his hole behind center (I swear I didn’t intend for that to sound dirty), inking Tarvaris Jackson in July.
The expectations were obviously low. In fact, the Seattle quarterback situation became somewhat of a punchline during the abbreviated offseason. See, everyone had figured that when the team again steered clear of pivots in the draft it was essentially committing to keeping Hasselbeck around, or at least chasing a more highly touted veteran QB like Kevin Kolb, Donovan McNabb or Alex Smith.
Jackson, who was 28 and was cast aside by a quarterback-needy Vikings team when he became a free agent, was considered to be nothing more than a stopgap. And during the first half of the season, he did little to prove that theory incorrect.
But since a subpar start that saw him throw four more interceptions than touchdowns during his first seven games with the losing Seahawks, Jackson has experienced a revival in Seattle. And not coincidentally, the ‘Hawks are winning now.
Despite the fact he’s less than 100 percent due a strained pectoral, Jackson has looked like a quality starting quarterback during Seattle’s current three-game winning streak. In that span, he’s completed 67 percent of his passes for 641 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. That gives him a passer rating of 104.5 in the month of December. And that’s come with Sidney Rice on the sideline and Mike Williams barely factoring in. He’s 7-5 and riding a three-game winning streak as a starter.
“I feel like I’m at home here and I feel like if I can just keep getting better and we keep getting better as a team, yeah, of course I can be that quarterback for us [who leads the team to a Super Bowl].
“But it’s not my decision. I’m not a personnel guy. Not my [job] to know if they’re going to go get a quarterback or they’re going to keep me here or whatever. But I just want to go out and just give my best shot right now and let that part take care of itself whenever it comes.”
“He is throwing the ball really well,” Carroll said of Jackson this week. “He’s completing almost everything we’re calling.”
Might that be enough to earn Jackson, who’s only 28, the starting job going forward, especially if he keeps it up over the final two weeks? Might the Seahawks again forego taking a quarterback in the draft?
Some might say he’s still only managing games, but that’s exactly what Alex Smith has done with fantastic success in San Francisco, enough so that Jim Harbaugh gave Smith a vote of confidence for the future on Tuesday. The 49ers realize that Smith has limitations, but they’ve adapted and played to his strengths. And having a top-notch running game and shutdown defense hasn’t hurt.
Look closely and the Seahawks are a lot like the Niners. Jackson’s success has clearly been linked to the emergence of Marshawn Lynch, who’s been one of the hottest backs in the league of late. The defense has also shown signs of excellence, especially against the run. They have a young nucleus that could be lethal in the very near future.
Why go spend a top pick and go through the process of grooming an alleged blue-chip quarterback if Jackson can be your Alex Smith?
And yes, I realize that also didn’t sound right.