Tarvaris Jackson Continues To Hold Back Seahawks Offense

By Lars Hanson

SEATTLE (WA) — Gus Frerotte, Brett Favre, Joe Webb and Donovan McNabb. They all share one thing in common: they beat out Tarvaris Jackson. At one point or another each of those four quarterbacks replaced Jackson either during the season or in the offseason .

Whether it be poor performance, a better replacement or lack of confidence Tarvaris Jackson hasn’t performed above below average in his NFL career. A second-round pick pick out of Alabama State in the 2006 NFL Draft Jackson was deemed by former Minnesota Vikings head coach as “a piece of clay with all the skills to be a No.1”.

Well, that would explain one of several reasons why Childress is out of a job.

Jackson has been passed over for another played almost every year he’s been in the league. That was until Pete Carroll hired Darrell Bevell, Jackson’s former offensive coordinator in Minnesota to replace Jeremy Bates this past offseason. With a prolonged lockout Carroll and John Schneider needed a quarterback who knew Bevell’s offense already.

Matt Hasselbeck wasn’t interested in a two year contract at the age of 36 and left for Tennessee and Charlie Whitehurst hadn’t proven to be the starting quarterback. With that in mind Schneider signed Jackson to a two year, eight million dollar contract and Carroll immediately named him the starter.

At the time you couldn’t argue against the move given Seattle’s two other options. Charlie Whitehurst or Josh Portis, an undrafted rookie out of California University of Pennsylvania. With Bevell and Sidney Rice supporting him and no one expecting him to win 10 plus games it seemed like smart short-term move.

The key being short-term.

This season Seattle has been up and down on both sides of the ball due in part to who’s pulling the trigger as well as injuries. The one constant has been Tarvaris Jackson’s inconsistency and lack of awareness.

Pete Carroll has said from day one that he doesn’t want to have to rely on the quarterback to have success. He wants to run first, have a strong defense and have a quarterback capable of heaving the offense balance. Well he’s got two out of three so far but the one thing holding Seattle back is Tarvaris Jackson.

The NFL is a quarterback driven league but that doesn’t mean every team needs that 4,000 yard passer or gunslinger that heaves it up 45 times per game. For Seattle that means getting a veteran quarterback capable of leading an offense without having to go into the game one dimensional.

During their 2005 Super Bowl run Seattle had the perfect recipe offensively with Shaun Alexander leading the way and Matt Hasselbeck balancing him out. Alexander, who won the league Most Valuable Player award in 05, ran for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns.

While those numbers don’t replicate that of a typical starting running back having over 1,000 yards isn’t out of the ordinary. With Marshawn Lynch the Seahawks have by far the ideal back for the offense Carroll wants to run. The only problem is he doesn’t have the right quarterback.

Yes Tarvaris Jackson has had the best season of his career to date and he’s played through a partially torn pectoral muscle. His toughness isn’t questioned, but his consistency and where his limit is in terms of skill set is widely questioned and criticized.

He’s not a legitimate starting quarterback that can lead you beyond a .500 season year in and year out. For the Seahawks .500 isn’t going to cut it with the way the defense has emerged and Marshawn Lynch becoming an elite running back.

Jackson is a solid backup option when a legitimate No.1 goes down but nothing more. He ranks 21st in QB rating, 20th in passing yards, 23rd in passing touchdowns and 16th in completion percentage. He’s not as athletic as people make him out to be, he doesn’t have the arm to throw 3,500 plus yards a season and doesn’t have the vision to spread the ball around.

When it comes down to crunch time, when he needs to make a play Jackson doesn’t rise to the occasion. Against San Phrancisco on Christmas Eve Jackson fumbled the ball late trying to scramble around looking phor an open receiver. Holding the ball in the open it allowed 49ers linebacker Larry Grant to record the easiest fumble in his NFL career.

On the next drive Jackson needed 40 yards with :41 seconds to give Steven Hauschka a good chance to kick the game winning field goal. An eight yard completion, an overthrow to Doug Baldwin and throwing the ball 20 yards over Zach Miller’s head on the final play Jackson conceded the 19-17 lose to San Francisco.

He’s a good backup and fill in option but now Pete Carroll and John Schneider have to remove the barricade holding this team back, Tarvaris Jackson.

You can follow Lars on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/larshanson 

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