Seattle Seahawks fans are happy to be debating the No. 2 quarterback and not the No. 1. Russell Wilson has that job sewn up and is heading into the prime of his career.
The interesting question is: Who gets the start if Wilson is hurt? Three other quarterbacks are on the roster: Terrelle Pryor, Tarvaris Jackson and BJ Daniels.
Daniels was drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 draft by the San Francisco 49ers. When they released him that October, Seattle promptly snatched him up. Some say it was an attempt to learn what Daniels knew about the 49ers’ playbook. The fact that Daniels is distinctly Wilson-sized and used to play him on San Francisco’s scout team may be more of a factor. But Daniels got no time in the first preseason game, so he’s probably destined for the practice squad again.
Pryor made some impressive plays for the Oakland Raiders last year, including breaking the franchise single game rushing record in Week 1 with 112 yards and busting a 930yard touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He fought through a concussion and a knee sprain. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound athlete with a 40 time in the 4.3 range is incredibly intriguing at any position. He did catch three passes for two touchdowns at Ohio State. Seattle has denied from the beginning that they have any plans to play him anywhere other than quarterback.
Jackson has the most NFL experience of the three. After five seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, he started 15 games for Seattle in 2011. He threw for over 3,000 yards and led a rebuilding Seattle team to a 7-9 record despite playing over half the year with a torn pectoral muscle. The injury occurred during the biggest win of the year, a 36-25 victory on the road against the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Jackson spent a year with the Buffalo Bills before re-signing with Seattle. He does not have great wheels or a cannon, but he’s a solid professional who knows the game. He’s 10-for-13 with a touchdown and no picks in three regular season appearances since returning to the Seahawks.
So who should play if Wilson can’t? I think Pryor has an exciting upside and could flourish as a starter in a situation more stable than Oakland. We’re not talking about developing a new starter, though. We’re talking about a backup. If Wilson gets hurt, the question becomes: Who gives Seattle the best chance to win games? The Seahawks have shown they can win with defense and a running game. The quarterback must limit turnovers and control the clock. I would trust Jackson in that situation, as not the most exciting guy but the most reliable guy.
I hope this remains an academic debate and not a real life football problem. Stay safe, Russ.