The Cover 3 Awards. Pre-Season week 2 Edition.By Will McDougle
When watching any losing performance in real time it’s hard to put a positive spin on it. I like many Seahawk fans watched in disgust as play after play, just didn’t materialize. Drives stalled, our receivers failed to get separation, and even when they did the line had not protected enough for the QB to see the throw. The cynic in me wondered if we could win 4 games this year..Then I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and re-watched the entire game. I watched every play several times. Yes, it took a minute but I’m so glad I did, because a few things stood out to me that didn’t at first.
Typically in the Cover 3 articles I will discuss three individuals who had a positive impact on the game. This week it just seemed more appropriate with all the Charlie Whitehurst supporters clammoring for his chance to start, to address the one player who has taken most of the heat and explain three reasons why he actually saved the team from complete embarrassment.
Ladies and Gentleman, I sumbit to you: Tarvaris Jackson
Tarvaris Jackson’s performance in this game made me realize more than ever that Pete Carroll knows what he’s doing. I won’t post his stats because you know them. If you are a casual fan you may think he played horribly. Know this. In my opinion Jackson is the only quarterback on this roster with the right mixture of quickness and throwing ability to succeed behind our offensive line in 2011. But don’t let my unimportant opinion sway you, lets look at the facts.
1. He can handle the pass rush. Tarvaris Jackson has yet to see many clean pockets to throw from. Here is a small clip of that very issue courtesy of NFL.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJjySjdfr7g . On one occasion after the other in the Vikings game a rusher came free, or the line was pushed seven yards into the backfield before Jackson could finish his drop and set up to throw. Rookie Right Tackle James Carpenter low lights a group of Seahawks offensive linemen lacking the required amount of experience and cohesiveness. Play after play, Carpenter was dominated by the defensive end to the point it looked hopeless. I assume for where we selected him in the draft,he’ll get better. Problem is right now he’s getting abused on inside, outside and bull rush moves. I’ll also add that the offensive line struggles lead to several pocket collapses that would have been sacks for Charlie Whitehurst. There I said it Charlie fans..Sorry I had to.
2. He’s a tough playmaker. Simply put, he has made GREAT plays with his feet to extend disastrous plays. He’s not as spectacular to watch scramble as say, Mike Vick, but when he does its effective and only happens after he has exhausted all other options. I love the fact that he refuses to force the ball into tight coverage under pressure. His ability to hit the Tight Ends with throws that gave them the ability to run after the catch was impressive considering he watched those completions while he lay flat on his back. The only grossly errant throw I charted was on a quick fade route to Sidney Rice down the right side. Both throws to Golden Tate were on point, and he hit all other open receivers with crisp passes. All that leads me to number three reason he impressed me.
3. He Managed the game. I don’t care what people say, game managers are a coaches best friend. There is only so many elite players in the world and having a player who doesn’t lose the game and know’s the offense can win you games..Several times during the first half it was very obvious to me that his experience with the offense allowed him to audible or easily identify the hot read. His only misread was a play where Jared Allen was left free to rush when Tyler Polumbus read Weakside Linebacker, blocked to the inside and let him go. It’s the QB’s responsibility to understand the blocking scheme rules in place and adjust. If you think it is strange that I would highlight a negative play in a segment that is intended to do the opposite you are right. I thought it was appropriate to highlight because even when he made that one mistake he was able to make Jared Allen whiff and extend the play.
So there it is. For this game I’m a Tarvaris Jackson supporter. I won’t even go into Charlie Whitehurst other than to say he did exactly what he was supposed to do. He played well against a tissue soft Vikings defense who begged him to throw underneath routes. He executed flawlessly in a drastically different game situation. For the Madden fans out there it was like Tarvaris was on All Madden, and handed the controller to Charlie on Pro. But that wasn’t the story of the game for me. The real story is how truly amazing and difficult it is to watch our offense right now. Without a regular off-season where a team can install the offense and work on the small details in the meeting rooms, it’s clear Tarvaris Jackson’s athleticism combined with his experience makes him the starter week one without question. I hope for the teams sake the receivers can cut him some slack and avoid the frustration that comes from running route after route without too many catches.
Tarvaris Jackson always wanted a shot to be “the man” in Minnesota. With the current state of the offensive line play, he may regret having had that wish granted in Seattle.