Do you know which player was one of the worst quarterbacks in NFL history last season? Did you guess Ryan Lindley? If you did, you’d be right. With that in mind, consider this quarterback comparison.
Quarterback A: 54.3 completion rate, 6/9 TD/INT ratio, 6.3 YPA, 66.6 QB rating.
Quarterback B: 52.2 completion rate, 0/7 TD/INT ratio, 4.4 YPA , 46.7 QB rating.
Quarterback C: 53.4 completion rate, 0/8 TD/INT ratio, 5.4 YPA, 49.9 QB rating.
Quarterback A isn’t very good, but he looks like Aaron Rodgers in comparison to quarterbacks B and C. Quarterback B is 2012 Ryan Lindley. Quarterback C is 2012 Brady Quinn- when his outlier performance against Kansas City is excluded (more on that in a minute). The relatively sterling Quarterback A? Curtis Painter.
I think a lot of people have a falsely good image of Brady Quinn based on all the publicity he received for thrashing the Carolina Panthers last season- which happened to be the only game that Carolina lost in their final six contests. In that game Quinn was 19/23 with 8.7 yards per attempt and two touchdowns against zero interceptions. It was no doubt a great performance, especially when you consider how well the Panthers’ defense played down the stretch last season.
But when you look at the sum of his other 2012 performances (Quarterback C above), the obvious conclusion is that Quinn’s week 13 performance is among the greatest single game outliers of all time. I’d compare it to Aaron Curry against Jacksonville in 2009. If you saw that Jacksonville game and knew nothing else, your perception of Curry would be very different. And also very inaccurate.
Truly awful quarterbacks tend to play for truly awful teams, and the Chiefs are certainly that, their laughable 2012 pro-bowl list aside. It stands to reason that Brady Quinn would be more successful here than he was in Cleveland, Denver, or Kansas City. Yet I still can’t get over how bad Quinn was last year. He was one extreme outlier performance away from playing at a Ryan Lindley level, and Ryan Lindley was a rookie in a hopeless situation (on a team that had the NFL’s toughest schedule).
Quinn’s career numbers are right in line with 2011 Curtis Painter. I know he’s not assured a roster spot even if signed, and backups are rarely depended on. But I think I’d rather spend a roster spot on a second kicker than spend one on a second quarterback named Brady Quinn.
The last time that Matt Leinart worked with Pete Carroll, he was hoisting a Heisman trophy in one hand and a national championship trophy in the other. It’s been a precipitous fall from grace since then, and I think it’s more than fair to question Leinart’s desire to play the game at this point. He truly seems to have “checked out” emotionally and mentally some time ago.
He’s also left handed. As a fellow lefty I would normally be a fan, but I only see disadvantages with flipping formations, especially when we have a left guard who always wants to play on the left. And if Seattle wanted to add a read option cabaple quarterback, that’s not Leinart.
Seneca Wallace. Tyler Thigpen. Matt Leinart. Brady Quinn. Those are the quarterbacks the Seahawks brought in for a look-see this past week. Leave no stone unturned, indeed.
As a very young kid living in Spokane, myself and a friend would go out in the countryside during the summer and flip rocks looking for crickets. It was all fun and games until one day my friend flipped over a rock and was oblivious to a black widow less than two inches from his hand. It took him several seconds to notice. A black widow bite to the hand of a 7 year old is bad news. Thankfully, black widows are not as aggressive as people think, and nobody was hurt. That was the last time we ever flipped a rock looking for crickets, though.
It is often believed that there is no harm in looking at bad players. That said, I think the Mariners would probably be better off right now without Jason Bay or Raul Ibanez. They had to clear out a better, younger player in Casper Wells to make room for them. ESPN’s Ed Werder is “reporting” that the workout competition appears to be down to Brady Quinn and Matt Leinart now. What if Josh Portis or an interesting 2013 draft pick is the one who becomes expendable for the likes or those two? I trust our front office- “trust” is an understatement- but they are not immune to questionable roster cuts. Why tempt a mistake? Even if none of those quarterbacks make the final roster, they are still using preseason reps that would be better served with another option, and I have one such option in mind.
Please excuse me for my long winded and meandering preamble. However I felt was necessary to set the table for the first of my preferred offseason moves that remain for the taking. There is an obvious remaining candidate for Seattle’s backup job, and as yet he hasn’t yet been connected to the Seahawks. That player is Tarvaris Jackson. Funny enough. At first it seemed like a crazy idea, but the more I mulled on it the more I realized it was the best move the Seahawks can make to address the backup job outside of the NFL draft.
Jackson had a mixed performance as the Seahawks starter in 2011. He was terrible at the start behind a then miserable offensive line. Then he appeared to turn the corner against the Falcons and Giants. Then he got hurt. Then he struggled with up and down performances. Yet near the end of that season Jackson seemed to be getting healthy and back on track. He had a 93 passer rating over his final five starts as a Seahawk. Now, passer rating isn’t a perfect stat and there is certainly a difference between a “sexy” 93 passer rating and an “ugly” 93 passer rating. It wouldn’t be unfair to put Tarvaris Jackson in that ugly but good category- similar to Alex Smith under Jim Harbaugh.
Still, it was a promising end to the season for Jackson, and the Seahawks “primary model” during the 2012 offseason had Tarvaris Jackson remaining the starter (with competition brought in to push him). Seattle did not plan nor expect to acquire Matt Flynn until his price fell through the floor, and they did not expect third round pick Russell Wilson to be ready to start so quickly. Tarvaris Jackson became the NFL’s best and most expensive 3rd string quarterback. The deal that sent him to Buffalo was in no way an indictment. It saved the team $4 million in cap space which will roll into future cap figures, and it netted the team a draft pick.
Tarvaris Jackson signed back with Buffalo on a one year deal this past February. Contrary to what some people appear to believe, Jackson was never available to Seattle this year as a free agent. Jackson signed with Buffalo because he believed he’d have a real chance to start in 2013. Since then the Bills acquired Kevin Kolb on a pricey two-year contract. It also appears that the Bills are undetered from drafting a franchise quarterback prospect early. Given the large salary difference between Jackson and Kolb and the likely nature of a high draft pick at quarterback, it stands to reason that Jackson is doomed to be a 3rd stringer in Buffalo next season.
Jackson’s cap hit this season is only $1.75 million, which is a very good price for a #2 quarterback. It might be a bit rich for a #3 though, and that could lead to Jackson being cut by the Bills in late August. If Seattle wanted, they could swoop in and sign Jackson then. Obviously, the Seahawks are no stranger to signings in late August and early September. The downside is that Buffalo might not release him at all, and even if they did, Jackson would arrive here without a single preseason rep with the team. That’s hardly ideal for a #2 quarterback. I’d prefer to acquire Jackson before the preseason begins. I’m sure Buffalo would be amenable, especially if it means getting a 2013 draft pick (they only have six of them, and they didn’t receive any compensatory selections). Given the circumstances, I’m sure Buffalo would be all over it if Seattle offered a 7th rounder for Jackson.
It’s funny, because we got a 7th round pick from Buffalo dealing Jackson in the first place. Having lost Buffalo’s 7th in the Harvin trade and gaining two more from compensation picks, Seattle still has a whopping four 7th round picks. No other team has more 7th rounders than Seattle does, and no other roster is tougher for a 7th round pick to make. Is the difference between Matt Leinart / Brady Quinn and Tarvaris Jackson worth one of those 7th rounders? I would say yes. I would say hell yes.
We know what we have in Jackson, he knows our playbook, our offensive coordinator, and all of the team’s leading receivers, including Percy Harvin. We probably won’t win a superbowl with Jackson, but could we go 4-2 with Jackson on this team if Wilson misses six games? I think we could, yes. And don’t forget, Jackson gives us a read option backup. I have to assume he won’t hurt himself on his first keeper during his second go around here. To me, this is a complete no brainer, and while it appears he won’t be a Seahawk this month, I do think he’ll end up a Seahawk again.
Antoine Winfield: the latest victim of NFL ageism
When I first heard about Seattle’s interest in former Vikings corner Antoine Winfield, my initial response was instantly, unthinkingly dismissive. I must confess, I am far from an expert on the NFL outside of my own team. All I saw was an over thirty player at a position where the Seahawks have perpetually attempted to get younger and younger. And with fantastic results in doing so. What sense is there in replacing a 32 year old Marcus Trufant with a soon to be 36 year old Antoine Winfield?
Well after actually looking into Winfield’s track record and situation, I’ve quickly reversed course. He was released last month because 36 year olds that don’t play quarterback almost never make $7.25 million in salary. Winfield is not your average 36 year old though. He’s had 3 pro-bowl seasons and even an all-pro honor, and those seasons occurred during his age 31, 32, and 33 seasons. He did not make the pro-bowl in 2012, but he had one of his best seasons last year at age 35 (more on that in a moment). Obviously, we’re dealing with a late peak player here. Antoine Winfield’s career path is not like most players, so we shouldn’t compare him to the typical mid-thirties player. This always has to be a consideration when dealing with players over 30. You wouldn’t treat a 30 year old London Fletcher the same way you’d treat a 30 year old Lofa Tatupu.
Here’s a highlight video of Winfield. It contains plays throughout his career and lacks anything from the 2012 season, but I still found it informative of his ability.
Yes, this is a highlight video- not a scouting tool- but even from this you can see the physicality, the closing ability, and the tackling ability which are all extremely impressive for any player, especially one well into his 30s.
Winfield may be old, he may be short, and he may be small, but few players can close and finish like he can. In an odd sense Winfield fits what our secondary needs the most- a hyper quick player with the physicality of a big corner. Try to imagine Sherman, Browner, Winfield, and Thurmond in dime formations.
Last year- Winfield’s age 35 season- he had 101 tackles. As a corner. To put that in perspective, rookie sensation Lofa Tatupu had 104 tackles. As a middle linebacker. In Winfield’s fully healthy seasons he’s posted the following tackle numbers: 101, 91, 95, 97, 98, 107, and 80. You’d think a 101 tackle season for a corner would have to be a fluke, but it turns out it’s not. Tackles are a flawed stat and can be a negative indicator for a corner since it implies being targeted more frequently. That said, Pro Football Focus ranked Winfield as the NFL’s #1 run defense corner last year and also noted that he did not allow a touchdown in the passing game all season.
I think it’s telling that Winfield refused a paycut last month. How many soon to be 36 year old defensive backs making $7+ million refuse a pay cut? Obviously, he must still believe he has a lot of good football left. There is a reason why Minnesota is working hard to get him back, and why the Redskins are making a charge as well. It’s not every day you see three playoff teams fighting over a 36 year old corner.
Of course, Seattle could just draft a corner and in doing so get younger while saving a little money. I’m a big fan of Walter Thurmond and adding Winfield would diminish his role on the team. Winfield has some durability concerns as he’s missed significant time in three of his previous six seasons. Seattle doesn’t have a lot of cap room to work with. This is a good year to draft a corner in the mid to late rounds. I get all of that.
But I also think the Seahawks will be a better team with Winfield than without him. This is not your typical mid-thirties free agent we’re talking about here. Winfield would make our defense better. Maybe a lot better.
Edit #1: I just stumbled across the Vikings SBNation reaction to Winfield being released last month, which described the move as “shocking.” It’s not every day you see a fanbase react with shock when a player is released to avoid a $7+ million cap hit during their age 36 season.
Wow….it’s still sinking in.
I’ll say it again: wow.
Antoine Winfield has been the anchor of the Vikings‘ secondary for the past nine seasons. He is one of the best tackling cornerbacks in the league. Check that–he’s one of the best tackling cornerbacks in the history of the league. Winfield has been the one consistent force in an otherwise tumultuous stretch of players and quality for Minnesota’s defensive backfield. He had 606 tackles, 21 interceptions, eleven forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, five return touchdowns (two fumble returns, two pick sixes, and one blocked field goal return), three Pro Bowls, innumerable big plays, and a partridge in a pear tree over the past nine seasons.
And now he’s gone.
Getting rid of Percy Harvin was one thing. We saw the writing on the wall with our talented malcontent wide receiver. It wasn’t if he would leave the Vikings, it was when. Moving Harvin now while the team could get some solid compensation was understandable.
But Winfield? I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t make sense. He is basically everything you’d ever want in a football player. He’s smart. He’s a leader. He leads by example. And by all accounts, he was even better off the field.
I wonder how Vikings fans will react if Seattle rolls with Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Antoine Winfield next season.
Edit #2: Nevermind, they already have an article talking about it, humorously titled “Vikings West Likely To Grab Another Player.”
Just accept it now- in our meeting with Seattle this season, we will face not only Percy Harvin, but now Antoine Winfield as well. Did I mention they also have Heath Farwell and Sidney Rice?
Did I mention that the Seahawks have over $3 million dollars more than we do in cap space? Because that’s pretty important, too.
A few green comments in that second article:
Seattle really pisses me off…
Winfield a Seahawk? Disturbing.
In general, it sounds as though Vikings fans desperately want Winfield back, even if he is a soon to be 36 year old nickle corner.