Thoughts on Seattle’s QB situation & Austin Davis

July 22nd, 2011 | Written by Rob Staton

Just a few thoughts that are on my mind…

The Seahawks quarterback situation

Chris Sullivan at Thirty Acre Fortress tweeted information today from a source suggesting Carson Palmer was Pete Carroll’s #1 choice to be the Seahawks starting quarterback next season. He also suggested any such deal would be dependant on price. The information goes along with what we’ve previously reported on this blog.

A lot of the talk amongst Seattle’s media over the last 24 hours has been based around a report from John Clayton that the Seahawks may decide against making another offer to Matt Hasselbeck and that Tavaris Jackson could be signed as a replacement starter. None of the sources we use have suggested the team are ruling out keeping Hasselbeck in Seattle. Far from it in fact. I’ve long maintained on this blog the feeling that Palmer or Hasselbeck will be the team’s starter next year. Could they sign Jackson to replace JP Losman as competition and backup? Sure.

However, the concept of Jackson signing to start is unrealistic and is not a suggestion our sources have made to us. The connection is obvious because Darrell Bevell worked with Jackson in Minnesota, but that alone is not reason enough to suggest a deal is imminent. Repeatedly the two names that have cropped up in discussion with our sources are Palmer and Hasselbeck, which does make complete sense. They’re both veteran starters, they are both potential bridge quarterbacks. Palmer has a significant age bonus of four years, but Hasselbeck has familiarity with the team.

I understand – and have had this validated by others – that the Seahawks would’ve been willing to use the #25 overall pick in this year’s draft on a quarterback before the lockout arrived on the scene. They were willing to use that pick to pay Cincinnati for Palmer and went back to the negotiating table with the Bengals after learning they could sign the younger Kevin Kolb for the same price.

Cincinnati – who are more willing to deal than many people assume – eventually settled on a package of picks believed to be a 5th rounder and a conditional third. It wasn’t just Seattle’s purported interest in Kolb that saw the price drop dramatically. Palmer’s huge contract, nessecity to re-negotiate to confirm a trade and desire to move to the Pacific North West also played a part. The Bengals don’t want to be left paying such a big contract or potential drama if Palmer tries to force a trade by turning up to camp. With a salary cap floor included in the new CBA, this also creates a major potential pitfall with Palmer holding all the cards. 

Have things changed since those discussions between the teams months ago? I’m not sure and of course I wouldn’t rule it out. I’m not completely naive to think Mike Brown isn’t capable of putting a spanner in the works. Even so, he wants to move on. Both Palmer and the Bengals mutually agreed to do so at the end of last season and the media war that followed came about because the team held a press conference announcing Palmer had requested a trade. I can only presume this move was made to orchestrate a strong bargaining position, making it seem that the Bengals had not initiated a potential deal and could drive a hard bargain. Palmer’s response was, as we know, to threaten retirement and stop the Bengals receiving any compensation. Mike Brown’s stance has predictably been ever since, ‘go ahead’ and why not seeing as no trade can be completed during a lockout?

So this is my projection based on what I’ve sourced, what others like Chris have reported and considering the characters involved. If the Bengals and Seahawks have agreed suitable compensation, Carson Palmer will be the next starting quarterback of the Seahawks. If the Bengals play hard ball on the price or make new demands – and let’s be fair here, these are talks that could be happening right now for all we know – then the Seahawks are more likely to be aggressive in their pursuit of re-signing Matt Hasselbeck. The end result? Palmer or Hasselbeck in Seahawks blue. That’s what we said months ago, that’s what we’d say now.

Austin Davis the man to watch

I spoke earlier this week about my admiration for Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis. His numbers are impressive – in three years with the Golden Eagles, he’s claimed most of Brett Favre’s quarterback records and notched 74 total touchdowns compared to just 16 interceptions. Last year he passed for 3103 yards, ran for 452 more and scored 30 total touchdowns. He completed 63% of his passes.

He’s an athletic quarterback not only capable of making plays with his legs, but also avoiding pressure. Despite playing behind a suspect offensive line, he was sacked just 17 times. Cam Newton was sacked 23 times in 2010, Greg McElroy was sacked 30 times at Alabama and Matt Barkley – with Tyron Smith and Matt Kalil on the offensive line at USC – 16 times.

Although he doesn’t have the cannon arm, it’s certainly not a weakness. I’m led to believe he’s added weight and improved from a 2010 listed 208lbs to 220lbs for the upcoming season, which could improve his arm strength if it’s upper-body muscle. Certainly he had room on a frame that measures around 6-2 to add some muscle. Is the height an issue? He doesn’t look small on tape and certainly I didn’t notice any issues with passes being batted down at the line of scrimmage. His passing technique is sound, including release and weight distribution.

Davis reportedly drew rave reviews at the Manning Passing Academy recently, which was attended by Andrew Luck and other top name QB’s. He supposedly impressed Archie Manning in particular and reached the final of the accuracy drills alongside Landry Jones.

Indeed the weight gain, if it’s in the right areas, makes me believe this is a guy that truly appreciates what he has to do to max out his potential. If he maintains his athleticism with the extra weight, continues to put up productive numbers and potentially leads Southern Miss to an unbeaten season against a favorable schedule, then I’m convinced he’ll improve his stock to a national level and not just this blog.

At the moment I have Davis with a grade in rounds two or three, with room for improvement. He’s right up there with Kirk Cousins and Landry Jones and warrants a lot more discussion than people are giving him right now.

10 Responses to “Thoughts on Seattle’s QB situation & Austin Davis”

  1. Ivotuk says:

    Great stuff Rob! Watched a couple highlight videos of this kid and he seems to have “it” it’s almost like he snaps the ball out of his hand with his wrist and has what appears to me to be a quick overhead throwing motion.

    Thanks for bringing him to light as I am definitely going to keep an eye on him this summer.

    • Rob says:

      I think you’re right Ivotuk – there is an ‘it’ factor or ‘eye test’ for quarterbacks and from what I’ve seen so far Davis has it. Athleticism, leadership, field awareness, decent accuracy and touch and a passable arm. He’s not a spectacularly polished player that Andrew Luck or a dynamic athlete like Cam Newton, but I can see him starting on Sunday’s. Definitely one to watch.

      • Ivotuk says:

        Could see him having a career similar to Hasselbecks except it looks like Austin has a better deep ball than Matt, and he’s easily more mobile. I saw Davis slide in one clip, something MH still hasn’t mastered :) I like his decision making too, at one point he started to throw the ball but pulled it down and ran instead leaving me looking for where the ball went. The 10-15 minutes of video available just isn’t enough, I’ll have to see if I can catch some of Southern Mississippis games this year.

  2. Ivotuk says:

    Great stuff Rob! Watched a couple highlight videos of this kid and he seems to have “it” it’s almost like he snaps the ball out of his hand with his wrist and has what appears to me to be a quick overhead throwing motion.

    Thanks for bringing him to light as I am definitely going to keep an eye on him this summer.

  3. Mike says:

    Here’s something to chew on:

    Pete Carroll is the second oldest coach in the league. He’ll be 60 at the start of this season. While that isn’t ancient, it is getting up there. He seems to defy age with his bounding around the sideline, hooting and hollering, being “pumped and jacked”, and twittering constantly. Will he still do this at 70? 65? I only bring this up to question whether or not his age has anything to do with his acquisition of players and how he builds the team.

    For the most part, younger, stronger, bigger, faster is good for an NFL team. Carroll and John Schneider have shown that they fully embrace this and have tried to turn over the roster with that mantra largely in mind. However, the QB position is a completely different animal. Experience, intelligence, arm strength, accuracy, pocket awareness, leadership–completely different skills are required. My question is, will Pete Carroll’s age and desire to win now influence who he selects as his QB for this year? If so, does that have long term ramifications on the franchise?

    If we bring in Carson Palmer, what is our upside this year? 9 wins? It would be great to win 9 games. The Seahawks could be competent for the next 3-4 years with Palmer if all else goes well. Competent. Not great. I’m not suggesting that we tank this season for an unknown commodity (Luck, etc.) at QB, just bringing up the thought that maybe Pete Carroll’s age will color his selection of the most important position on the roster.

    I understand that “you play to win the game”, but as a franchise you also need to have a long term vision. What is our long-term vision at QB?

    Just a thought.

    • Ivotuk says:

      I don’t think his age affects his decision making at all. People are active much later in life now and Pete is more active than most. I could easily see him coaching another 6+ years. IMHO, it doesn’t matter who is at the helm come draft day 2012, PC & Co will draft the best available QB to groom for the future.

  4. Cliff says:

    Rob i get the feeling that if we’re out of the Luck sweepstakes we’ll probably fall in love with one of the other prospects and go after one of the “2nd tier” QBs such as Cousins or Davis in the 2nd round.

    • MeatWad says:

      I get that feeling too. Luck will probably go to the Panthers as the first pick, kidding. It would be kind of funny. I see a couple other teams like Bengals, with a broken team, tough division and schedule getting the first pick. Washington, Buffalo, and Arizona will probably get a chance in the sweeps. Too bad, would love to see some Luck go the Hawks way. At least this should prove to be a decent QB class coming up next year.

  5. hawk280 says:

    Rob, check out this player spotlite video made by C-USA on Austin Davis.

    http://conferenceusa.cstv.com/allaccess/?media=250880