Saturday links

Jason Cole at Yahoo sports has written yet another negative article about Pete Carroll. In other news, the world still rotates around the sun. “There are many derivations on the basic theme of finding and committing to a good quarterback. Or you could be like Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and continuously date.”

Cole later appeared on ESPN 710 to speak with Brock and Salk (see below for audio). On this blog we’ve spent a lot of time discussing Seattle’s need for ‘one guy’ at quarterback. At the same time, any reasonable person understands they haven’t had a realistic opportunity to commit like that. Cole’s argument that they could’ve traded up for Jake Locker and Christian Ponder in 2011 renders his position nonsensical. Those two players were considered reaches, yet the Seahawks were supposed to trade at least two first round picks to draft one? Just to have ‘a guy’?

Sometimes a journalist has to take a step back. Cole needs to take several steps back.

Albert Breer takes a more reasoned approach and discusses the level of intrigue surrounding the quarterback battle’s in Seattle and San Francisco. Breer: “Two competitive piece veterans and a promising young player fighting for time in Seattle, and a starter playing to keep his job with a young player fighting to prove he’s the answer long-term in San Francisco. And around those guys are two nicely rebuilt clubs with plenty to be excited about in 2012. Maybe that dynamic won’t make either of these teams the surest bet to be visiting the Superdome in February. But it sure will be interesting to follow.”

Dennis Dillon says Bruce Irvin had to overcome a lot of obstacles to realise his dream of playing in the NFL. Dillon: “One day last summer, West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich stood on a second-floor balcony of the Puskar Center, the football facility that adjoins the Mountaineers’ stadium. Defensive end Bruce Irvin walked onto the field. He wore shorts and flip-flops. Not realizing that two pairs of eyes were watching him, Irvin casually jumped over a six-foot football dummy and then continued on his way. That’s not the sole reason the Seahawks chose Irvin with the 15th overall pick in the NFL draft, but his athleticism surely played a part.”

Len Pasquarelli isn’t sold on Russell Wilson and says some teams didn’t even consider him on their draft board. Pasquarelli: “Seattle officials constantly point to Wilson’s over-the-top delivery and high release point, and his strong arm, but those things may not be sufficient for him to mount a march to the starting job. Wilson overcame a lot of odds in his college career, but his height had him off the draft boards of a few teams last month, and some of Carroll’s colleagues in the NFL privately question using a third-round pick on a prospect who, competitiveness aside, was graded by some as just a career No. 3 guy.”

Adam Schefter argues in this video for ESPN that Wilson will absolutely contend to start this year and will probably take the role “sooner rather than later”. Schefter: “They really do like Russell Wilson.”

Dan Pompei quotes John Schneider on Wilson and looks at whether he (and Kellen Moore) will be tall enough to succeed. Pompei: “What is interesting is neither Moore nor Wilson had a problem seeing over linemen or getting off passes in college. Of course, the NFL is a different game, but some things remain the same at the next level. These numbers, courtesy of the Stats Ice system, might surprise you. Only two of Wilson’s incompletions were deflected at the line of scrimmage last season and only five of Moore’s were batted at the line. Moore threw 439 passes; Wilson had 309. That compares favorably to the four first round quarterbacks.”


  1. Jim

    There is “considerable skepticism” that Pasquarelli can ever be more than a hack writer. Maybe he should look for writing work somewhere outside of NFL football ’cause this dumb shit doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. A pure HACK and write wannabe.

  2. Kip Earlywine

    Pasquarelli and Cole are old school football minds, so it doesn’t surprise me that they struggle to appreciate what this front office is doing. I don’t mean this as a slam on either of them, but I honestly don’t care what they think. They don’t “get it”, so their opinion on this subject is benign and meaningless.

    I’m sure it’s the same for Pete Carroll and John Schneider. They don’t care what others think because only a few actually understand what Seattle is doing. As Brock and Salk put it, Pete Carroll is “the honey badger” coach. He doesn’t give a shit, he just takes what he wants.

    • Meat

      Agreed. 100%.

      Cole appears to struggle with any approach that may deviate from the mean. Perhaps simple minded? Either way I found his article silly and more trollling than anything else. The best QB on the team needs to start, who that is? Well, they need to find that out by having an open competition, and competition brings the best out of athletes. Sports IS a competition. So his idea that a QB should be crowned and flowers thrown to his feet is silly. I think Sanchez and how his attitude and not living up to his potential is a QB that should have been placed into an open competition. Tebow may give something in that arena this year, but it would have behooved the Jets the past couple years. Cole’s head is stupid. I wish his face wasn’t posted on his articles because it makes it even more difficult to take the piece seriously.

  3. John

    I actually read that Cole article awhile before seeing it here. But hearing him on the radio… what a moron. He never gave a legitimate argument to address the “well who could we have drafted besides Andy Dalton” rebutle. “They could’ve traded up for Ponder or Locker” (both of which haven’t shown they can win consistently btw) He never gave a better solution than that. How many times did I hear “I dunno I just think you need to take care of that right off the bat.” Oh yeah, and we should’ve held the Panthers or Colts at gunpoint to trade the number 1 pick. And Tannehill in the first over Wilson in the third? You serious? Seattle should’ve traded up… for Ryan Tannehill… I do not believe in that guy at all. I was praying he went off the board early, and soon everyone in the country will realize he is a bust.

    “I believe Tannehill has all the physical qualities to succeed… if he can just work on handling the pressure better” – I believe he said something like that. Seriously? You can’t teach the “clutch gene”. Russell Wilson has every other measurable and immeasurable out there. Just height. Tannehill, in my opinion, is lacking in more areas than Wilson. I am not all in on Wilson, just because, its soooo rare for a short QB to succeed, but I’d take Wilson in the third of Tannehill in the first (or at all really) any day.

    Ok ok… rant over. Just… that guy sounds like someone who doesn’t know anything and just rehashes mainstream opinions.

    • Meat

      LOL. I read that last week I think too and like I mentioned above it reinstated my thinking that Cole is a troll. He is now in a position which he has to stay with his argument despite how flawed and even taking a step back he doesn’t appear to type to concede. I feel more sports writers should not base the writings on their thoughts. If his thoughts were that great he would have been coaching to begin with, or at least in the thick of things within a pro orginazation.

      I wish his article was open to comments. It would benefit the guy if he had a discussion with Rob or Kip. Blaine was missing from his argument because he statistically was downright horrible last year.

  4. James

    Rob, while searching the archives I came across your top 50 prospects for 2011, written a year ago last May. You projected Bruce Irvin as the #8 overall prospect! You should have stayed with your original impressions…. LOL. Maybe your “tip” on Courtney Upshaw was to throw you off the scent. After all, John and Pete would not want the most respected Seahawks local/insider draft blog touting Bruce all year long (when they were secretly targeting him)…. have to deflect the attention elsewhere.

  5. Mike

    I agree with John. Cole is rant worthy. His assertion that the model for success is picking your QB, with a new coach, and then building the team around him is easily refuted. How is that scenario working for Sam Bradford? The year to year decline in confidence and skill has been obvious. Brock alluded to this by asking about Roethlisberger going to a ready built Pittsburgh rather than Cinci. Cole muddled through the answer without answering the question by pointing out that Wilson and Flynn are not as good as Roethlisberger. The logic of Brock’s question wasn’t even acknowledged.

  6. A. Simmons

    The most amusing aspect of Jason Cole’s article I wish someone had pointed out to him is that he uses two Hall of Fame, multiple Super Bowl winning coaches who eventually chose two Hall of Fame Super Bowl winning QBs. Tom Landry eventually chose Roger Staubach and Jimmy Johnson eventually chose Troy Aikman. This would be the equivalent of me arguing a poor investment strategy using Warren Buffet as an example of why not to do something. How can you take seriously an article that uses the “competition at QB is bad because it makes the QBs involved unhappy” argument when both of the QBs mentioned attained the highest level of success with the end result. That’s just dumb.

    “But quarterback is a different animal. Quarterbacks are leaders. Quarterbacks require time and effort to develop. Quarterbacks aren’t interchangeable. Dallas tried to do it more than 40 years ago with Roger Staubach and Craig Morton under coach Tom Landry. It didn’t work. Dallas tried it again years later with Troy Aikman and Steve Walsh under coach Jimmy Johnson. No go.”

    If this is not working, then I don’t know what is. That Tom Landry sure didn’t know what he was doing making Roger Staubach compete for the job. Just look at the results. And Jimmy Johnson doing the same thing making Troy Aikman compete for the job. What was he thinking? They both ruined Dallas, just ruined them. They should have stroked and petted their QBs egos and made them feel special. Then maybe they would have gotten better results like four Super Bowls intead of three or two. Both QBs might have gone to somewhere even better than the Hall of Fame. Not sure what Jason Cole feels that place is, but he really must believe that Landry and Johnson mismanaged the QB position on some kind of factual basis, right? They just didn’t get enough out of their QBs. Boy, we shoulld all be disappointed if Pete mismanages the QB position and we end up with losers like Aikman and Staubach. That would be a real disappointment.

  7. Belgaron

    Thank you for posting this topic.

    While Cole is right that a team should stick with a quarterback for the longer term, he is wrong in thinking that the Seattle Seahawks haven’t made an attempt to do exactly that. They hoped that Charlie Whitehurst could emerge as the guy and had he done so they would have stuck with him 3+ years. Unfortunately, CW did not have what they were looking for in leadership, athleticism, or ability once he got his opportunity. They gave TJack that same opportunity last year, and while it is still a matter of time before they pull the plug on his run, they would have stuck with him 3+ years as well. So my point would be that Pete Carol and John Schneider are willing and ready to commit to “their guy” at QB as soon as he is found in actuality in fulfilling his role.

    Look at the flipside where an organization followed the letter of what Cole is prescribing. The University of Washington stuck with Tyrone Willingham for a full 3 years from 2005-2008 to its near destruction both as a program and on the field. The Seattle Mariners and its President, Chuck “Clueless” Armstrong stuck with Bill Bavasi from 2004-2008. The Mariners are still paying for that guys mistakes. In both of these instances, there were early signs that these guys should have been flushed but the organizations followed what Cole is prescribing and stuck with them for 3+ years. The results speak for themselves.

    An organization should only stick with a starting QB if they have demonstrated that they deserve the commitment. As soon as Seahawks have that, the will stick with him and develop him even more. Saying they should have done otherwise is saying Whitehurst should be the starter this year.

  8. Rob Staton

    I’ve added a piece by Dan Pompei. See the bottom of the article.

  9. Phil

    How well does the Seahawks starting QB have to play this year to convince the front office that they shouldn’t chase the QBOTF by drafting a QB in the first round next year?

    As a point of reference, Hasselbeck had the following stats in his first season with the Seahawks; 12 games, 176/321 (54.8%), 7 TDs/8 INTs, 70.9 QB rating.

    Will the fans and the front office be patient and give Flynn/Wilson time to develop if they post similar numbers?

    • Phil

      Just another point of reference, Tarvaris Jackson had the following stats last year, his first with the Seahawks: 16 games, 271/450 (60.2%), 14 TDs/13 INTs, 79.2 QB rating.

      • Jake

        See how statistics lie… Or not, depending on your opinion of Jackson. Good thing I don’t have to make this call. Even the great QB guru Holmgren who staked his job on Hasselbeck waffled after that putrid year he had. Don’t forget that Hasselbeck needed Dilfer to blow his achilles in order to get back on the field after that. Even though he was the hand-picked face of the franchise.

      • A. Simmons

        That’s after 6 years in the league during a season when three QBs broke the yardage record set by Dan Marino and didn’t Cam Newton break some rookie passing record? Matt’s season was his first as a starter.

  10. AlaskaHawk

    Cole is wrong. This is the season where we have to open up the QB position to competition. If they are close in abilities we may even want to play both QBs during the game in season. We have two new Qbs to try out and they both have the potential to be great QBs. But they both also need real time game experience. So it is not unreasonable to put the second starting QB in for a quarter or more in some games. Perhaps in all games. I know that could be divisive and hasn’t worked well for other teams in the past, but it is the best way to really give two rookies that learning experience.

    Cole has written hatchet pieces before and will continue. He just does it to start controversy and get people to read his articles. When we suceed this season he will write another article praising our efforts. I thought it was mean spirited but a lot of sports writing is opinionated.

  11. AlaskaHawk

    Regarding whether to pick the QB first or not. There are sound reasons for doing that. One being that your team has gotten so bad that you are in a position to get draft a top ranked QB. Second being we all agree that QB is the most important position. The problem with that method is that your rookie QB may get mauled in the years it takes to build the team.

    The Seahawks have chosen to build the team first, and then find a QB. The problem with that approach is that our team is good enough that we won’t be picking lower than the mid rounds – and in todays NFL 3-4 QBs will already be taken by mid round. So we never get a shot at Luck, Griffin, Barkley, or any other elite QB.

    Which approach is better? I don’t ever want to see the Seahawks play so badly that we get first pick. Even if we did play that badly, there are other teams like the Colts that might still beat us out. Speaking of the Colts, there is a team that exemplifies the classic pick the QB first approach. Then they added two tight ends to throw to. Lets see how they do in three years!

  12. Steve in Spain

    If you look at the Cole piece narrowly through the prism of the Whitehurst and Jackson acquisition, he hits more closely to the mark. What did Char-Char and Tar-Var do but come in and perform pretty much up to any reasonable expectation? I mean, they were both pretty mediocre prospects as starting QBs from the outset, and mediocre’s what they turned out to be. Still, (I hope) this FO had some sense of conviction about them before bringing them in, so what happened to that conviction? Somewhere the process broke down: either they totally mis-evaluated them both, or they brought in two guys that they didn’t believe in from the beginning. I’m not sure which is worse.

    Personally, I think this is the year they finally got it right. They got two fine QB prospects – one sure-and-steady and one boom-or-bust – and have let them duke it out for the starting job. But I can see how a national pundit could interpret this open competition as part of a pattern of Pete churning through a series of limited QBs that he doesn’t have any sense of conviction in.

  13. Jake

    If you’re the Colts or Panthers and you have the #1 pick – draft your QB and go all in to build around him. I have no beef with that idea. But to suggest that Seattle should have traded away valuable picks (probably multiple 1st round picks) for the opportunity to draft Tannehill, Locker, or Ponder is ridiculous. Jason Cole is not familiar with the Seahawks rebuild, it’s clear from his interview. If he knew we used our mid-round picks on Pro-Bowlers, or that we value EVERY pick properly and not as currency to trade for ONE guy, he’d know why taking a flyer on Ponder, Locker, or Tannehill at the cost of say an Earl Thomas and Golden Tate would not appeal to us.

    Was Whitehurst the guy – no. He has tools though, so the potential was there and it was an inexpensive experiment at a non-starting position. Is Jackson the guy – probably not, but I do not believe he was ever expected to do more than bridge the lock-out season and help the other offensive talent grow in the new offensive system, while getting a season to possibly shock us all and flourish in his first real opportunity. I honestly thought Jackson worked out well last year because his knowledge of the offense allowed most of our offensive players to develop (except BMW).

    Now, on to the second experiment/investment at the position… this one carries significantly more risk (in the eyes of the media). I know it’s novel in today’s NFL, with all the glamour that comes with the QB position, to consider the QB just one of the starting 22; but that’s what we have in Seattle. The offense will be centered around Lynch again this year, which is why getting a backup Lynch was vital. So whoever wins the job will not be asked to carry the load, Lynch, and to a lesser extent Turbin, will be asked to do that.

    I don’t see how both Wilson and Flynn won’t get better from competing for the job with eachother and with Jackson. Maybe it can divide the locker room a bit, but I think PC owns the locker room and the players have all bought in to his vision – so will support whoever PC goes with. Jackson was a warrior, no doubt – but the loyalty to him was a result of PC annointing him the starter upon his signing. There will be some growing pains no matter who wins the job – but PC will play the best guy, I have no doubt about that.

    Both of these guys (Flynn and Wilson) have overcome obstacles and have flourished in sitiuations where they were forced to prove themselves. When Flynn was signed, PC could have announced him as the starter – but that would have put Flynn in unfamiliar territory, so he said he’d compete with Jackson. Enter Wilson, tell him he is in the competition and see how motivated he gets. Get a look at his reaction when you tell him he has a shot – its helping his confidence. I think it’s the perfect approach to get the most out of Flynn and Wilson specifically. Jackson was only named the starter because he had to be – Jackson’s confidence was shot after the Favre deal in Minnesota, he needed to hear how much his coach was committed to him.

  14. TK

    The hawks should have stuck with a QB, and that QB should have been Matt (and then waiting until they could pickup a good guy in FA or the draft). Trading for a 3rd string QB was rediculous, if the guy couldn’t at least get to #2, I didn’t want him. Then you bring in TJ “because he knows the offense” however when we had to essentially run a two minute drill for an entire game to make him successful because “he was still learning the offense” I lost all respect for that arguement.
    Finally we have the old tried and true saying that “MH would have been killed behind that line”. Again I call BS on that because opposing defenses had to be aware of MH, with TJ, the guy couldn’t read the field or the defense, and held onto the ball so dang long of course he got hammered. MH would have had the ball away before the rush, would have called an audible, or something.

    Needless to say, I greatly respect the fact that PC and JS are willing to own up to mistakes and move on. They realized CW was a bust vs. shoving him down our throats for 3 years 1st, and with TJ, I think they have seen the error of their ways there also. I’m excited for the new blood, and would have loved to see Portis get some action last year. Hell I think we would have won a lot more games if we had just had TJ play the 1st 3 quarters then put Portis in.

  15. dave crockett

    Wow. I don’t usually knock a dude on his intelligence, but after listening to Cole on Brock and Salk I want those 13 minutes back. That was some weak, weak, weak, weak “logic.”

    He used the old “I”m just gonna repeat the point I’ve been making; the one that’s already been discredited” trick. I won’t even bother to read the article.

    Once he acknowledges that QB is the hardest position on the field to fill, then his contention that you “go out and get your guy” becomes a non-argument. It’s like starting a sentence with, “First, you gotta go get a Cy Young caliber starter…” Go get a QB is not a strategy, Jason.

    He wasn’t even prepared for the “what about Kevin Kolb?” response from Brock and Salk. Like he’d not really considered it. That’s bad. After all that “going for it” Kolb still isn’t the no-doubt-about-it starter. They tried to throw Cole a rope, basically saying that having no QB is better than throwing money and picks at a guy who can’t play. He was too stupid to take it.

    They could have mentioned how the 49ers were building a defense to mask Alex Smith’s deficiencies–even BEFORE Harbaugh arrived. And note how SF didn’t go bizerk to ensure that Alex Smith came back. They recognize that they went deep in the playoffs precisely because he doesn’t have to carry the mail.

  16. Colin

    Cole is a disgrace. He had his mind made up before he even wrote the article. He came to a conclusion and then has since searched for evidence to back up his “findings”. Disgusting.

    You can’t teach someone who doesn’t want to learn.

  17. Sean

    Did I hear that right? He thinks Manning had a top 2 rookie campaign? I have to call east coast bias on this one. 28 INTs should never be considered in such regard. If I remember correctly, Roethlisberger went 15-1 his rookie year. I prefer getting a good QB with a team already in place, but that is just me.

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