Monday, October 1, 2012

Quarterback controversy leaves folks sleepless in Seattle

By Kshell

The Seattle Seahawks recent 19-13 loss to the St.Louis Rams has caused a quarterback controversy. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson struggled as he threw three interceptions in the loss to the Rams. For the fourth straight week Wilson has thrown for under 200 yards as well. The Seahawks currently have the #1 rushing attack in the NFL, the #2 defense and are just 2-2 because their passing offense ranks last. For third year head coach Pete Carroll is facing an uncomfortable quaterback controversy. Sitting behind Wilson is Matt Flynn who the Seahawks had signed to be their starting quarterback. Due to Wilson's preseason play and perhaps Flynn's sore elbow Carroll decided to go with Wilson to start this year. Now in this following post I'll go over what each quarterback brings to the table while also acknowledging each quarterbacks flaws. I also talk about how the play calling regardless of who is quarterback must improve. As well as I bring up another quarterback controversy that almost sank a franchise quarterback and his third year head coach.

Russell Wilson the current starting quarterback is struggling this year. He is 60-100(60.0%) passing for 594 yards(5.9 YPA) with four touchdowns and four interceptions. His quarterback rating is 73.5 and has 80 yards rushing. Wilson has been hurt by poor wide receiver play and terrible play calling by Darrell Bevell. Wilson brings good intangibles to the table and appears to be the future in Seattle. However, he gets flushed too much when he faces a blitz and can't seem to locate his men down field. His size is hurting him and thus the Seahawks. He has a good running game as Marshawn Lynch this year has ran for 423 yards(4.6 YPC) in four games with two touchdown. He is supported by a great defense which constantly gives him good field position yet the Seahawks are averaging just 17.5 points per game. It's not all Wilson's fault but as quarterback he must shoulder some of the blame.

Matt Flynn was brought in to start for the Seahawks as he signed a 3 year 19 million dollar deal this offseason. During this preseason Flynn was 28-39(71.8%) passing for 204 yards(5.2 YPA) with one touchdown and one interception. His rating was 81.6 and he was hurt by a costly Terrell Owens dropped touchdown against Denver. He has proven he can play well in the NFL too as he had one big breakout game last season against the Detroit Lions where he was 31-44(70.5%) passing for 480 yards(10.9 YPA) with six touchdowns to just one interception. Flynn's rating for the game was 136.4 as he beat out Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers for most passing yards and touchdowns in a single game for Packers history.

The knock of Flynn is he has only started two games in his NFL career. He was a backup in college for three years and a backup in Green Bay for four seasons. Another knock on Flynn is that he isn't mobile so Wilson who avoids a lot of sacks might see Flynn get sacked. Flynn also had a better supporting cast in his tune up games with Green Bay than he will in Seattle. Flynn currently has a "sore elbow" which is still debatable if true or not. However it was sore enough for him to miss a preseason start which allowed Wilson to start to begin with. The main knock against Flynn is that nobody outside of Seattle wanted him this past offseason. Mike Holmgren of the Cleveland Browns passed on him to draft Brandon Weeden. His old offensive coordinator in Green Bay Joe Philbin became the head coach for the Miami Dolphins who needed a quarterback. The Dolphins passed on Flynn as well which should be a red flag. Bottom line is regardless of who Carroll chooses the play calling must improve as both quarterbacks are inexperienced right now.

In 2001 then third year head coach Mike Holmgren brought in Matt Hasselbeck to his starting quarterback of the future. Hasselbeck was completely unproven as he had only attempted 29 passes in his career prior to being traded to Seattle. The Baltimore Ravens had just released super bowl winning quarterback Trent Dilfer to back up Hasselbeck. That is where the problems began as the Seahawks hada playoff roster that year but Hasselbeck simply wasn't ready. The Seahawks had gone 9-7 that year but were 5-7 in Hasselbeck's starts while going 4-0 in Dilfers.

Hasselbeck that year was 176-321(54.8%) passing for 2,023 yards(6.3 YPA) with seven touchdowns to eight interceptions with a quarterback rating of 70.9. While Dilfer was 73-122(59.8%) passing for 1,014 yards(8.3 YPA) with seven touchdowns to four interceptions good for a quarterback rating of 92.0. The Seahawks missed the playoffs by one game losing two close games when Hasselbeck had started. Holmgren benched Hasselbeck to end the year and the city had turned on Hasselbeck as the franchise decided to go with Dilfer. Hasselbeck was public enemy #1 in Seattle as the sports were doing well with the Mariners winning 116 games and the Huskies coming off of a Rose Bowl championship season.

The following season Dilfer was named starting quarterback. He would immediately get hurt in the first preseason game(first game at Seahawks stadium) and Hasselbeck would come in to a shower of boo's. The fans wanted Dilfer and wanted Hasselbeck gone. Holmgren now in year four was running on thin ice with this franchise as well as he was only 24-24 after three seasons. His decision to go with Hasselbeck cost the Seahawks the playoffs in 2001 and the fans didn't forgive either guy.

Well in 2002 in the middle of the season Dilfer got hurt so the franchise had no choice but to go with Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck played well down the stretch as the Seahawks went from 4-9 to 7-9 saving Holmgren's job. The following year Hasselbeck was the guy but whenever he struggled you still had that small contingent of fans yelling at the games "put in Dilfer". Hasselbeck would lead the Seahawks to the playoffs in 2003 and 2004. When the Seahawks traded Dilfer after 2004 the quarterback controversy was forever gone. Hasselbeck could relax and led the franchise to the Super Bowl in 2005. His jersey was the most popular jersey in the city as he was the most popular athlete in the city. Holmgren of course ended up winning four straight division titles from 2004-07. I feel like fans forgot that chapter in the Holmgren/Hasselbeck era of Seattle sports.

I think Carroll should make the switch to Flynn. He was brought in to start at quarterback and played well enough in preseason to not lose his job. I think Flynn can handle the pressure better than Wilson as he can see downfield more. He proved on his deep pass to Terrell Owens he can crank up a deep throw. I also fear Wilson is headed towards the Hasselbeck path of 2001-02 where the fans start to turn on him. This team has the #2 defense and #1 rushing attack. This is a playoff team and this fan base is starving for wins. I would hate for Wilson's career to be ruined before it even begins. Hasselbeck got lucky in that Dilfer was injured or who knows how his career in Seattle turns out? You can't expect that to happen again. I think you go with Flynn and see what he can bring to the table as Wilson learns. I'm not writing off Wilson but he is a rookie and I felt when he was drafted he'd compete with Flynn for the job in the second year not his first year.

Regardless of who is the quarterback this entire offense needs to improve. Doesn't matter if Flynn starts over Wilson if they continue to get stupid penalties that kills drives, dropping passes or not running Lynch on third and shorts. I'd also like to see the offense throw short safe passes on first down to get the quarterback in rhythm, The Seahawks face a four game stretch where they will be underdogs in all four games and a coach who is 16-20 right now can't afford to drop to 2-6 in year three. I think Flynn gives you the best chance right now while also helping your future with Wilson developing behind him. I don't want the city to turn on Wilson as that is my fear after this game. I also think Flynn could make a few more plays than Wilson which given that the Seahawks two losses were both close that could be enough. This is a difficult decision for Carroll who has yet to find a quarterback since getting rid of Matt Hasselbeck. Either way whoever the quarterback is the Seahawks must help him out or it won't matter who the quarterback is.

No comments:

Post a Comment