Seahawks Insider

Morning links: Creating competition at QB

Post by Eric Williams on March 27, 2010 at 9:15 am with 54 Comments »
March 27, 2010 9:15 am

Clark Judge of CBS Sports talked to Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll about the importance of creating competition at the quarterback position, using an example of how he did the same thing at USC.

Here’s what Carroll told Judge:

“Everything is a competition for us,” Carroll said. “My job is to put guys in position to show what they can do, find out what they bring uniquely to our team and then pull that into our style of play.

“At the quarterback position, one of the things I like about this is that that statement is so obviously out there: That we’re about competing; about putting our guys into a competitive environment to show what they can bring to our football team.

“So here you are at the quarterback spot where everybody is scared to death of controversy and who’s going to be the guy, but you will see it all unfold. I told [former USC quarterbacks] Carson Palmer, I told Matt Leinart, I told John David Booty and I told Mark Sanchez. Every time those guys went out they were competing for the job. Every single spring football and every fall football camp, and that was the only way we were going to look at it.

“I want Matt to feel our quarterback situation. I want him to feel the guys coming who are battling to come into the game. I want to create that as much as I can; to orchestrate that to bring out the best everybody has to offer.”

Pete Carroll talks to Los Angeles Times reporter Sam Farmer about his reasons for leaving USC to take the job with Seattle in the video below.

ESPN’s John Clayton tells Kevin Calabro and Jim Moore of ESPN 710 Seattle that he believes the Seahawks should select Oklahoma OT Trent Williams at No. 6 and that Clemson running back C.J. Spiller could be in the mix at No. 14 in this audio link. The conversation starts about halfway in.

Denver Post columnist Woody Paige runs down the reasons why he believes WR Brandon Marshall will not play for the Broncos next season.

In his latest mock draft, Rob Rang, senior draft analyst for NFLDraftscout.com, has Seattle selecting safety Eric Berry at No. 6 and Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan at No. 14. It’s looking more and more like Morgan is definitely on Seattle’s radar.

Wes Bunting of the National Football Post believes Tennessee RB Montario Hardesty has more NFL potential than Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews.

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  1. A few of my thoughts on this:

    1). If Whitehurst wins the job, I don’t see the Seahawks keeping Hasselbeck. It would be demeaning to Hasselbeck and the fans to see him as a backup..

    2). That being said, I don’t see how Whitehurst beats out Hasselbeck in camp. Hasselbeck is a wiley vet who lacks the physical ability to play in the NFL. But he’ll look fresh early on and won’t be exposed unless asked to make plays in a game situation, He knows how to manage his flaws well otherwise.

    3). I think Mike Teel actually has the beter upside than Whitehurst, but won’t be given a fair shake. A lot of these late round/FA QBs (Warner, Delhomme, Bulger, Hasselbeck, Brooks, Brunell) that become good players generally have to move onto another team to find success. Brady is one of the few who didn’t fit this mold.

  2. When is the last time Hass had “competition”? That just may give him a bit of a 2nd wind as he turns 35.

    I don’t know if I can agree about Teel until we get a report from Eric on how he looks compared to Whitehurst. It may be true, but some of Eric’s comments last year made it sound like Teel really struggles making the throws with any sort of accuracy.

  3. pabs – you’re right (did I just say that?) and the 1 thing with Brady, the current coaching staff didn’t have to feel loyalty to Bledsoe because they didn’t draft him so it was easier for Brady to get a shot in that instance.

    Personally, I know nothing of Whitehurst to know what his upside is or isn’t. I’m trusting the FO on this one.

    On a different note… I like how aggressive the FO was on the Whitehurst front. They saw something they wanted and made sure they got it. But I don’t see this as an irresponsible trend because they seem to be playing a good game of hardball on the BM talks. They aren’t going to get taken on this one.

  4. I’ve read Teel isn’t very mobile or accurate. One of the things PC is great at is making everything about competition. It’s a good thing for guys to be battling for their jobs. Hasselbeck will beat out Whitehurst, but the competition will make them both better.

  5. I hope the competition PC wants extends to CB, safety and the O line.

  6. Mike Teel has the mobility of a Tom Brady .

    What Teel does very well is avoid sacks and fumbles with incredible pocket presence. He was sacked just 36 times out of 1178 dropbacks during his college career and 0 times out of 41 dropbacks in the preseason.

    He has a great deep ball but lacks consistency in his short and medium throws – right there is his biggest problem. He is still a project at this point.

  7. To all: Be sure to read the Denver Post link above on BM….

    It re-emphasizes what I pointed out several days ago… There’s way, way more to the issues BM has had… lots of coverup….

  8. I’ve had the pleasure to see Marino and Brady play in person before, and although Brady isn’t as good in the pocket as Marino, he’s still pretty dang good. It’s amazing how some guys like that can naturally avoid pressure even though they aren’t the greatest of workout type of athletes. My one concern about Whitehurst is that he’s fumble prone. This is purely from what I’ve read but it’s a common theme that concerns me. Turnovers kill.

  9. freedom_X says:

    If the QB decision is made in training camp, I don’t think Hasselbeck gets cut. There wouldn’t much point in Seattle doing so. Hasselbeck won’t be a negative force if he’s pushed to backup, at least for the year remaining on his contract, and he’d be too valuable to the team in that role if the decision is pushed to July and August. Even when Brady took over, they kept around Bledsoe for that 1st year (though it wasn’t it injury that knocked out Bledsoe?)

    Here’s a scouting report excerpt from Pro Football Weekly’s Draft Preview on a QB (the “negatives” paragraph) –

    “Played in a simplified offense…did not make many NFL reads or throw downfield a lot. Played primarily in a shotgun offense and will need to adjust to taking snaps under center.”

    Tebow? No, Charlie Whitehurst from the 2006 preview book. There’s hope for Tebow yet (as far as getting a shot to be a NFL starting QB.)

  10. variable575 says:

    pabuwal-

    I liked what I saw out of Teel in his limited pre-season appearances. Especially a TD drive he put together in (I believe) the SD game, right after their offense had scored. He displayed poise and leadership there!!

  11. freedom_X says:

    If Seattle has to pay $10 million/year to Marshall AND surrender the picks, I’m not sure it’s worth it, especially if the salary cap comes back as most expect. What do guys like Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson make per year?

    Of course, $10 million is twice what Burleson is getting, and I certainly think Marshall is twice the player (if half the human being.)

  12. If Carroll is serious about this — and I see no reason to believe he’s not — it will be a refreshing change from Holmgren’s obvious favoritism toward veterans. He only seemed ready to play the younger guys when circumstances left him no other choice. It didn’t matter whether the younger guy had won the ‘competition’ during training camp.

    A coach needs to put his prejudices and fears aside and go with the one his eyes tell him is the best player. Sometimes that means going with an untested rookie even though you don’t know how he’s going to perform in a game situation. (Or with an “undersized” RB like Forsett, even though you have some doubts about whether he can stand up to the pounding he’ll get with more carries.) There’s only one way to find out, but all too many coaches hesitate to make the experiment. The veteran is a known quantity, and therefore the safe choice. But it’s not always the *right* choice.

  13. variable575 says:

    Freedom_x-
    Have you seen Charlie’s preseason stats of the last 4 yrs? if not, here you are:

    “Here is Whitehurst’s career preseason stats:

    Comp: 104 Att: 197 Comp.%: 52.6 Yards: 1031 TD’s: 5 INT: 7 Sacked: 13 Fumb.: 6 QB Rating: 60.6″

    from this article:http://bleacherreport.com/articles/365404-charlie-whitehurst-mediocre-at-best-and-not-the-answer

  14. freedom_X says:

    I also liked Teel in preseason last year – I think that’s where the fan love for Teel is coming from, when people ask if he’s a viable option. He probably performed better than any Seattle 3rd string QB in 5 years (in pre-season.)

  15. Looking at Whitehurst’s preseason stats are kind of scary. He takes a LOT of sacks and fumbles when he does get sacked. His other preseaon stats aren’t that much better than Teel which is even more scary considering one player was a rookie and the other a 4th year player.

    At least Hasselbeck had the “Mr. August” title to him. Whitehurst isn’t even that. His stats are more David Greene like.

    At least we still have Matt Hasselbeck!

  16. variable575 says:

    Pabuwal-Like the illustration on pocket presence. Very important point and that kind of stuff is usually more of whether you have it naturally or not. Teel is a natural in the pocket! Isn’t that what PC desires?

  17. freedom_X says:

    Actually, I’m not really advocating that Whitehurst is going to be great, though I certainly hope so. It was more a comment that if a lesser known and respected player with these flaws can somehow work himself into a position of becoming a starter, why not Tebow. But let me caution I’m only saying Tebow has a chance, not saying Tebow is going to be great or Seattle should draft him.

    More from the scouting report of 2006:

    Positives: “has outstanding size and great arm strength when healthy… Flicks the ball with ease and can make all the throws. Tough, can take a hit and will play through injuries, having played the back half of his senior season with an injured throwing shoulder.”

    More negatives:

    “Does not see field well and too often throws into coverage…Not a great finisherand has floundered in high-pressure situations… not a great decision maker. Not very nifty footed and does not show lateral quickness when the pocket breaks down. Does not feel pressure and needs time to throw. Has small hands and loses the ball more than he should on the move. Some scouts see him as a finished product with bad habits and were turned off by his flaky personality during interviews.”

    (yes, negative paragraph was about double the size of the positve paragraph, though I wouldn’t read too much into that since scouting reports tend to lean towards pointing out negatives.)

    Last sentence: ” With medical clearance, he should not get far our of the second round.” (check, he was drafted in the 3rd.)

  18. Dukeshire says:

    I don’t see this competition so much as an attempt to rejuvenate Matt. Granted, he may not have had a real competition for his position is many years but I have never questioned his desire or preparation or that he takes his role on this team for granted. What I’m hearing from Carroll (or reading into) is applied more to Whitehurst. Assuring him that this isn’t San Diego, he can absolutely play here. He can earn the starting position. Remember, Whitehurst hasn’t competed for a playing time in the better part of 4 years. It’s far more likely he has become more complacent in his preparation and focus, knowing that he is miles away from taking the field. By publicly stating that he is expected to push Matt for the position is, to me, more of an expectation for him to realize his potential than it is any level of expectations placed on Matt. That said, the sub-context is that competition always makes people better. So a natural by product should be improved play by whoever wins the spot.

  19. I’ll give you the whole scouting report on Teel here:

    Strengths:

    * Pocket Presence, Awareness, Poise, Quick Release – Very hard to sack., can evade pressure in the pocket and make a play.
    * Manages the Game and Makes Intelligent Decisions
    * Arm – can make all the throws, great deep and intermediate balls
    * High Ceiling – gets better every year

    Weakness:
    * Accuracy may not be NFL level. At best I think he can end up as a 60% passer but with a 8.0 YPA.
    * Speed of the game may move too fast for him. Never led a game winning drive, will lock onto the primary WR and not read the field. Almost always predetermines where he will throw the ball before the snap.
    * Slow Developer – while he gets better every year, it is a very slow process. He is not Matt Ryan in this respect.

    He is a project, but it’s hard for me to see how Charlie Whitehurst as a 5th year player is better than Teel is at this point.

  20. ElPerroGrandeIII says:

    Hass blows, he’s the last guy on this team who should ever be guaranteed a starting position. In fact this whole team pretty much blows. Everyone is expendible and everyone should definitely have to fight for a position. Coach Carroll should start the depth chart at 2 and leave open every single 1 position on it.

  21. What I like most about this deal (other than providing competition), if Whitehurst doesn’t work out, we only have him signed for two years. This years QB’s available in the draft are not that solid. Maybe, if this experiment doesn’t work, we draft a QB early next year. I have concerns about the small hands and the number of picks he has thrown. I don’t think there is any way he beats Matthew out.

  22. freedom_X says:

    I took Carroll’s comments as spin – “Hasselbeck is our starter this year because of his experience and history, but Whitehurst is taking over next year. If Whitehurst has a great preseason and Hasselbeck doesn’t, or Hasselbeck gets hurt again, Whitehurst is taking over.”

    In other words, if Hasselbeck got hurt in late August and missed regular season games, Whitehurst would get the job and Hasselbeck wouldn’t get it back unless Whitehurst flops. In the past, Hasselbeck automatically was getting his job back if he missed games.

  23. Hawkfan1951 says:

    As we’ve seen over the last 4 years, the Seahawks QB will only be as good as the “O” line gives him time to perform, be it Hasselbeck or Whitehurst. Hasselbeck has been hurt the last 2 years because he’s either sacked/killed in less than 3 seconds, or when he runs for his life, and then tries to get extra yardage (as in SF).

    Until the “O”line is substantially upgraded to give the QB a fair shot at making the play, the “competition between Hasselbeck, Whitehurst, Teel, a #4, or a #5 or a #6 QB could short.

    Fix the Frickin’ “O” line!!

  24. Dukeshire says:

    “Coach Carroll should start the depth chart at 2 and leave open every single 1 position on it.” – I actually like this sentiment. We can however presume some players will remain the starter at their position or earn it back, if you like; Mebane, Carlson, Curry, Lofa and Hasselbeck. But, I agree that they must be earned from scratch under Carroll. And if I’m hearing him correctly, this is what he intends to do.

  25. Nobody wants the OL fixed as badly as I do (there are plenty of you who want it fixed just as badly though) but getting a Marshall also makes the QB better too. BM is rare in that any bum can throw up jump balls and he’ll come down with them (think Kyle Orton, or how much worse Jay Cutler looked without BM). I remember when Herman Moore made Scott f-ing Mitchell look like a stud by jumping up and catching crappy passes downfield and everyone though Mitchell was so good too. Fix the OL AND get a stud WR and our O is back in business and will be ready to make watching football on Sunday fun again.

  26. variable575 says:

    Fix the OL and get BM!!!!!!And maybe Javid Best.

  27. variable575 says:

    ….My last was submitted without my authority.

    I know nighthawk won’t like this becuase i’m reiterating, but if we fix our offense by making it the priority, i think our defense will be a lot better and will not appear to have as many holes as it does now.

    All in good fun nighthawk.

  28. Tarcat88 says:

    I don’t think anyone would argue that the O-line needs to be a priority. That doesn’t negate the need to upgrade at WR & RB either.

  29. Let’s play a numbers game. Seattle has 6, 14 and 60 in the draft. Say through draft or trade they get three starters with those three picks and say they get really lucky and get a UFA starter. That is four new starters and I can’t see them getting any more than that. So who starts for the Hawks opening day?

    QB Hasselbeck or Whitehurst

    TE Carlson

    WR Houshmanzadeh and ?

    RB ?

    FB Schmitt

    LT ?

    LG Sims

    C Unger

    RG Spencer

    RT Locklear

    DE Jackson and ?

    LB Curry, Tatupu and Hill

    Safety Babs and ?

    CB Trufant and ?

    Ok, say only one new starter on the O line. That still leaves six (LT, WR, RB, DE, S, CB) positions where a new starter is needed. Seattle doesn’t have enough high draft picks.

  30. Oh, forgot DT. Mebane and ?

  31. Dukeshire says:

    The most obvious omissions from your list are Wilson and Forsett. And that they in fact have two 4ths, a 5th, a 6th and two 7th round picks in addition to 6, 14 and 60, from which you seem to believe are the only picks that will produce contributors. It’s a long process, be patient, we are still nearly 4 months away from camp.

  32. variable575 says:

    I think they will be pick an RB with one of the first 4 picks. Brought in Bell for a visit so they must feel they have a spot to fill up at that position.

    I could see us picking McCluster with our 3rd pick. By that pick Javid Best and Spiller will be gone. Who else is in the RB pecking order that trumps McCluster for “play making” ability?

  33. Looking at the Hawks last five drafts, only one player drafted in the fourth round or later started as a rookie. That was Rob Sims and I’m not even positive he started as a rookie.

    I realize that Seattle will take about 80 players to training camp. It isn’t quantity that concerns me, it’s quality.

  34. Sims for Brown??? I like it!

    http://is.gd/b2C81

  35. Dukeshire says:

    Not sure what you mean exactly, but Spiller trumps McCluster as far as being a play-maker, in my book. Of his 52 college TDs, 20 went for 50 or more yards. But if they look for RB with their 2nd round, I would think Gerhart or Hardesty are more probable, even if they are not as electric as McCluster. I only base that on Carroll’s stated desire for a bigger back.

  36. Dukeshire says:

    I like that too Brown is solid. Do it! Sims can be reunited with Ruskell.

  37. BrianBlades says:

    I saw a blurb on NFL network today stating that all of the top 5 running backs except Spiller come with injury concerns.

  38. Dukeshire says:

    Bobby – I was planning on getting you a Sims jersey this season, too. Lol!

  39. Hawks currently have 9 draft picks. 2-1sts and 2nd rounder should make it as starters. 1 or 2-4th rounders might just make it as starters if very, very lucky. 5th rounder may see the field as backup and 6th & 7th rounders make PS or STs (unless Gibbs makes them starters). Teel and Reed made the team last season. Anybody know whatever happened to safety Greene? Hawks could possibly fill 5 holes with rookies plus add 4 for depth – if every draftee makes good. Probably estimate that 3 make it as starters, 3 make it as backups and the rest make the PS and/or get cut. It’s also possible a UDFA or two might make this team.

    Offense has the farthest to go – it has to fill gaping holes at LT, #1 WR, LG (if Sims goes), RG (if Spencer goes), burner-type RB, grinder-type short yardage back (unless Gibbs and KB get the Beer Truck outta park), and maybe a future franchise QB, too. J.Forsett isn’t fast enough for the outside zone runs to work – neither is JJ. Could say just make do with just the IZ runs for now, but every opposing D would know it too, and maybe Schmitt can do short yardage? Noone’s mentioned Griffith – guess he’s still UFA? Maybe 4 or 5 starters, plus 2 situational RBs/returners and future QB needed (7-8 players).

    Suppose Hawks trade their 2nd and the early 4th to DEN for B.Marshall. They’d get a definate #1 WR who draws bracket coverage or dbl-teams every time. TJ, Branch, Butler, Obo, Martin, Carter, Hass and Jones fill out the Hawks 5 WRs, so don’t expect any more in the draft – unless BM trade falls through. Hawks 5 TE’s: Carlson, Owens, Morrah, Pociask and Baker, won’t all make the team. About the OL – I’ve never seen competition created there, just trying to stabilize the line with enough warm bodies to fill all the holes from injuries. If Gibbs can take 6th and 7th rounders and UDFAs and meld them into an effective OL, that would be something to see!

    Defense has several holes/weaknesses too: DE, DT, SS, backup FS, & maybe a tall CB? Not enough picks to go around.

  40. Dukeshire says:

    Courtney Greene was signed by Jacksonville.

    kim008 – This isn’t a one year rebuilding project. We would all like it to be but the damage done is too great for simply one draft to repair. They don’t need the mid and late round picks to come in and start in ’10. But they do need to find players that will develop into contributors there in coming seasons.

  41. Dukeshire –
    Right on, not a one-year deal – but about the mid-late rounders just being contributors. If Gibbs can use those later picks and UDFAs to find the kind of mental (1st) and physical (2nd) talents needed to play his sophisticated deceptive ZBing OL schemes – that would be totally marvelous. I see AG’s OL as being, at best, middle of the road in ’10, but more likely well below average. As the OL players gain in knowledge regarding his schemes and each other, the OL will grow in ability, like a self-correcting, interpretive, reactive system, beating opponent DLs off the snap. It’s just gonna take awhile.

    Meanwhile, PC can use the earlier picks this draft for top skill players and useful defensive talent upgrades. Imagine Mebane with Suh – just can’t happen.

  42. variable575 says:

    Dukeshire-

    Spiller is definately a better pick then McCluster! What I meant was if we get to our third pick and the hawks haven’t picked an RB, I’m thinking McCluster might be on the board. But as you brought up Carroll wants a bigger RB. Although, he (carroll) has stated he needs play makers and i think McCluster is more of the “play maker” (that spark)type they’re looking for.
    But who knows. I’m the kinda guy that wants this team to get “bigger”!!!

  43. variable575 says:

    ………….We both know Spiller and Best will be gone by pick 60. Toby doesn’t strike me as the kind of spark they’re looking for, granted he had a great year with stanford but he won’t be that productive in the NFL. Maybe a good FB–perhaps the next Mike Alstott.

  44. Dukeshire says:

    I too see Gerhart as more of a plodder. Although he did run a much better 40 than I ever though he would (4.53) at the combine.

  45. Macabrevity says:

    Oceanic, love your comment about whether or not coach Carroll believes in competition on the OL or in the secondary. LOL! Seriously, don’t see much competition shaping up there any time soon.

  46. variable575 says:

    I wonder if Tru bounces back to pro-bowl form? I guess no matter who’s working the corners, if you don’t have a good pass-rush it doesn’t really matter. Just seemed like he was really outa sync last year.

    He had a few weird calls go against him last yr(against Dallas and AZ I think) where he was pretty much occupying space (standing still) 10 yrds back and the receivers ran right into him drawing a PI flag. I always thought that was O-PI but it turns out, at least in those two games that it was D-PI.

  47. The only competition at QB should be between Matt & Matt’s health. Not a good way for PC to get Matt to mentor Whitehurst

    Everyday my opinion of PC goes down. I’m starting tot hink that Tom Flores was a better higher. This bites. I’d be a better football coach & I have no clue how o draw a play.

  48. Ouch, I really go for typos when I’m angry!

  49. Dukeshire says:

    What are you basing any of that on? He’s yet to hold even a single practice and you are condemning him and his approach to fostering competition within the team?

  50. ryanryan says:

    I have way to much to do than read through all of the posts. Forgive me if I re-iterate anyones comments.

    The idea is that Matt is OF COURSE the better quarterback right now and announcing a competition is a silly truth with an obvious end. Being that, Pete Carrol is doing the right thing as a coach by telling his new project that he is EXPECTED to compete and his veteran that HE TOO is expected to compete at ever practice.

    perhaps a fresh leader will do us good…go hawks

  51. ryanryan says:

    perhaps it’s reiterate…i have no time for a dictionary either ;)

  52. Dukeshire, I feel that Matt has already earned his coach’s support & respect.

    And while I usually do not like the concept of “dissing someone” (I feel that is a gang term & is generally inappropriate), imo that’s what being done to Matt here. When Matt is healthy & playing in a decent offense he’s at least in the top 10 NFL QB’s. First thing a new coach should do in this situation is assure Matt he’s THE GUY, & Whitehurst was picked up for when Matt retires.

    Whitehurst has done NOTHING in the NFL.

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