Orton, Here's a Who!


No one wants to play with me.



Pete Carrol has stated that resigning Matt Hasselbeck is the Seahawks' number one priority. I don't know whether to believe that as anything more than PR spin; time will tell.

The Seattle Seahawks need a quarterback. Now and for the future. Some people believe that Matt Hasselbeck can succeed in the short term if you prop him up with enough talent. This is debatable, but what is not debatable is that without that superior talent around him at this point it seems unlikely that Hasselbeck will have any sustained success. Three years of futility stand as testament.

One argument for keeping Hasselbeck has been that he is the best available option. Some feel that moving on is the important thing; Matt Hasselbeck is the known and his ceiling indicates habitation suitable only for little people. Better to take what's behind door number two, these folks say. In either case, Hasselbeck is 35 years old, and whatever career he has left is on borrowed time. This too, is not debatable.

I think it's also important to talk about what Seattle has here specifically from the standpoint of offensive talent. Some feel that the Seahawks need to protect Hasselbeck and play better defense. That it has been more the team letting Hass down rather than the other way around. Now statistics are great and everything but this is one area where they really break down. John Morgan did a great piece where he talked about loaders, packers, and shippers or some such, talking about one of the reasons to replace Hasselbeck was that replacing all the other positions had failed to acheive any kind of change in results; replacing him might reveal where the breakdown is occurring. I agree with this hypothesis.

What we do know is that Seahawk QBs were relatively well-protected. 35 sacks isn't awesome, but it isn't bad either. By comparison, Tom Brady was sacked 25 times and Denver QBs (since I'll be talking about Kyle Orton down below) were sacked 40 times. I also think the 'Hawks gave up eight in the Raider game, so that further skews the data, since consistency is more important than bulge.

Beyond that, there is little statistics can tell us that can't be packed into whatever shape you'd like to fit your argument. Is Obomanu a developing wide receiver on the cusp of a break out year? With some continuity on the offensive line and their coach will the run game be more like week 17 and 18 or more like most of the year? Should Mike Williams, listed at 6-5, 229 lbs, have two touchdown catches on a team with 14 field goal attempts inside the 30-yard line? Could it be possible - could it be possible - that Seattle has many of the parts they need to be successful and only lack a competent signal caller?

But, if not Matt Hasselbeck, then who?

Personal Clipboard Jesus

There is, of course, Charlie Whitehurst, who did not perform appreciably better (in fact, statistically, he was worse) with the same talent than Hasselbeck did, but this in and of itself means only that Whitehurst is not a phenom; if he was, he would not have been available from San Diego for a 3rd-round pick, they'd have been asking Kolb prices. Since there is so little statistical evidence one cannot condemn nor acquit Whitehurst.

But there is one fact that bothers me.

Both he and Hasselbeck came into this season having new coaches and a new playbook. Hass would have the advantage of experience and teammate familiarity; Charlie the advantage in most of the physical areas. I can't help but think that if Whitehurst was something special (like NFL starter special), he would've supplanted Matt in the preseason. This is either a failure on his part or a failure on the part of the Seahawks' coaching staff if he is NFL-starter caliber.

Rumored destination: Seahawks' pine.

Only the Good Die, Vince Young

Could be the best of choices and might be the worst of choices. 30-17 as the Titans starter and other their 13-3 first round punting at the hands of the Ravens in 2008, they haven't done crapplo without him in 5 years. I was living in Lake Jackson, Texas when Jeff Fisher took over the Houston Oilers (this is pre-internet, y'all) so I got to see all his interviews and hear all the local gas about him. Consensus? He's like wiping your ass with a prickly pear.

Does that excuse cussing him out in front of the team, throwing your shoulder pads, and a slew of other emotional off-field issues? Not exactly. But Young didn't kill anybody, didn't hurt anybody, has become twice the quarterback everyone thought Leinart would be, and is probably the right situation away from from being a top-teir QB. His issue is that he seems like a very emotional guy, and who better to help him reclaim his career than Mr. Rah-rah himself?

Vince Young's accuracy largely a thing of the past, the only knock other than the above is his ability to stay on the field. It's been three years since he played a full season, but in the last two (half) seasons that he has played he's posted elite numbers. If all his issues do simmer down, and something tells me they will, Young will turn someone into a winner overnight.

Rumored destination: Minnesota Vikings =(

8 Kyle

Kyle Orton was drafted in the 4th-round (106th overall) of the 2005 draft and only started as a rookie because he was the only guy the Bears had that could stand without a gibbet. With the battle cry of, "Just stay in, Baby," Orton stumbled his way through his rookie campaign by doing just enough not to screw up the Bears awesome special teams/defense combo on his way to a 10-5 record as a starter while throwing for just 1,800 yards. But, I believe he learned. (He must have, because the Bears spent the next two years trying to forget they had him.)

Orton, you may recall, did not play in the Bears 2006 Super Bowl season as Sexy Rexy did his year-long impersonation of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde - "We are 10-2 with Rex as our quarterback" (I can't believe there's not a youtube of this!) - and fortunately for justice bad Rex showed up for the Super Bowl. After Bad Rex became more and more frequent in 2007, Orton once again surfaced to take the starting position.

In 2008 he was the full-time starter, going 9-6 with the following line: 272-465-2972-18-12, 58.9 comp%, ANY/A 5.3 throwing to Matt Forte (leader in catches), Rashied Davis, Devin Hester, a 32-year-old Marty Booker, Desmond Clark, Brandon Lloyd, and Greg Olson (who gets a gold star for being a bad ass TE). Basically, this is mediocrity incarnate, perhaps a shade below, but for some reason Orton was seen as the problem and was traded as the throw-in with a first round pick for Jay Cutler.

So what's Orton been up to in Denver? Improving. In each of the last two years, Orton's numbers have only gotten better in nearly every measurable way. ANY/A, rating, TD%, int%, Y/A, yards, all better, and while one could argue that he's had improved offensive talent with the Broncos - this was true from 2008 to 2009, but not so from 2009 to 2010 which saw him lose his (and when he was there, Cutler's) #1 target, Brandon Marshall, and the running game went from adequate to just as stinky as the Seahawks'.

In 2010 Kyle Orton posted the following line: 293-498-3653-20-9, with a 58.8 comp% and ANY/A of 6.4 throwing to Brandon Lloyd (who had an unprecendented monster season), Eddie Royal, Jabar Gaffney, Demaryius Thomas, Knowshon Moreno, and Correll Buckhalter. Does anyone think those receivers made Orton? Is there any reason the 'Hawks receivers couldn't match those receivers' production?

It should be noted that since the Cutler/1st-round pick trade (in which Orton was a throw-in), Jay hasn't played appreciably better in his two years than Orton's last year in Chicago, while Orton has matched Cutler's years in Denver that made him such a hot commodity. At the time I thought Chicago was doing the right thing. I was wrong. They got screwed.

Kyle Orton is 6-4, 226 lbs. He just turned 28 in November. He is the now and the future. You can win with Kyle Orton. You can win a Super Bowl with Kyle Orton. If Denver doesn't want him, it will be their losses.

Rumored destination: Arizona Cardinals =(

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