A Thought on False Dichotomies: Yet Another QB Post


Thinking in false dichotomies abounds in Western culture, and perhaps nowhere is it more evident than in the world of sports.

Particularly football.

We like our good guys pretty (but not too pretty) and our bad guys ugly and mean.

For Seahawks fans--myself included--the need for a first round QB (or Quarterback-of-the-future, QOTF) is so glaring and obvious that it is difficult to imagine being satisfied with any other outcome in April.

This is hardly an unreasonable position. The data is unmistakably clear. QBs are disproportionately important. Further, the odds of finding an above-average QB outside the first round are quite small. Therefore, "QB or bust!" is not a slogan, like "Win Forever!" or "Always Compete!", as much as it is a self-evident truth.

Save us QB of the Future. You are our only hope.

This is a classic false dichotomy.

No one can deny that Seattle needs a QB to groom. However, no team can make the draft address its particular needs. That is simply not how it works. Anyone reading Field Gulls knows this.

A quality QB is a necessary but not sufficient component of a playoff caliber club. We need look no further than San Francisco for proof of this. Alex Smith is not a fundamentally different QB than he was last year. He's playing on a team with significant talent (from years of high draft picks) who have had sufficient time to mature (and who are no longer being actively hampered by their coaching staff). SF probably still needs a QB to compete consistently with Green Bay, New Orleans, et al., but the need has become less pressing. And, the degree of upgrade they need is less radical than just two years ago.

As I understand it, the first axiom of Moneyball is that once you say, "I HAVE to get player X" you've already lost. Sometimes the market doesn't supply what you need at a price you can pay, but there's always another way. It is looking increasingly like Seattle will have to find another way. Seattle is a decent bet to match last season's seven win total, and a near lock to win six even without Okung. That likely puts us behind Indy, Miami, and Washington, all of whom will be in the market for a first round QB.

I may be wrong, but I doubt it.

Even if I am, drafting Matt Barkley or Robert Griffin III (assuming both declare, which is no slam dunk) would be the easiest decision Schneider or Carroll ever make. I doubt seriously that they would equivocate. But, they'd be stupid to get caught with their pants down by not preparing as if no first rd. QB will be available to them. That's the most likely scenario. I am pretty sure they are doing just that.

It may be time that we as fans start thinking in those same terms. Of course we'll draft Barkley or RGIII if we can. But if we can't, what else can we do?

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