Thoughts on Seahawks' GM John Schneider's Recent Comments

As a lot of you have probably seen, Seahawks' GM John Schneider has gone on record in the last few days on a variety of topics and there are a lot of ways to construe the things he's said. I thought I'd give my take on a few comments he made and get your reactions to them.

On whether Charlie Whitehurst is going to be given the chance to compete for the starting job in 2011:

"Yeah he is, absolutely," Schneider said. "Charlie won the biggest game of the season for us. And with absolutely no disrespect to (Matt) Hasselbeck, that was the first week it was Charlie's game. Charlie went into the other games with Matt's plan. This was a plan for Charlie. And quite frankly the Rams were playing pretty good at that point. And he took care of the ball and played well.

"Did he have his struggles during the season? Sure. I mean he hasn't played a lot of regular-season games. So, I thought one of the coolest things he did was come into that Arizona game and bring us right down the field. Now, the series didn't end that great. He threw a ball he'd like to have back. But I've been around a three-time MVP (Brett Favre) that wasn't a great decision maker early on his career. But he became a much better decision maker."

I see this as a non-statement really. Of course Charlie will be given the chance to 'compete' for the starting job because that's Pete Carroll's mantra and every player on the Seahawks' roster will technically have the chance to 'compete' for a starting spot. Now, that being said, I agree that Charlie played well in the only game he had the luxury of preparing for all week as the starter and having the gameplan set to his strengths. Schneider touched on a few positives and a few negatives from Charlie but summed up the situation well - Whitehurst hasn't had a chance to prove whether he has what it takes to be the go-to guy for the Hawks in 2011 or not. He showed some good things and some bad things but his body of work is so incomplete that the Hawks really don't know yet if they hit or miss with the trade. If they fail to re-sign Matt or bring in a free-agent QB Whitehurst will probably be the Hawks' starting QB in 2011 and I'm not completely against it. I'd love to see what he can do and you can list me among his tentative believers. 

On whether the Hawks will pick at #25 or trade down/up:

"Personally I'd like to move back because I have confidence in our ability in those middle rounds to do some good stuff," Schneider said. "And (I) have a coaching staff that's excited, and a) they're good teachers; and b) they're excited to have these guys."

This is a hard one to read. It can basically mean one of two things: one - he's telling the truth and he doesn't care to hide it. He's letting teams know that the Hawks would be a potential trade partner and he'll be waiting for their calls. This could be the case. Secondly, and this is more probable in my mind, he's putting up a smokescreen. He could be attempting to discover the teams that want to trade up by announcing essentially that they're not interested in the first round QB derby. Brock and Salk talked about this on their radio show this morning - in theory, teams that were afraid the Hawks may take a Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett, Christian Ponder, or Andy Dalton at #25 and attempt to leapfrog them would now be calling to try a trade and thus reveal their intentions. My guess is that every single word out of Schneider's mouth is carefully considered and chosen - this is, after all, the best time for misinformation and hearsay. It doesn't hurt the Seahawks for other teams to have absolutely no clue as to their intentions for #25. From what I can tell, it's working. Basically no one has any solid grasp on what the Hawks will do with #25 and that's a good thing for us.

According to Mike Sando, on his question posed to Schneider about the Hawks' search for a franchise QB:

Schneider thought long and hard, choosing his words carefully when I asked him to what extent Carroll, as a defensive head coach, has a vision for what he wants in a quarterback. I wanted to know how that vision might differ from the visions an offensive-minded head coach might have for a quarterback.

Schneider apparently thought I was asking whether the slow-footed Ryan Mallett would fit in Seattle's offense, but I had no one in mind. Schneider: "From a pure, uh, I'm reading your mind with this, I'm going to be really careful how I answer this. Pete and (quarterbacks coach) Carl (Smith) coached Drew Bledsoe, who is not a big movement guy, and he had his best season. I don't know if Pete has ever had a guy that is a big-time runner, huge movement guy. I wouldn't slam any of the guys he has had. But everybody likes a guy that can move, but a lot of these guys have compensating factors. So the guy that you're thinking about would be one of those guys that has compensating factors."

This statement, though pretty vague, is very true. It also backs up my thinking for the past few weeks and months: - though the Hawks would, in an ideal world, love to have a guy that can throw like Manning and run like Vick, you sometimes take one or the other. The Hawks aren't likely to pass up on a guy like Ryan Mallett just because he's slow. If they don't feel he'll be a good NFL QB in general then that's fine and maybe they won't consider him. But, I highly doubt they pass on him just because he isn't the prototypical WCO QB with wheels like so many people have suggested. You don't pass on a potential franchise QB and possible future superstar because he doesn't fit quite right into your system. You take that player, if that's who you believe he'll be, and you design a system around him that caters to his strengths. This is what they did with Charlie Whitehurst in their NFC West clinching game verses the Rams in Week 17, and they wouldn't hesitate to do it with whomever they deem to be their quarterback of the future. 

Whether the Hawks view Ryan Mallett as that type of player is very much a mystery, but it should be noted that Schneider acknowledged it nonetheless. As with anything, this could be a smokescreen, but the history of Pete Carroll's (and Darrell Bevell with Brett Favre) former QBs speaks for itself. 

All in all, like I mentioned, there's not a whole lot of concrete analysis you can take away from Schneider's comments. And I'm sure that's exactly how he planned it.

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