DK Edit: I didn't front-page this editorial because I agree or disagree with it, I highlight it because it's well written and argued intelligently.
One thing I liked about the lockout was the absence of football opinion columnists who feel it their appointed duty to assign blame for everything that doesn't work well. I didn't miss that part at all.
I respect that opinion columnists are not reporters. They're paid to be "interesting" as much as (or more than) insightful. Of course, the best ones can be both. (For example, I think Dave D'Alessandro at the Newark Star-Ledger is brilliant.) Good opinion columnists are more artist than reporter. So I try to see what they write as art. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I don't. But, I try not to make it something it's not supposed to be. As opinion columnists go I have no particular issues with Kelley. He is usually decent and at times quite good--rarely poor.
So, I was a bit surprised by yesterday's (14 Sept) piece by Steve Kelley, "Tentative Tavaris Jackson Could Find Starting Job Tough to Keep." It was pretty weak stuff from Kelley. He seems to intentionally create a "catch-22" in order to take a shot at PC/JS.
Let me get this out of the way early: I have no issues with anything Kelley wrote about Jackson's play. I expect Jackson and Whitehurst to both play this season due to injury, ineffectiveness, or both. THIS FANPOST IS NOT ABOUT JACKSON VS. WHITEHURST.
My bone to pick is with the notion that the front office somehow "mangled" the QB search. Kelley takes great pains to say that Jackson is not the right pony to bet on long-term, but in the same column he tells us that Jackson is just a stand-in during a rebuild.
Short of hanging a sign on Jackson that reads, "MR. RIGHT NOW," I'm not sure how much clearer PC/JS can make how they see him. They're paying him low-level starter/backup money with zero long-term commitment.
So, if the big ah ha!!! is that our mercenary QB is not very good and not part of the long-term plan then I can only respond with a favorite line from The Usual Suspects. "Whaddya got a team of monkeys working around the clock to come up with that one?"
Could PC/JS have plucked a better QB from the QB tree out back? I suppose it's possible. But the market this off-season was Kevin Kolb and the leftovers after a sale at Filene's Basement. I don't want to re-hash all the off-season shoulda, coulda, woulda, but Seattle could not meaningfully upgrade at QB without way overpaying for where this team is in its rebuild (namely, at the beginning phases).
Now, it's hardly worth 600+ words to point out that Kelley takes an unfair shot at the front office. Big whoop. What rankles me here is that Kelley stoops to dishonesty. Recognizing that he's painted himself into a corner, he just makes stuff up in order to get out of it. He implies that the problem is that PC/JS have devoted themselves to fixing the defense at the expense of finding a QB. One glance at our abysmal pass rush and overall lack of quality depth up front shows this to be a laughably false proposition. In order to bolster it, Kelley exaggerates the quality of Seattle's improved but severely unbalanced defense. He characterizes it as "...competitive again and probably the best in the NFC." [Emphasis not in original.]
Um. I like our defense too, but the best in the NFC? I bet you cannot even find another Seahawks writer who would put that in print. Steve Kelley wrote it and doesn't even believe it. Really, he just needs that level of exaggeration to get his crappy column to hold together.
The fact is, the market just doesn't supply much of what Seattle needs--QBs and interior pass rushers--in any great quantity. You pretty much have to wait to get those things in the draft; and then, not even every draft. In the meantime, PC/JS are doing what a smart front office should do. They're patching and filling with the assets the market does supply, especially where the market undervalues those assets. The results are going to be uneven.
That fact may not help Kelley the artist to make deadline, but that's the kind of art I like. The kind that looks like what it's supposed to look like.