This is going to be a weird year, huh? For the first time since I've been at Field Gulls, there won't be much controversy at the quarterback position. I don't know what the hell we're going to talk about.
Oh yeah, the backup.
7 Jackson, Tarvaris QB 6-2- 225
10 Quinn, Brady QB 6-3- 235
3 Wilson, Russell QB 5-11- 206
My money is on Jackson. It's not that I dislike Quinn, because I think he brings a lot to the table as a pure backup in terms of work ethic and film room/quarterback room intangibles, but I think Jackson makes more sense for this team with the assumption he may actually have to take the field. When you think back to 2011 - man that seems like a long time ago, doesn't it? - you can picture a quarterback that did a pretty admirable job protecting the football, managing the offense, and playing through a torn pectoral while taking a lot of sacks and not really scaring anybody.
T-Jack finished the season with 3,091 yards passing with a 60% completion percentage, 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Certainly not sexy numbers, but his play, when compared to then-backup Charlie Whitehurst, was probably at or somewhat above what you'd consider 'backup' level.
Make no mistake, when you look at the depth charts around the league, there are some pretty sketchy backups in the NFL, and for the most part, teams really, really hope the vast majority of them don't play. In that sense, because of Jackson's familiarity with the offense, the coaching staff, and the team, I'd actually list him among some of the more solid backup quarterback options in the league (non-rookie). Matt Moore in Miami is a solid option, Ryan Mallet, perhaps, in New England, Jason Campbell in Cleveland, Kyle Orton in Dallas, and Colt McCoy in San Francisco are probably comparable.
I was talking to Thomas Beekers about this a while back, and the conclusion we came to is that when you really survey what's out there right now, there doesn't appear to be a clearly better option for the Seahawks than Tarvaris Jackson (assuming his game from 2011 hasn't degraded significantly) right now. Jackson is respected in the lockerroom and generally liked by the fans, and he has the important and distinct advantage of knowing Darrell Bevell's system inside and out, having played multiple seasons in it. This is huge - not only does it help his play should he need to get in, but it helps him mentor Russell Wilson as the sophomore quarterback enters his second year in the program.
Further, Jackson has a very strong arm and can make most of the throws that Russell Wilson is asked to make in this offense. Not saying he'll be threading the needle on sideline out routes or staring down the gun barrel to deliver a strike up the seam as well as Russell has proven able, but Jackson can and has shown himself to be effective on play-action bombs and can obviously hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch and/or execute a bootleg at roughly the same speed as Wilson.
Anyway. With the way that Seattle's offense is constructed, I think that Jackson makes too much sense as the backup.
Of course, that doesn't mean that Brady Quinn won't surprise. At this point, we don't really know what we have with Quinn. Or, rather, what we think we know is that he's not very good. If Quinn surprises in camp and really clicks in this style of system, then that's just a bonus, and if he's better than Tarvaris, double-bonus! The Hawks obviously liked some of his attributes and physically speaking he's probably above average in athleticism at the position, so let's not just assume he's the odd man out. If we did that, we'd have nothing to talk about!