As the Seattle Seahawks get set to open training camp without nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson for the first time since 2011, plenty of questions remain surrounding the roster, including the quarterback position. The offseason began with many intriguing names potentially available at the position, including Jameis Winston, Jimmy Garoppolo, Baker Mayfield, Matt Ryan, Nick Foles, Tyrod Taylor, Marcus Mariota and others.
That said, many fans are not thrilled the Hawks seem content to roll with Geno Smith, Drew Lock and Jacob Eason in the wake of the Carolina Panthers acquiring Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns for a Day 3 pick and a bag of used K balls. It’s a price at which many fans feel the Seahawks should have been involved, though there are plenty of reports that would be justification for why they were not, even at such a low cost.
How much truth there may be to those reports is anyone’s guess, but the name other than Mayfield seemingly most often linked to the Seahawks this offseason has been former Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew. With the natural connection to the Pacific Northwest, it would seem a logical fit for the pair, and it’s unlikely that acquiring Minshew would cost much more than a Day 3 pick. So, what’s the holdup many fans wonder, especially when looking back on Minshew’s production during his season in a Cougars uniform:
- 479 of 712 (67.3% completion), 5,017 yards, 7.0 Y/A, 45 TD, 13 INT and a 143.7 rating
Wait, hold on, those aren’t Minshew’s stats, those are the numbers that Kliff Kingsbury posted his senior year at Texas Tech while quarterbacking for Mike Leach. That production s very similar to several other seasons for quarterbacks playing for Leach.
- 470 of 719 (65.4% completion), 5,833 yards, 8.1 Y/A, 52 TD, 22 INT and a 151.3 rating
- 421 of 642 (65.6% completion), 4,742 yards, 7.4 Y/A, 32 TD, 18 INT and a 138.5 rating
- 442 of 626 (70.6% completion), 5,111 yards, 8.2 Y/A, 45 TD, 9 INT and a 160.0 rating
- 412 of 617 (66.8% completion), 4,555 yards, 7.4 Y/A, 38 TD, 11 INT and a 145.5 rating
- 447 of 644 (69.4% completion), 4,561 yards, 7.1 Y/A, 38 TD, 8 INT and a 145.9 rating
- 443 of 633 (70.0% completion), 4,468 yards, 7.1 Y/A, 38 TD, 11 INT and a 145.6 rating
- 468 of 662 (70.7% completion), 4,779 yards, 7.2 Y/A, 38 TD, 9 INT and a 147.6 rating
- 512 of 713 (71.8% completion), 5,705 yards, 8.0 Y/A, 48 TD, 14 INT and a 157.3 rating
- 369 of 518 (71.2% completion), 4,205 yards, 8.1 Y/A, 42 TD, 6 INT and a 163.9 rating
One of those listed seasons is Minshew’s production under Leach, but if it’s indistinguishable from the rest of the seasons, would it appear that Minshew brings anything to the table as a quarterback that Kingsbury, Sonny Cumbie, B.J. Symons, Graham Harrell and Luke Falk don’t? If Minshew’s college production doesn’t stand out relative to those who played for the same coach in the same system, would it make sense to expect him to be able to deliver different results in the NFL?
Is it even possible to identify which of the listed seasons belongs to Minshew? Go ahead and pick one of the seasons, and then click on over to College Sports Reference to look up his college production and see if the right one was picked.
And for those who picked the season at the bottom of the list, the one with the second highest completion percentage, the second highest yards per attempt, the best touchdown to interception ratio and the highest passer rating, that’s the only season in the group that wasn’t posted under Mike Leach. That statline was recorded by a quarterback playing under Dana Holgorsen, who was one of Leach’s offensive coordinators at Texas Tech prior to taking Leach’s offense to the Houston Cougars and Oklahoma State Cowboys as offensive coordinator, before eventually landing as the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers.