Pete Carroll, meeting with the media for the first time since the start of training camp, announced Saturday that Jackson, who Seattle just signed this week, will be the team's starting quarterback. The definitive statement came as a bit of a surprise given Pete Carroll's mantra of competition, but Carroll said given the situation, it is best for the team to make Jackson the starter because he played for offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell in Minnesota.
Given the situation, reality of the lockout trumps competition, it seems.
"In this situation, to make it the most competitive for our team, Tarvaris needs to be our starter right now," Carroll said. "He comes in as our starter, he's going to own that position until Charlie and the next couple of fellows at that spot get a chance to catch up, and then the competition will begin from their end."
Carroll said that as the lockout went on, the best move was to bring in Jackson, who knows Bevell's offense as well as anyone.
"Things changed during this offseason," he said. ". . . The more we saw it coming, the more we realized we needed continuity and we needed continuity we could generate in a very short amount of time, and without question as a staff across the board, we realized that because of our background in our offense with Tom and Darrell coming together, if we could capture Tarvaris into this thing, who has been with Darrell for five years, we could hit it running full speed."
So what does that mean for Whitehurst, who a year ago was being touted bu Carroll and GM John Schneider as a possible long-term answer at QB? According to Carroll, not much.
"In my mind nothing has changed," he said. "This is just a competitive decision because of the timeframe that we're dealing with. It's strictly that. This is not the purely competitive situation I would like it to be, but the other side of it, I think that to compete for our team, this is the right thing to do. So that overrides the individual. Charlie, as soon as he can get caught up, then I can say, ‘Charlie, the competition is dead on, let's go. Let's see where you sit with us.' He has a great advantage in this first week and he recognizes that. He's getting all the snaps, he's getting all the reps to try to catch up so he can compete and command the offense the way we know Tarvaris can. There will be somewhere down the road here—it might be a month from now, it might be two months from now—when Charlie really has ownership of it and really commands it. Then it will start to look like, ‘OK, where are we now?' Charlie is still to me a guy that has a big future for us and we'll see where it hits, but we've got to get ready in a very condensed time frame, so it doesn't allow it to be as purely open. I can't be that patient right now, the situation did not allow for that."
Delayed competition aside, however, Carroll made it clear that he expects Jackson to be the starter when the Seahawks open the season in San Francisco.
Another interesting note from Carroll's press conference was that recently re-signed defensive tackle Brandon Mebane will move from the 3-technique position where he played last year to nose tackle. Alan Branch, who signed yesterday as a free agent, will play 3-tech. Colin Cole, last year's starting NT, is recovering from ankle surgery and is still a ways out, according to Carroll. Branch will also provide depth behind Red Bryant at end.
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