Much of Hawks’ future hinges on Huard

  • Scott M. Johnson / Pro Football Report
  • Thursday, October 26, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

He is trying. Give Brock Huard that. With past questions about his toughness resurfacing, the Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback is doing everything he can to get on the field.

But it’s not happening. Three weeks as an NFL starter, two injuries. The second-year player who was so impressive in a loss to Indianapolis two weeks ago is now 0-3 with only a bad groin and a concussion to his name.

Halfway through his first season as a starter, that’s not good news. And it could be catastrophic for the rebuilding of the Seahawks. Seattle needs to know whether Huard is the future of this team, and that decision will dictate how long this rebuilding thing will go on.

If Huard is the answer at quarterback, the Seahawks will have plenty of options in the offseason. If Huard doesn’t play enough to prove his worth, that position will force other glaring weaknesses to the backburner.

Seattle is much better off not having to address the quarterback position this offseason. If Huard is their guy, the Seahawks can use their two first-round draft picks on a receiver (like 6-foot-2 David Terrell of Michigan or speedy playmaker Santana Moss of Miami) and a defensive lineman (one of Florida State’s two pass-rushing defensive ends or someone from a deep crop of defensive tackles). Or Seattle could lock up a cornerback like Wisconsin’s Jamar Fletcher, maybe even a middle linebacker to help stop the run.

If Huard is not the guy, the options are fewer. Seattle may have to use a first-round pick on Purdue’s Drew Brees – the only collegiate quarterback worthy of a No. 1 selection, yet not exactly a sure thing. Perhaps the Seahawks could package at least one of their picks to get an experienced veteran like Mark Brunell (a realistic possibility), Trent Green (a costly possibility) or Brett Favre (a remote possibility).

The only other option would be to go after a free agent, the most obvious of which would be Washington’s Brad Johnson. If the Seahawks were to pay Johnson the millions he’d command on the open market, they’d be right back where they started in terms of the salary cap.

The Seahawks would love to get Huard back as soon as possible, mainly because the evaluation process has been set back by injuries. Seattle also wants to see enough out of Huard to prove that the Seahawks are set at quarterback for years to come. In some regards, they need that to happen.

If not, this rebuilding thing might be more than a one- or two-year project. Without a quarterback of the future, the Seahawks could find themselves trying to dig out of 2-6 holes for years to come.

And what a headache that would be.

  • Kickoff: 1:15 p.m. Sunday at Husky Stadium,

  • TV: None (blacked out locally).

  • Radio: KIRO radio (710 AM).

  • Stars to watch: Chiefs – QB Elvis Grbac was so effective in a Monday night meeting between these two teams that he could have thrown a bowling ball through a keyhole. He ranks third in the AFC with a 97.7 quarterback rating. Tony Gonzalez leads all tight ends in receptions (33) and receiving yards (471). With Eric Hicks out for 4-6 weeks with a knee injury, DT Dan Williams is the Chiefs’ main pass-rushing specialist. LB Donnie Edwards leads Kansas City with 59 tackles, including five for losses.

    Seahawks – QB Jon Kitna is expected to make his first start since Oct. 2. RB Ricky Watters is quietly having a solid season and leads the league with 4.9 yards per carry. LB Chad Brown has a team-high four sacks this season, while CB Willie Williams leads Seattle with two interceptions.

  • Breaking down the game: Taking these teams at face value, one would expect the Chiefs should win going away. Kansas City is coming off a convincing victory over the defending Super Bowl champions and has won four of its past five games, while Seattle seems to hit a new low every week.

    But a closer look reveals two teams that aren’t that far apart. The first meeting, a Monday Night Football game on Oct. 2, was even until Kansas City pulled away 24-17 in the final minutes. The Seahawks had an early lead and numerous chances to win that game, but fell apart in the end.

    Seattle was able to run on the Chiefs in that game, and the Seahawks’ defense held together. For most of the game, it looked like Seattle would win its third in a row against Kansas City.

    Add the fact that the Seahawks have played much better at home – their point differential is plus-4 at Husky Stadium, minus-73 on the road – and Seattle looks like it could win the game.

    But things have gone wrong for the Seahawks thus far, and at an alarming rate. The Murphy’s Law season of 2000 has shown no signs of turning around.

  • Pick: Chiefs, 24-20.

  • Injury report: Chiefs – DE Eric Hicks (knee) is out; QB Elvis Grbac (elbow), FB Donnell Bennett (foot), DT Chester McGlockton (shoulder) and DT Dan Williams (foot) are questionable; DE Duane Clemons (knee), CB Eric Warfield (back), T John Tait (ankle), LB Donnie Edwards (knee) and WR Sylvester Morris (shoulder) are probable. Seahawks – QB Brock Huard (concussion) is doubtful.

  • Little-known fact: Going from a division champion to 2-6 the next season isn’t without precedence. Denver, the New York Jets and Atlanta each lost six of eight to open the 1999 season after winning division titles the previous year.

  • Detroit (5-2) at Indianapolis (5-2), 10 a.m. Sunday: Sorry, Ryan Leaf, but these are the top two quarterbacks from the 1998 draft. When healthy, Charlie Batch has proven that he is a quality signal-caller who has moved the Lions beyond their annual standing in the middle of the pack. Peyton Manning, meanwhile, is simply the best. Pick: Colts, 34-19.

  • New York Jets (6-1) at Buffalo (3-4), 10 a.m. Sunday: Our early prediction has Doug Flutie taking over at halftime of the 2010 Super Bowl and leading the Houston Texans to a 38-35 victory over Los Angeles. This guy won’t go away. Even the red-hot Jets will get flaked. Pick: Bills, 27-24.

  • Tennessee (6-1) at Washington (6-2), 6 p.m. Monday: Nice timing, Redskins. First they get the Ravens in the midst of an offensive coma, then the Jaguars amid team turmoil. Now Washington will host the Eddie George-less Titans. If this is a Super Bowl preview, which it could be, we’ll take Tennessee in January. Pick: Redskins, 17-9.

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