By SCOTT M. JOHNSON
KIRKLAND – The Jon Kitna era isn’t over quite yet.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Brock Huard hasn’t progressed as expected following a concussion nine days ago, so it appears Kitna might get another start against the San Diego Chargers this Sunday.
Huard threw a few passes before Sunday’s 24-19 loss to Kansas City, and he was originally expected to play this week, but he didn’t respond as well as expected.
“He tried to do some pretty basic things (Sunday), and his equilibrium was not what it should be,” coach Mike Holmgren said Monday. “As of right now, I’m planning to play Jon against the Chargers. We will monitor Brock’s progress every day, but that’s the way I think it’s going to go.”
Huard has improved since suffering the concussion in a 31-3 loss at Oakland last week, but not to the point that he’s ready to begin practicing. Even if Huard is able to practice at some point this week – the players have today off – his status for Sunday’s game against San Diego would still be up in the air.
“He’d have to improve a whole lot,” Holmgren said. “Not only would he have to feel good, I’d have to feel pretty good about him getting a small bump (on the head) and be out. As of right now, I kind of believe Jon’s going to be the guy.”
Although Huard’s health is the biggest concern, also clouded is the team’s future at the position. With a disappointing 2-7 start and five consecutive losses, the Seahawks are in an evaluating-for-the-future mode. Every game Huard sits is another missed opportunity to prove whether or not he has what it takes to be the team’s quarterback of the future.
“I feel bad for Brock,” Holmgren said. “He knew what we were trying to do, and this was an important stretch for him. And he can’t play. It’s no one’s fault, really, it’s just part of this business. Could it muddy the waters a little bit at the end of this season? Yes. Because if I don’t feel like I have an answer (about Huard), obviously we have to spend a lot of energy and maybe go in another direction that maybe we didn’t have to do if he could play.”
Huard took over as starter in Week 6, but suffered an injured knee and groin, as well as the concussion, in his three games as starter. Kitna regained the starting job last week and was less than impressive, but looks to be the man behind center for at least one more week.
“You always want another chance to go out there and play,” said Kitna, who has a paltry 66.4 quarterback rating in eight games (six starts) this season. “I get a chance to get back out there and play at home again, and I’ll just try to make the most of it. … When you’re a backup, you get called upon at certain points in the season to win ball games. And hopefully I can do that.”
While the missed time will hurt the evaluation process of Huard, Kitna might be able to play his way back into Holmgren’s good graces. Kitna was one of the most successful quarterbacks in the entire league through 10 games last season, but has been in quite a funk since. As a result, the Seahawks have won just three of their past 15 regular-season games.
But Kitna isn’t looking at his return to the starting lineup as a chance to become the team’s quarterback of the future.
“That’s not anything I’m concerning myself with,” Kitna said. “There’s a lot of season left, seven games. If I only get to play this week or the rest of the seven, I’m going to go out and do the best that I can. I can’t really worry about tomorrow.”
Holmgren has been frustrated with Kitna’s play at times this season, but he keeps finding him back behind center.
“I thought we had our chances and we didn’t take our chances,” Holmgren said of Sunday’s loss to Kansas City. “And we lost a close ball game because of it.”
This week, it looks like Kitna will get another chance to atone for his mistakes.