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When it comes to QBs: never, ever panic
Everyone, it seems, has an opinion – or three – about what the Seahawks need to do concerning their quarterback situation.
Sign Peyton Manning and his troublesome neck, if/when he is released by the Indianapolis Colts. Sign soon-to-be-free-agent Matt Flynn, the backup for the Green Bay Packers who has one very impressive performance and one other productive start in his four-season NFL career. Trade up in April’s NFL Draft to select Stanford’s Andrew Luck, or at least Baylor’s Robert Griffin III. Do something. Do anything.
But there is one thing the Seahawks definitely will not do when it comes to addressing the most pivotal position on the team: Panic.
Says who? John Schneider, the team’s third-year general manager.
“I’ve been blessed to be around a lot of really good quarterback people that have taught me a lot about the position,” Schneider said Thursday, during a break from the on-going meetings to prepare his staff as well as the coaches on Pete Carroll’s staff for the NFL Scouting Combine that starts next week in Indianapolis. “So I just kind of incorporate that with the quarterbacks I’ve been around. I just try to take all the information possible from everybody I’ve been around.
“I just know if you panic at the position, it can set the organization back. So we’re not going to do that.”
Regardless of the volume of those outside voices.
“That may disappoint fans, because they want to see an instant guy and have that instant success,” Schneider said. “But really, you’re better off continuing to build your team. Initially when I got here, I thought we were going to plug the quarterback in and we were going built around him.
“If we had done that, we would have panicked in a way. And I’m not sure we would have been able to host the Saints (in the 2010 wild-card playoff game) and had that great atmosphere and all that.”
Instead, Schneider and Carroll have continued to build the rest of the team in their first two drafts – which have yielded seven starters and several others capable of filling situational roles.
Back to the quarterback, Schneider added, “We’re going to try different things at the position all the time, but we’re never going to get ourselves in a situation where we just completely panic.”
Schneider has a theory about what he looks for in a QB, and it has been formulated by the years he spent working for the Green Bay Packers with an impressive group of position-savvy coaches and front office executives – from former GM Ron Wolf; to former head coach Mike Holmgren; to former assistant coaches Jon Gruden, Andy Reid, Steve Mariucci and Marty Mornhinweg; to long-time NFL assistant Paul Hackett; to current head coach Mike McCarthy.
“The quarterback position is obviously the most scrutinized position on every team,” Schneider said. “There are so many different things that go into it, and we could be sitting here for days talking about what’s most important. Every guy has different attributes that stand out and kind of compensate for any deficiencies that they may have.
“But if you’re asking, what is the perfect quarterback? You have to think it’s a guy that first of all has a presence about him and can tilt the room or tilt the field his way. It’s somebody that is smart, poised, tough, can move. A guy that can make quick decisions. And somebody that the rest of the guys in the locker room can look at and say, ‘Hey, that’s the guy. That’s the guy we’re going to be able to go win games with.’ ”
And the Packers have been where the Seahawks currently are – looking for more depth and better competition at a spot where Tarvaris Jackson returns as the incumbent starter; backup Charlie Whitehurst is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month; and Josh Portis, who made the team as a rookie free agent last season, needs time to develop his obvious skills.
In 1992, the Packers traded for a second-year QB named Brett Favre – to a chorus of “what are they doing?” because they already had Don Majkowski. In 2005, they drafted Aaron Rodgers with the 24th pick in the first round, when they still had Favre and more obvious needs.
Each of those moves worked out pretty well, regardless of the initial reactions.
Since coming to the Seahawks in January 2010, eight days after the head coach was hired, Schneider and Carroll went one season with Matt Hasselbeck and last season with Jackson. What the future holds, no one really knows. Not Schneider. Not Carroll. And definitely not the “experts” who critique and question their every move.
“I always tell people, the head coach and the quarterback are the two most important people in the building,” Schneider said. “And the quarterback position is always going to be a position we’re always evaluating and always trying to add another prospect to the group.
“But it has to be the right guy and it has to be the right fit. They have to have special qualities about them.”
There is one thing it cannot be: A panic pick, or pick up.