Pete Carroll and John Schneider fielded 36 questions on Tuesday afternoon during their session with reporters to preview the NFL Draft. Eleven involved quarterbacks, including five in a row at one point.
Not surprising, since incumbent starter Matt Hasselbeck is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent when the league calendar year begins and the Seahawks have been linked to a QB in several mock drafts of Thursday night’s first round – when they hold the 25th pick.
Carroll’s responses to some of those QB questions definitely are worth repeating as he and Schneider head into their second draft as coach and GM of the Seahawks.
On Hasselbeck: “Well, we had a good dialogue started and we went up to the time frame that we had available so that’s all we could do and then it ended. We weren’t able to get anything done at that time so when opportunities arise again where we can get going on it again, we’ll be right after it again and see where it all fits. Some time has passed now and there could have been some things that have changed. We’ll just have to see when we start to reopen the conversations and all.”
On the team’s QB situation: “Well, it’s no questions to be answered. Fortunately, we have Charlie (Whitehurst) on board and he’s going to be pumped to come on back and throw his hat in the ring and try to be the starting quarterback here. But with free agency, we have to wait and see. We enter the draft with some opportunities maybe to do something about it, we’ll see. But we don’t know any more than we did following the season so we’re just going to have to wait a little longer. We’re OK about it. We think we have our ducks in line and our options out there available for us, but we’re going to have to wait and see how it goes and we really can’t help you all much more than that at this time. We don’t know.”
On the QBs in this year’s draft class, which includes expected first-round picks Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker and possible first-rounders Ryan Mallett, Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton: “It’s really interesting. It’s interesting. John has looked at these more pointedly than I have over the years, but a varied style of player from one guy to the next. So you have a number of guys that are capable in this great quest to find the quarterback. Which guy is going to emerge? There’s only a couple guys a year that usually turn out as being big-time quarterbacks. It’s still a mystery. But you do have a wide range of styles of guys to go with this year. If you have your pick of all of them, it would be really difficult. But it’s going to take some shape as it goes. Obviously some guys will go off the board and we’ll have to see how that goes. We don’t know any more than you guys know about that right now so we’ll have to just wait.”
On Locker, the University of Washington QB who is from Ferndale: “Well we understand that. We understand that Jake was born and raised around here and all that. He played his college ball here and he’s been a figure of great standing in football in the Northwest for some time now and there’s some interesting aspects to that if he could be here. But we have to go ahead and take the opportunity as it comes and make the best decision that we can make at the time and all that. If that ever came together, it would be fun for the people around and all that. We understand that.”
On whether there is an ideal type of QB for his system: “Yeah, we’re always looking for a guy that can manage the offense, really. We’ve always said, even way back with Heisman Trophy winners (at USC), we were never structuring the offense to be carried by one guy. We always wanted to have a guy that would be very understanding of the system and of the people and the assets around him that could mix and move the football about. With that, we’ve always liked a quarterback that could move. We’ve always liked the ability to move because it fits with our running game and the style of complementary throwing game that we like to match up with it. So the movement quarterback is – we don’t need to have a guy that’s a pure runner, we’re not talking about that – but a guy that has the ability to move and get out of the pocket and give us the variety of sets where we want to get that quarterback to slow down the pass rush and stuff. That’s always been part of it. That hasn’t always been what we’ve had, but that’s always been something that we’ve looked for in the ideal.”
So, who will the Seahawks’ starter be whenever the season might start? Hasselbeck? Whitehurst? Another veteran to be acquired later? A college prospect that will be selected in the draft?
As Carroll said, “We don’t know.” And, “We have to wait and see.” And, “It’s still a mystery.”