Anywhere between, say, five and eight wins would be what I consider a disappointment.
Nine wins or more? Great.
Four wins or less? Fantastic.
As long as we can avoid the uncoveted middle-of-the-road, I’ll be thrilled.
You may ask yourself why I’d be forecasting an entire season this way. It’s simple, really. I either want this team to go to the Superbowl or finish poorly enough to be in position to draft Jake Locker.
Yeah, I get it. A lot could happen between now and next year.
Maybe Jake Locker suffers an injury (Aziz N’Diaye forbid).
Maybe Locker bails on the gridiron for the San Jacinto Angels of Baja, California (unlikely).
Maybe Locker just sucks (very unlikely).
Maybe Charlie Whitehurst turns into the second coming of Tom Brady (very near impossible).
Maybe Matt Hasselbeck has a mid-life crisis and becomes the great quarterback he once was (not as near impossible).
I don’t know. Anything could happen. I understand that. I’m just saying that right now, at this moment in time, this is what I want. And more than anything else, it involves a discussion of these three quarterbacks who will be inextricably linked over the next twelve months.
Let’s go Choose Your Own Adventure on this beyotch for a bit here and try to predict what could unfold over the course of the next year.
Barring injury or a trade, Matt Hasselbeck will be the starting quarterback when the regular season kicks off in September. Barring some sort of miracle, Charlie Whitehurst, presumably the backup quarterback on day one, will log playing time during the season.
Not to throw Hasselbeck under the bus or anything, but asking him to play a full season is like asking Ellen Pompeo to go out and deliver an Oscar-worthy performance. (And yes, Pompeo, I’m coming after you. I’ve watched enough Grey’s Anatomy in my day to recognize how bad of an actress you are. If you aren’t overdramatizing a scene with your emotionless, monotone rants, then you’re bugging viewers with that whiny inflection in the tone of your voice. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.)
The Seahawks’ franchise QB has been riddled by injuries since taking the team to the Superbowl in the ’05 season. That is thanks in large part to an ever-devolving, porous offensive line. And even though the line will be beefed up in 2010 (thank you, Russell Okung), Hasselbeck will still get hit from time to time. It’s a matter of when, not if, he’ll be forced to the sideline with an injury.
With Whitehurst, you get Seneca Wallace with greater potential. Which basically means he could be good, we just don’t know if and when he will become good.
The nice thing about Wallace was that you knew what you were getting day in and day out. He’s a proven backup, a guy who might win you half his starts and be able carry an offense in the absence of the team’s primary signal-caller. He’s not a longterm solution, and at this point in his career he likely won’t be getting much better than he already is. He’s like Jimmy Fallon in that way.
With Whitehurst, you could just as easily end up with Dan Fouts as Dan McGwire. Nobody knows for sure. All we really know is that this guy has “upside” and a “high ceiling.” Of course, we also felt this way about Brittany Murphy a few years ago, but then she started making crappy movies and now she is no longer with us. You see where I’m going with this?
Personally, I don’t think Whitehurst is the answer. I just hope that if he isn’t the answer, the Seahawks’ brass won’t mortgage our future by holding on to him. That’s a Bill Bavasi move. And we all know what happened to Bill Bavasi.
But even if Whitehurst is the answer, where does that leave the Seahawks in 2010?
With any luck, the Hawks could break .500 in this perennially weak division and contend for the playoffs. But no one wants to see you contend for the playoffs and fail. At least not in the NFL.
If the Seahawks make the playoffs, I’ll be the first guy cheering the team on in my Lofa Tatupu jersey.
But if they finish 8-8, end up a few games short, and secure a draft position in the late teens? Yeah, I’ll be pissed.
All this talk of a season that has yet to kick off leads us indirectly to Jake Locker.
I’ll admit it, I’m selfish in my desire for Locker to end up as a Seahawk. He’s already being viewed as the top pick in next year’s draft. He’s a Husky. He’s born and raised in Washington. And he also happens to be an electric dual threat out of the backfield. That’s pure goodness packaged in a 6’3″ frame.
I have this hunch that Locker won’t just be a good NFL player, but a great NFL player. And great NFL players are hard to find. And when they do turn up, you always wish they would have turned up on your team.
Matt Hasselbeck is a good quarterback. He’s also a good guy. I like him. But he doesn’t have the “It” factor that separates the great ones from the good ones.
Charlie Whitehurst, I feel, will never be a great NFL quarterback. He has the potential to be good, yes. But up to this point, he has been nothing more than a backup with a clipboard, and that doesn’t often spell greatness.
He has the size, the speed, and the intangibles to become great.
He has the charm and the personality to sway the media and endear fans.
Were he to play his professional ball in the same city where he played his college ball, he would set the ideal scene for greatness to evolve.
He has the physical and mental goods to be a great player, and on top of that he possesses the almighty “It” factor. And that is what separates Locker, albeit still a college athlete, from the other passers in this town.
If the Seahawks have a poor season, if Matt Hasselbeck continues to regress, and if Charlie Whitehurst plays the way you’d expect an ex-third stringer to play, then Montlake Jake will be ripe for the picking. Given the opportunity to draft Locker, this ballclub will be presented with a gift that could keep on giving for years to come.
I’d like to see Jake Locker in a Seahawks uniform. I’d also like to see the Seahawks win a Superbowl. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
It would take nothing short of a miraculous performance from either of our current quarterbacks to give us a ring in 2010. But it wouldn’t take much at all to end up drafting in the top five a year from now.
Regardless of where this team ends up, all we can hope for is the very best. What that entails, exactly, remains to be seen.