Mailbag: QB competition under review

June, 19, 2012
6/19/12
8:20
PM ET
Andy from St. Louis senses unjustified surprise over the unsettled nature of the Seattle Seahawks' quarterback competition through mandatory minicamps.

"Shouldn't that have been expected?" he asks. "Two of the QBs in the race are career backups (Matt Flynn had one really good game, but doesn't sample size mean anything anymore?). The other is a middle-round draft pick. They have three back-ups, so it shouldn't shock anyone that none of them are starter-quality."

Mike Sando: Thanks for the question. Unfortunately, the replay official has initiated a challenge and the referee, me, has overturned the premise.

Seattle's quarterback competition could not be settled without exhibition games. There was never an expectation one candidate would jump to a huge lead before training camp. The fact that no one has seized the job does not necessarily mean the team has no quarterbacks worthy of starting. Coach Pete Carroll was going to promote competition through the offseason and into training camp. That was the plan in the absence of exhibition games.

I covered the Seahawks' final minicamp practice last week and didn't even think to report on whether one of the quarterbacks had won the job. Yet, it's unusual to divide reps three ways. That isn't sustainable. At some point, the Seahawks will have to decide whether they're comfortable enough with Flynn and rookie Russell Wilson to consider moving past 2011 starter Tarvaris Jackson or adjusting his $4 million salary.

If the job remains unsettled deep into training camp, you'll be onto something. In retrospect, that happened with Arizona during its 2010 competition between Derek Anderson and Matt Leinart. Neither really stepped forward to seize the job. Before long, it became clear the Cardinals had no viable starter. We don't have enough evidence to say whether Seattle is headed down a similar road, but you're right about Flynn, Jackson and Wilson having much to prove.


joe_cool35 read the earlier item on the NFL's all-22 video release and thought the effects could be far-reaching.

"Another perspective where this can help the general public comes from the coaching perspective at the collegiate and high school levels and possibly even younger," he wrote. "Players are being taught and drilled with proper mechanics from a younger and younger age. Having the ability to dissect the premier players at their respective positions can serve as a great instructional for players of all ages."

Mike Sando: Good point. It's been tough to analyze schemes without seeing all 22 players at the same time throughout a play. Also on this subject, I can pass along additional information from the NFL, which has answered a few of my questions:
  • While the NFL's Game Rewind broadcasts will remain in high definition, the all-22 video will be in standard definition. NFL teams have shot the all-22 video in broadcast-quality standard definition, according to video directors I've spoken with over the years. It's my understanding that some teams shoot the video in HD, but the video exchange system is set up for SD.
  • The general public will receive what the teams receive: each play shot from elevated cameras along the sideline and end zone, showing all 22 players on the field for every play, with no frills. The video does not include sound.
  • The focus this season will be on making available the content. The league has not ruled out making production improvements in the future.
  • The video will be available online and via tablet (iPads and select Android devices) and delivered through the Game Rewind system. The $69.99 price buys access to all 256 regular-season games on demand (not live, of course).

I've been a Game Rewind subscriber for years. The quality for network broadcasts is outstanding if you've got the necessary bandwidth. The experience wasn't nearly as good when I had a 1.5 Mbps DSL connection. Upgrading to 12 Mbps and higher made a pronounced difference in quality.


Will from Boston offers additional information regarding Steven Jackson following our discussion Tuesday morning.

"He is one of just eight running backs to rush for at least 9,000 yards and catch 360 passes in his first eight seasons," Will writes. "He did it in the second-fewest number of games. Jackson needs 907 rushing yards and 31 catches to become the 12th running back to reach the 10,000/400 mark."

Mike Sando: Interesting stuff. Pro Football Reference confirms that Edgerrin James needed fewer games than Jackson to reach 9,000 yards rushing with 360 receptions, and that only 11 players have reached 10,000 yards receiving with 400 receptions.


Paul from San Francisco passes along a link to one of the "Secret Superstar" pieces from Pro Football Focus, this one analyzing Arizona Cardinals nose tackle David Carter.

Mike Sando: This is an interesting series and one we'll monitor, Paul.

St. Louis Rams fans should note that one of the players singled out, Perry Riley, displaced linebacker Rocky McIntosh from the lineup last season. The Rams signed McIntosh in free agency after the Redskins decided they could upgrade with a younger player.

Pro Football Focus has given McIntosh consistently low marks in its grading. The Rams badly needed help at the position, however, and McIntosh does have experience in their defensive system, having played for Gregg Williams in Washington until the 2009 season.


JC from parts unknown noticed that the San Francisco 49ers are planning to spend another week in Ohio between games, this time surrounding visits to Minnesota (Week 3) and the New York Jets (Week 4).

"Do you think more teams will follow and use this strategy, or is any team also doing it?" he asks.

Mike Sando: Ohio makes sense for the 49ers in part because their ownership is from the state.

Arizona remained on the road between East Coast trips a few years back, losing road games to Washington and the Jets. The Cardinals play back-to-back road games only once this season, on opposite coasts (at Jets, at Seahawks).

Seattle has St. Louis-Carolina and Miami-Chicago trips, but I've heard of no plans to remain on the road between those games. The Seahawks should be rested before the second trip; they have a bye before visiting the Dolphins. They had a bye between their only back-to-back games in the East last season.

San Diego faces a Denver-Tampa combination at one point. Oakland does not play back-to-back games in the East.

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