Leave my quarterback alone.
That’s what Seattle Seahawks receiver Mike Williams said in so many words when addressing reporters on Monday.
Williams and the rest of his teammates have heard the constant criticism streaming from columns, blogs and sports talk radio aimed at quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. And Williams defended his quarterback as the Seahawks begin preparation for their season opener Sunday at San Francisco.
“It’s kind of unbelievable,” Williams said. “If it’s overwhelming for a teammate, then it has to be enough for him. I just kind of want to tell everybody, ‘Back the hell up.’ Let him play. Let him have his shot to work and go out here and do his thing.”
Jackson’s play hasn’t exactly inspired confidence in the Seahawks’ fan base during exhibition play.
The starting offense managed to score 13 points with Jackson at quarterback during the preseason in a little over a game’s worth of plays, with the lone touchdown coming against Denver’s second-team defense.
In exhibitions, Jackson completed 32 of 55 passes (58.2 percent) for 269 yards (58.2 percent), with one touchdown and two interceptions. He finished with a 61.9 passer rating and was sacked seven times.
But playing behind a young, inexperienced line, Jackson never had a clean pocket to step into and push the ball downfield.
“Up until the last preseason game, we all agree that the offensive line and the backs, we didn’t really do a good enough job of protecting him and giving him enough time to go out there and show what he can do,” running back Leon Washington said. “So you see what happened in the Oakland game. We really placed an emphasis on protecting him and keeping him upright, and he was able to drive us down the field and make plays.
“So we don’t pay any attention to that at all. Football is a team sport.”
Added Williams: “Rule No. 1 is to protect the team – so you always do that. It is what it is. Everyone has an opinion. But the only ones that count are in this locker room. He’s been voted a captain by this team, so that obviously lets you know how the team feels about him.”