Seattle Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has gamely battled through a torn pectoral muscle suffered during an Oct. 9 victory over the New York Giants.
Taking a closer look at Jackson’s performance during a 23-17 defeat to Washington in Week 12 brought to mind a question for our consideration: Should the Seahawks shut down Jackson and use the remaining games to see what third-stringer Josh Portis has to offer?
A few factors entering into such a decision:
Health: The pectoral injury seemed to affect Jackson’s throwing ability to a degree it had not previously. The team has already said Jackson might require surgery. Jackson has had trouble practicing on consecutive days. His performance has declined over the last few weeks. What is there to gain by leaving him in the lineup at well less than full strength?
What’s at stake: The playoffs aren’t a realistic option. Official elimination from the postseason will come with the Seahawks’ next defeat or the San Francisco 49ers’ next win or tie. Trying to squeeze out an extra victory or two while exposing Jackson to more serious injury makes little sense. The team needs Jackson to be ready for training camp. The defeat to Washington called into question whether Jackson can squeeze out another victory or two, anyway.
The process: This season was about discovery at the quarterback position and building other positions before drafting a QB in 2012. The Seahawks have seen enough from backup Charlie Whitehurst, who likely will not be back next season. Jackson proved he’s tough and capable enough to serve as a bridge to the team’s next starter. Portis’ talents have intrigued the coaching staff. When else will the team have a chance to give Portis a look in real games?
Health permitting, Jackson probably needs to start against Philadelphia on Thursday night. His experience will help during a short work week. If Jackson were to enjoy a strong game, Seattle could reevaluate. Otherwise, the team could consider starting Portis at home against St. Louis in Week 14. In the meantime, make him the No. 2 option against Philadelphia.