Thoughts On Tarvaris Jackson And His Impact On The Seattle Seahawks



A natural leader that left this party way too soon. He will be missed.

It wasn’t fun starting my day seeing on my sport’s ticker that 36 year old former Seahawk quarterback Tarvaris Jackson passed away in a traffic accident. I woke prepared to work on another mock draft piece in preparation of the NFL draft next week. However, it felt wrong to write about potential future Seahawks when a player from their past had just tragically passed away. So, I decided to write this piece instead. I hope you enjoy.

I always liked T-Jack. I don’t believe a ton of Seahawk fans, especially casual fans, had a great appreciation for him, but I think his teammates, and his coaches did, big time.

T-Jack was faced with the difficult task of taking over the offensive when they had just moved on from long time signal caller Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck was an incredibly likeable player for the team for a near decade. T-Jack had enormous shoes to fill when Pete Carroll chose him to replace Hass. It was most likely a hard position for him to be in, especially, I think, with fans, and some local sports radio hosts.

Fans were left doubting the logic of Carroll then, and whether Paul Allen knew what he was doing when he hired the former Trojan. I sat with family and friends watching some of those games in 2011, and endured the mocking of T-Jack when a ball went errant after the offensive line gave up early pressure. Then when T-Jack would comfortably roll out and hit a deep pass, I’d just sit back and say something like, “hm, looks like he has a pretty good arm. Don’t think Hass could have done that.” It was usually met with either further mocking or at least under the breath muddering.

I’m not going to say that I thought T-Jack was the answer, but I could see where Carroll wanted to go with the position. He wanted an athletic passer with a big arm to take advantage of play action. I loved Hasselbeck, but that was not his game. He was a rhythm passer who relied on precision timing with his receivers. Deep shots were not his game, nor were play action bootlegs. T-Jack could do that, and I thought he did it fairly well considering that the team was still building around him.

What I thought he did significantly better was being a leader, and being a genuine tough guy. Tarvaris Jackson was an incredibly gritty player who battled through 2011 playing with a torn pectoral muscle as a passer. If that isn’t toughness, I don’t know what is, frankly, and it had an undeniable positive impact on this young team that was trying to find itself.

He endeared himself to his teammates. He was a leader for them when they were a young squad and needed leadership. I think that was part of the reason why a number of players had a hard timing buying into Russell Wilson the following year.

Russell was clearly the better player, and Pete Carroll rightly chose Russ over T-Jack, but T-Jack had won over that clubhouse previously, and Seattle pretty much had to deal him away to Buffalo for pennies to keep from any QB controversies. That probably didn’t help some vets to warm quicker towards Russ, and I’m just guessing on that one. T-Jack had fans on the defense, and he clearly had fans on the offense (notably Doug Baldwin).

Then when T-Jack returned to Seattle the following year, he returned as a good soldier, and teammate. Russell was the starter, and he knew that, but I think he still led in his own way, and was likely a calming presence on a roster full of hot personalities.

I think, in many ways, Tarvaris Jackson set the tone for how a Pete Carroll Seattle Seahawk should be, and that was to, first and foremost, “protect the team.”

T-Jack did that exceptionally, and it’s sad that we lost him. I think the benefits of Seattle having him on their roster were largely unseen by the fans, but were greatly felt by his teammates, and I think a lot of those guys are likely grieving over this news right now. I feel for them, and I feel for his surviving family members.

Go Hawks.



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