Let The Drew Lock Era Begin? I Don’t Know, But I Am Rooting For It

Dear Seattle Seahawk Fan,

Let me first start this off by saying that, I had been previously heavily into the idea of Baker Mayfield becoming a Seattle Seahawk for 2022. When healthy, I think he can be a fun quarterback to watch. He’s got spunk. I like spunk. Also, at age 27, it has been hard for me to determine whether he’s peaked as an NFL starting quarterback. I kinda think he hasn’t.

So, when news broke that he’d been finally traded to the Carolina Panthers for a mere conditional 5th round pick in 2023, I was a bit bummed for a spell, and then I sorta moved on.. to Jimmy Garoppolo.

I won’t lie. These rumors that Seattle is interested in acquiring Garoppolo intrigue me, but I understand it if you would rather pass.

We have all had a good chuckle at Jimmy G in the PNW over the years while we had Russell Wilson up here. He’s not an athlete like Russ, and he doesn’t have the deep ball abilities like Russ, either. He’s also proven injury prone, and Russ, for the most part, has not been.

Nevertheless, when healthy, Garoppolo proved to be a very capable system quarterback for San Fransisco, and the players down there love this guy. I believe these things matter in football.

When healthy, Jimmy G is a smart enough quarterback to know what a defense is trying to do, and where to go with the ball quickly and accurately with short to intermediate throws. He’s very good at throwing to his running backs and tight ends (something maybe Russ didn’t do enough of).

When he throws an interception, he doesn’t get rattled. He has confidence in himself and his teammates to bounce back, and he’s done this many times. He’s a natural leader, and a likable guy.

These are all important qualities in a quarterback. If Seattle were to make a rare interdivisional trade for him with San Fransisco, I would not be disappointed. I think many of the things he does well as a starter fit along with what offensive coordinator Shane Waldron wants to do with this offense.

I think that this sort of trade would also signal that Seattle likes the shape of its young roster, and they believe they can compete for the playoffs this year, and that idea excites me. I don’t mind watching this team stay competitive as they transition away from Russ.

Having said all this stuff, then there’s this curious case of one Drew Lock, and the feels that I feel when it comes to this guy. Here’s the big reveal I offer about myself. I am a big time sucker for a good underdog story.

One did not become a fan of the Seattle Seahawks in the early 1980’s by not rooting for an underdog. This is a deeply embedded trait of mine, and I would argue that all three of the Seahawks’ most prolific passers were underdog stories in David Krieg, Matthew Hasselbeck, and Russell Wilson. Like it, or not, the underdog quarterback is a HUGE part of the Seattle sports DNA.

So, yeah, I’m slowly becoming a bit of a Drew Lock fan. I’m really pulling for the guy to succeed in Seattle. Like, I would LOVE for that to happen.

He seems like a genuinely likable dude, and I like that in a quarterback. He’s taken a ton of flack from fans and some media, and weirdly, the US Open Tennis. He’s handled it well, and has joked it off with ease. Personally, I find that endearing.

And you can laugh at that all you want about any idea of him turning it around. I get it. He lead the league in interceptions in 2020, was replaced in 2021 by the journeyman of journeymen starters in Teddy Bridgewater, and currently hasn’t been “beating out” Geno Smith as QB1 during Spring OTAs (I got some thoughts on that one).

You can pull up all kinds of historical examples of quarterbacks who had rough starts to their careers as Drew Lock has had, and never materialized into good players. You can say there was a reason he slid out of the first round in the 2019 draft when some projected him to be the second best quarterback prospect behind Kyler Murray.

I also get that you might be eyeing the 2023 NFL draft class of quarterbacks, and believing that there is a future star sitting there for Seattle to pluck up if they suck enough this year, and that has you not much interested in a scenario of Drew Lock turning it around for himself this year. For many, the golden ticket is to get a bright young quarterback on a rookie contract, such as Seattle had when it went to back to back Super Bowls a decade ago. I totally get this stuff.

But I guess I would also like to point out that when Matthew Hasselbeck first got to Seattle, a couple decades ago, he initially sucked as a starter. I was there, and saw it live.

He forced throws into coverage. He was head strong about his abilities, and he had an arrogance as a young starter that felt unearned. He ended up benched in favor of a veteran bandaid quarterback in Trent Dilfer much like Drew Lock was last year in Denver for Bridgewater.

I know this Matt HasseIbeck story well because I was one of the masses in the stands chanting for Dilfer every time he threw a pick (which was often). Finally, Mike Holmgren benched Hass for Difler, and the team became more competitive. Fans like myself felt validated, and Hasselbeck seemed destined to be yet another quarterback miss by an organization that missed on quarterbacks for the entire decade of the 1990’s.

People forget just how close it was for Matt Hasselbeck to have a flame out in the league before his career even got truly started. It was dangerously close.

Hasselbeck sat for about a year on the bench behind Difler, and if it wasn’t for a season ending injury to Dilger that forced Hasselbeck back into the lineup, he might likely would have busted out of the league. Seattle would have likely continued with Dilfer until they drafted (or traded) for his replacement.

But that was not to be Hasselbeck’s story. Due to this Difler injury, he got a second chance at being a starter, and in that chance, he played more within himself, and the offense finally clicked for him. Two years later he would be a starting quarterback in a Super Bowl, and he is arguably the second best quarterback in Seahawk franchise history.

Matt Hasselbeck got a second chance to rewrite his own story as an NFL quarterback. With this new chance, he changed up his attitude. He became a better team player. He understood more what Holmgren wanted him to do, he executed it, and fought back his worst impulses on the field.

He became a good, reliable, Pro Bowl worthy quarterback.

So, when I look Drew Lock in Seattle this Summer, fighting for a second chance, it’s very hard for me not to think about Hasselbeck twenty years ago. It’s not entirely an unrealistic idea that Lock’s story could mirror Hass’s.

Drew Lock is only 25 years old, and has only started just over 20 games in the league. That’s not a lot of starts, and call me crazy, but I think his 25-20 TD-INT ratio is perfectly indicative of a young quarterback going through the pains of figuring out NFL defenses and his abilities to play against them.

Last year, Denver’s head coach was on the hot seat, and long lost patience with his development. Vic Fangio needed to win games, and he went with his version of Trent Dilfer in Teddy Bridgewater. This is what I read into Drew Lock’s notorious benching in 2021.

So, while it didn’t work out for Lock in Denver, maybe it will for him in Seattle, if Seattle doesn’t make a move for another quarterback (or ride with Geno Smith all season). Maybe with a true second chance, he plays more within himself, and becomes a good fit for what Seattle wants to do. We won’t know unless Seattle gives him this chance, and I have landed on the position of hoping that they do.

Pete Carroll is not on any hot seat, no matter how NFL pundits want to spin it into a storyline for the 2022 season, or some upset Seahawk fans want to wish it into existence. Jody Allen would not have endorsed trading away Russell Wilson during an off-season that hosted a bad NFL draft class for quarterbacks with an idea that Pete was going to immediately roll this team back into a powerhouse right away. She knows this is going to be a process. Pete’s job is most likely one of the safest in the league.

Therefore, he has luxury to see what is there with Drew Lock. I suspect that he knows this, and that is why this team didn’t trade for Baker Mayfield, or draft Malik Willis with one of their second or third round picks back in late April.

And for those who think I am drawing too much on Hasselbeck as a positive example for Drew Lock, he isn’t the only NFL quarterback who’s career started out rough. I also seem to remember Peyton Manning throwing a ton of interceptions during the early points of his career, but being he first overall pick in 1999, I think it’s fair to say say he was afforded the luxury of time to work out the kinks.

So, while I get that many people are giving Drew Lock a zero chance of working out as the starting quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, forgive me if I am not one of those. I think it might be well worth it if Seattle ultimately does give him a shot at it.

If Drew Lock fails to take command of this team, and lead this young offense to success, Seattle can look to the veteran market next year, or more likely, they can look to the draft where it is expected to be a better one for quarterbacks. They would have the draft capital necessary to make either sort of move on a guy that they want.

But if it clicks for Lock in this offense, and unexpectedly, he’s able to guide this team into post season contention, play efficiently, making enough plays when needed, and being a good distributer the way Pete Carroll loves his quarterbacks to be.. well, then things become more interesting for 2023, potentially.

Then you are looking at a quarterback who is young enough, experienced enough, has enough top end physical talent, and has shown an ability to turn his game around. That sounds like a guy who maybe John Schneider and Pete Carroll want to consider keeping around, especially if he’s won over the locker room.

It also sounds like another example of the Seattle Seahawks keeping their tradition of the underdog quarterback making good a continual thing. And if this happens, then all that draft capital from Denver can be used to further build out a young foundational core to help this organization go beyond mere playoff contention again. And isn’t that the goal, anyways?

Personally, I would be there for that.

Go Hawks!

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2 thoughts on “Let The Drew Lock Era Begin? I Don’t Know, But I Am Rooting For It

  1. I agree with your assessment and hopes. Having watched Gino at the Jets, I do not believe he can take the team to the promised land.
    I say give Drew a chance. He has a season to prove it or lose it

    Liked by 1 person

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