Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll: Tarvaris Jackson is Our Quarterback if He’s Healthy

October 11, 2011 – 8:30 am by Eric Schmoldt

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has done pretty well to avoid any sort of quarterback controversy despite the fact that he brought in Tarvaris Jackson when Charlie Whitehurst has looked every bit as capable, albeit in limited action.  He may not be able to avoid those questions so easily anymore, regardless of the severity of the injury sustained by Jackson during Seattle’s surprising Week 5 road win against the Giants.

Carroll didn’t know Jackson’s injury status at the time of the following interview, but it has since been revealed he has a high-grade strain of his right pectoral muscle, an injury that will take rehab at the least and surgery in a worst-case scenario. Jackson threw for 166 yards, a touchdown and an interception before leaving Sunday’s victory over the New York Giants. Whitehurst was forced into the game and threw for 149 yards and a touchdown, leaving some to wonder if there would be an open competition if Jackson is healthy following the bye. Carroll says Jackson is the team’s quarterback if healthy.

Pete Carroll joined 790 ESPN Seattle with Brock and Salk to discuss the status of Tavaris Jackson who was injured during Seattle’s Week 5 win over the Giants, why Whitehurst is better than he was last year, if there could be a competition between the two even when Jackson is healthy enough to play, the success his offense has had operating out of the hurry-up offense, and the outstanding play of the team’s defense, particularly in third-down situations.

What’s the status of injured quarterback Tarvaris Jackson?:

“He’s not done with testing and scanning … but I thought Tarvaris played really well. He had us in position for four touchdowns in the first half, easily, and did a great job, played well again. … Charlie [Whitehurst] came in and did just like Charlie’s been doing. I think he was a little rusty right off the bat … but got us going and made the plays we needed to make and finished beautifully and did what Charlie’s done. We’ve been saying, we’ve seen him all preseason, Charlie’s better than he was last years. He’s more in control and ready to take over. … That’s an awesome factor for us to have.”

Why do you think he’s better than last year?:

“I think he’s just growing into it with us. I think he came in last year with an incumbent guy and it was a different situation and I challenged the heck out of him. I couldn’t have thrown a better challenge at him. I said, ‘This guy’s coming in to take the job and in a few weeks from now you get to compete again when you can catch up.’ He didn’t want to hear that and just battled. He’s done all of that to position himself to play like a starter when he got his chance.”

Is this now a competition, even if Jackson is healthy?:

“I think the competition is on. We’ve got two good football players. But T-Jack’s done everything we’d asked him to do and he’s our quarterback, he’s our guy in every way. I love what he’s doing. I just wish he would’ve got down on that darn little keeper. … But no, he’s our quarterback.”

You went with the hurry-up offense a lot. What’s that mean for the Seahawks and the identity of this team?:

“It’s the best thing for us at this time. We had enough evidence, we just had to put it together and make the commitment. Going into last week, we did that. I had really high hopes. I thought, because all the evidence was there, that we were going to be fine. But I didn’t know. … This is something that we can do that can make us different and make us unique and fits our guys.”

What stood out to you from your team defensively?:

“The run game was there and that’s how we’ve designed this defense is to play great up front and really hammer the run game. The run was nothing and that’s why those situations in third downs were really long. … We cut it loose and the fellas really played good and that’s when we’re at our best. Just a week ago, in the first half of the Atlanta game, it was third-and-three, third-and-two-, third-and-two, third-and-one in the four first third downs of the game. That’s a whole different ballgame. … I think what’s so exciting is how hard they played and how determined they were no matter what was going on.”

Listen to Pete Carroll on 710 ESPN Seattle here (Interview begins at 21:20)

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