Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Seahawks could run on undefeated quarterback

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Time will tell how the Seattle Seahawks’ season plays out, but chances are the team has yet to find a long-term fix at quarterback. A potential free-agent option is on the horizon for 2023 as Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush continues to impress if given the opportunity to take the field.

Rush is now a perfect 2-0 during his starts for Dallas in the absence of Dak Prescott. The veteran quarterback was just drafted into the Cowboys’ 53-man roster after being on the practice team and will be a free agent in the upcoming offseason. Much like the Seahawks signed Matt Flynn in 2012, Rush would present an affordable option that could compete for the team’s starting quarterback in 2023. That commitment wouldn’t prevent Seattle from picking a quarterback in the draft like the Seahawks with Russell Wilson in the same offseason.

Rush threw for 235 yards and a touchdown while completing 61.2% of his passes in the Cowboys’ upset victory over the Bengals. The Dallas quarterback had even more impressive numbers in another start against the Vikings on Oct. 31, 2021, when he threw the game-winning touchdown with 51 seconds remaining. Rush threw for 325 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while shooting 60% of his shots against Minnesota.

Two games is too small a sample size to determine whether Rush can be a team’s long-term solution as quarterback. Prescott is expected to miss four to six weeks, which should give Rush the opportunity to create a larger body of work for interested teams to evaluate. If Rush continues to play at a high level, it could be difficult for the Cowboys to re-sign the quarterback, as Team Prescott has already pledged $160 million.

The Cowboys had so much faith in Rush that the team decided not to make a move for an extra quarterback after Prescott’s injury. Heading into Week 2, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy noted that the team was able to maintain the same offensive game plan Dallas had with Prescott at center.

“As for Cooper Rush, we don’t feel like there’s really any limitations on what we want to do,” McCarthy said during a Sept. 15 news conference. “He’s as proficient at this offense as anyone. Him and Kellen, they go back to when I came here, and that’s really how we’re going about it. And it’s no different with left guard, left tackle – it’s all part of the game plan process.”

Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s CJ Stroud continue to be the quarterback-class headliners en route to the 2023 NFL draft. If the Seahawks can’t pick either of these two players, the team could face a challenge in finding its future Find QB1 via the draft.

Aside from those consensus top 2 signal callers, the rest of the group of quarterback prospects are struggling to find consistency. Whether Kentucky’s Will Levis, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke, or other quarterbacks will make it as first-round players is unclear. ESPN’s Mel Kiper thinks Van Dyke may need another year of college football for development instead of declaring himself for the draft.

“Is Tyler Van Dyke ready for the NFL?” Kiper wrote on Sept. 19. “Let me upfront by saying he missed his top wide receiver (Xavier Restrepo) on Saturday, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Miami quarterback forgo the 2023 draft and play another collegiate season. He’s only a sophomore in his third year and made only his 12th career start in the 17-9 loss at Texas A&M. He doesn’t seem entirely comfortable on offense with new coordinator Josh Gattis.

“Van Dyke has all the tools – big arm, touch, accuracy – but he’s still raw. What I’ve seen in three games tells me he could use more spice, which could help him be the best signal caller in the 2024 class.

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