Seahawks to get firsthand look at quarterback they passed on in the draft
Rookie Andy Dalton has Bengals off to 4-2 start.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seattle spent months this year deciding if quarterback Andy Dalton would be a Seahawk.
Now it will spend Sunday afternoon trying to beat him.
Tarvaris Jackson's availability for this game between Cincinnati and Seattle isn't the only quarterback question the Seahawks will be facing. There are plenty of people who will ask whether the Seahawks should have chosen Dalton with their first-round choice, especially because the rookie from Texas Christian is 4-2 as the Bengals' starter.
"We really liked him," coach Pete Carroll said. "We liked everything about him. We did an extensive study on him."
And after all that consideration, the Seahawks decided to draft a big hoss for the right side of its line, choosing offensive tackle James Carpenter. That left Dalton on the board, chosen by Cincinnati with the fourth selection of the second round. The Bengals got a player who became TCU's starter as a freshman, and he was just as ready to step in immediately in the NFL.
"The game has not been too big for him," coach Marvin Lewis said.
Should the Seahawks have picked Dalton? That's a question it will take years to answer definitively, but for the second time in three home games this season, Seattle will come face-to-face with a quarterback it chose to pass upon.
First it was Kevin Kolb, whom the Cardinals acquired from Philadelphia, and now it's Dalton.
Instead, the Seahawks have chosen to take a couple of short-term fliers on backups Charlie Whitehurst and Jackson, holding off on making the long-term commitment that will define the next few years.
Whitehurst started last week at Cleveland with Jackson out because of a strained pectoral muscle, and while Jackson is questionable, it appeared Friday he was preparing to start.
Seattle's CenturyLink Field presents one of the biggest challenges of Dalton's young NFL career. This is a stadium known as one of the noisiest in the league, and a crowd that can be downright overbearing on rookies.
Seven visiting rookie quarterbacks have started in this stadium. Three finished with quarterback ratings below 50, and Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman is the only one to come away with a victory.
At 4-2, the Bengals are one of the biggest surprises in the league, but their victories have come against teams that are a combined 9-16. Not only that, but Cincinnati will be missing starting running back Cedric Benson, who is suspended for this game. Bernard Scott will start in his place.
The key for Seattle is to make Dalton look like a rookie, and so far he has been anything but. The Bengals have committed only six turnovers, tied for second-fewest in the NFL, and the composure and timing the Seahawks found so compelling during their scouting of Dalton has remained just as impressive. He is completing more than 62 percent of his passes.
"His tempo and his rhythm and his confidence are demonstrated," Carroll said. "He's just going to get better and better."
The Seahawks met with Dalton at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and again later in the process. He knew Seattle was interested, and when the Seahawks' selection came up in the first round, he certainly thought that was a possibility.
"I thought I had a chance of going there," Dalton told Cincinnati-area reporters. "Especially at the end of the first round."
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org