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Originally published December 29, 2011 at 10:01 PM | Page modified December 30, 2011 at 9:15 PM

Tarvaris Jackson gets endorsement from Seahawks coach for 2012

Pete Carroll says he's comfortable with Tarvaris Jackson as the starting quarterback next season, but says Seahawks will consider their draft options.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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RENTON — Tarvaris Jackson will end this season Sunday in Arizona the same way he began it: as Seattle's undisputed starting quarterback.

Jackson outlasted the chants for backup Charlie Whitehurst early in the season. He came back from a strained pectoral muscle. He survived Seattle's 2-6 start, more than 40 sacks at the hands of opponents, and he has started more games this season than any of his previous five.

And after all that, coach Pete Carroll says he's comfortable with Jackson as Seattle's starter going forward.

"That's where we are," Carroll said. "That doesn't mean that we're not going to look at the draft really hard and all of the opportunities. We'll always do that at every position. But (for) T-Jack, understanding what this season has been like for him is really important."

Jackson has played better than many expected after being signed to replace departed Matt Hasselbeck, but not quite well enough to pull out a fourth-quarter comeback in any of the team's four home defeats.

Let's not get carried away about demanding a final answer on future plans before this season is over. Jackson certainly isn't looking toward his status for next season.

"I really haven't thought that far out," he said. "I'm basically trying to finish this season, just trying to make sure that I focus on this game, try to be the best I can be for this game."

That's a lesson he learned the past few years in Minnesota. Public pronouncements don't necessarily mean all that much, and trying to write the future in permanent ink is a risky proposition.

"I understand how the NFL works," he said. "This is my sixth year now, and I know you guys all understand, I've been through probably worse."

At this point, Jackson smiled just a little bit, and the fact that he could find humor in that reference is a sign of maturity. Remember, he's the guy the Vikings yo-yoed down the depth chart when Brett Favre came out of retirement in 2009 and 2010.

"I don't really see it getting any worse than that," Jackson said. "I'm not complaining or anything, but nothing ever really surprises me right now in the NFL."

Change can come suddenly in the NFL, and coaches don't ask players for permission. All a player can do is try to prove he's the best man for the job.

A lot has changed over the course of this season in Seattle from the heavy use of the hurry-up offense in the first month of the schedule to a more ground-bound approach the final nine games. The one thing that has remained unchanged is Carroll's unambiguous support for Jackson. That has been there from the moment Seattle signed Jackson.

"It gave me confidence in coaches again," Jackson said. "It was a good situation ... We had our ups and downs as an offense early in the season, but we stuck together, he stuck with me, and we got better throughout the season."

He has been a viable starter on a team that would avoid a losing record for the first time since 2007 by beating Arizona on Sunday.

The future?

Jackson was encouraged to hear Carroll is comfortable starting him next year, but he's not getting ahead of himself.

"That's a vote of confidence," Jackson said. "That's good. But you know how fast things can change. I understand that part of the game. It's not going to affect me, period."

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @dannyoneil.

QB comparison
It's impossible to project how Matt Hasselbeck would have played for this Seahawks team, but Tarvaris Jackson's numbers in Seattle are very comparable to what Hasselbeck has done in Tennessee this season:
Season Yards Comp. pct. TD INT QB rating
Tarvaris Jackson 2,869 60.2 13 12 79.5
Matt Hasselbeck 3,274 61.5 16 14 80.5
In December Yards Comp. pct. TD INT QB rating
Jackson 804 63.6 4 0 98.8
Hasselbeck 757 64.3 1 4 71.9
In 4th quarters Yards Comp. pct. TD INT QB rating
Jackson 809 65.8 4 4 84.3
Hasselbeck 774 61.5 5 5 77.4

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