On Monday, Mike Holmgren sounded uncertain about the idea of the team carrying two quarterbacks, without a reserve on the practice squad. After the releases of Derek Devine and David Greene, the team's subsequent moves were more about filling other positions. "The roster itself is a flexible thing through the course of the year," Holmgren said. "You always have to be earning your way. We'll do what we have to do as an organization to keep making it better, if possible.
"(The quarterback situation will be) flexible, as well. Before too long, I think we'll have three quarterbacks. I couldn't tell you right now who that's going to be, but I've never done this. We talked about it. For right now, it's okay, but I would think we're going to add one here before too long.
Matt Hasselbeck agreed that it's safety first when it comes to his position. Seattle's quarterback missed four games last season with a knee injury, and though backup Seneca Wallace led the team to a 2-2 record in Hasselbeck's absence, the team was also one more false move away from fielding a quarterback who was categorically unready for the big time. "It's my job to be stay healthy and make sure we only need one quarterback," Hasselbeck said on Monday. "But there needs to be a contingency plan, and there are people inside (the front office) that are making those decisions. It is a little different, though – we started out with five, and now we're down to two. It's okay – we freed up a roster spot somewhere."
And with few truly palatable options available for third quarterback slots (hey…if they were palatable, they wouldn't be third quarterbacks…), Dorsey, who was released by the Cleveland Browns on September 1st after one season with the team, seemed like a good option for several reasons. Dorsey is known for an arm that won't inspire awe, but he can make the short-to-intermediate throws that are at the heart of Holmgren's offense. In addition to his graduate degree in Dink and Dunk, Dorsey is known as a very game-smart player, which is crucial for a player who would be coming into Holmgren's "Beautiful Mind" offense.
At Miami, Dorsey rewrote the school's passing records and led the Hurricanes to the 2001 national championship. Drafted in the seventh round by San Francisco in the 2003 draft, he was known primarily for his intangibles. NFLDraftScout.com Senior Draft Analyst Rob Rang scouted Dorsey at the East-West Shrine game and was impressed.
"He has a slight frame, but is tougher than he looks and can take command of the huddle when needed. He makes up for a lack of a dominant arm or athleticism with moxie and an understanding of the offense," Rang's report said at the time. Now, Rang thinks that a Dorsey signing could be a good move. "Signing Ken Dorsey makes a lot of sense for Seattle. While he isn't the raw talent that Mike Holmgren has preferred to groom in the past, he does offer intelligence, experience, and leadership to the team."
Craig Massei, the publisher of SF Illustrated, who has covered the team since Dorsey's tenure with the 49ers, believes that Dorsey hasn't received a fair shake from the NFL.
"They were using (Dennis) Erickson's funky offense, which was sort of difficult
to categorize, since it was pretty much a bastardized version of five different
offensive approaches, so it never really had its own identity," Massei said,
when asked if Dorsey ever ran a West Coast-style offense in San Francisco. "I
definitely wouldn't call it West Coast, although it certainly borrowed from
"That said, I can't say enough about Dorsey. He gets a raw deal because of his noodle arm, but the guy can compete and knows how to get the job done. He's not starter material, obviously, but he's a good backup who can come in and manage an offense. He's not real mobile or athletic, so that works against him when he's standing in the pocket. He can make the short and intermediate throws when he's on, but he's always good for a couple of lame ducks as his playing/practice time increases."
Massei says that Dorsey was traded because the 49ers required more of a mentor for Alex Smith. "I thought he would have been a good guy to keep around here to back up Smith, which he did while winning one of his three starts during Smith's rookie season in 2005," Massei continued. "But the 49ers wanted a veteran like Dilfer to mentor Smith and also be on hand if Smith got hurt or still wasn't ready, and that has really turned out to be the best thing for both Smith and the team. Dorsey's still too young and unaccomplished to fill that role.
Can Dorsey win in this league if asked to for a small part of a season? Massei thinks so. "I'm a little surprised the Browns didn't keep him over Derek Anderson as their third QB, just because he's probably a better QB than Anderson. But Anderson is more athletic and has a better arm. Those will always be things that other NFL quarterbacks have over Dorsey. But can the guy play? That's what counts, and if he ever played with a good team with good players around him, I think he'd be good enough to win, at least in the short term before too much film on him gets around.
There's no word of an official signing, so it's important to note that nothing may come of it. Still, it would seem that Seattle needs a third-string quarterback, and Ken Dorsey needs an offense that he could grow into enough to help if needed.
It could be a good fit.