It's currently unclear who the Bengals second-ranked defense will face in Seattle at the quarterback position. The Seahawks starting quarterback is six-year veteran Tarvaris Jackson but thanks to an injury, Charlie Whitehurst started against the Browns in Week 7 and played a lot of the Seahawks' Week 6 game against the Giants.
Obviously, Jackson and Whitehurst are two completely different guys and since it's not really clear right now who the Bengals defense will be facing, Mike Zimmer probably has them preparing for both. When it comes to preparing for Jackson, Zimmer needs to prepare his defense to defend against a quarterback who can not only throw the ball, but move the chains with his legs as well.
Before we go much further, we need to discuss who is defined as a mobile quarterback and who isn't. Obviously Michael Vick is a mobile quarterback and obviously Peyton Manning isn't. There isn't a clear cut line that divides the two though -- there is a lot of gray area that some quarterbacks fall into. Ben Roethilisberger could be defined as a mobile quarterback at times because he's been so good avoiding pressure in the pocket and make plays on the run. However, for the purposes of this article, let's focus on quarterbacks that run for first downs instead of scramble outside of the pocket and throw.
Here is how the Bengals have done against those quarterbacks in recent years.
The Bengals have only faced Jackson once. That game was in 2009 when the Bengals faced the Minnesota Vikings. Brett Favre was the starting quarterback but Jackson came in on a few plays to run the ball in sort of a wildcat offense. He only carried the ball twice and the Bengals didn't let him gain a single yard. In fact, Jackson finished the game with -1 yards rushing.
The Bengals have also faced Vince Young. That game was in 2007, before Mike Zimmer came to Cincinnati as the team's defensive coordinator. Young also ran the ball only twice and finished the game with six yards rushing.
The Bengals have faced Ryan Fitzpatrick twice as a starting quarterback, both times against the Bills -- once this season and once in 2010. In those two games, Fitzpatrick only ran the ball twice for a total of 16 yards.
And then there's Vick, the ultimate running quarterback in the NFL. Surprisingly he's only played against the Bengals twice in his career, both time when he was still with the Atlanta Falcons. In 2006's game between the Falcons and Bengals, Vick carried the ball nine times for 55 yards and in 2002's matchup Vick carried the ball five times for 56 yards.
Obviously, with the addition of Mike Zimmer in 2008, the Bengals have had a different defense. However, overall they've been pretty good against quarterbacks that are capable of picking up yards with their legs. If Tarvaris Jackson starts on Sunday against the Bengals, I'm sure that Zimmer will have his guys watch to make sure he doesn't run the ball but even if he does, I think the Bengals will be okay. So far this season, opposing quarterbacks have carried the ball 14 times for 39 yards against the Bengals. That's a yards per carry average of 2.8 yards. Not too bad.
When it comes down to it, the Seahawks 31st-ranked offense will go up against the league's second-ranked defense and whether it's Whitehurst or Jackson, I expect the Bengals to keep the Seahawks offense from scoring too many points.