Less than a month after the NFL Draft, Seattle Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll already said Russell Wilson will get the opportunity to compete for the starting quarterback position. Typically, I would not put much stock in stories like this; we often hear way too much talk based purely on speculation and the possibility of something that may happen. But this story is different.
It may seem obvious to some that Wilson will get the opportunity to start. Coaches often do not like to name their starter early in the offseason and will hold an open competition to avoid doing so. Look no further for an example than last summer, when Wilson did not come in as the "starter" and had to compete with Joe Brennan and Jon Budmayr, but it was obvious from the moment Wilson transferred that he would start.
What makes this story unique is its timing and Seattle's current quarterback situation.
Rarely will you hear a head coach say a newly drafted quarterback, entering at third-string, will compete for the starting job...and in May! Not to mention Seattle just handed out 26 million dollars to free agent quarterback Matt Flynn, who appeared to be the clear-cut starter when the Seahawks signed him in the offseason.
Again, there is no need to over-hype this story, but the fact that Carroll said this means Wilson must have made a quick impression on the former USC coach, especially with his smart decision-making skills on the field.
Besides Flynn, who recently signed that 3-year, 26 million dollar contract, the Seahawks also have quarterback Tavaris Jackson. In a surprising move last offseason, Seattle made Jackson its starter after signing him to a two-year deal. Nothing against Jackson, but his upside is very low. He is a mobile quarterback who can make short throws and plays with his feet, but after six seasons in the NFL, he has not shown he can be a smart, reliable starter in the league.
Like other experts in the field, I do believe the starting job is still Flynn's to lose. It is obvious Seattle signed him to be its quarterback of the future, but it is still difficult to know if Flynn is the real deal after only having one great performance (overblown by the media) on his resume.
Wilson's ability to stay composed and make smart decisions will take him a long way. I give him a better spot to win the starting position than Jackson for those reasons, but it will be interesting to watch him compete against Flynn. The fact we are already discussing a quarterback competition with the Seahawks, tells us "Russellmania" has just begun in Seattle.
Part of Carroll's comments on Wilson:
"He's showed us enough," Carroll said. "He's in the competition. And that is going to tax us, as you know. It was already going to be taxing with two. But he's shown us enough that we need to see where he fits in with these guys."
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