Rookie Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ third-round draft pick out of Wisconsin, will start at quarterback over veteran Matt Flynn when Seattle takes on the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium Friday night. Flynn started Seattle’s first two preseason contests with Wilson playing both second halves. Head coach Pete Carroll made the announcement at the end of practice Tuesday.
“We are going to give Russell a chance to start,” Carroll said. “Matt has done very well and (we’re) very pleased, but theres a difference playing with the ones and the twos, really from the pressure that has been generated. I dont think we will see anything different than what we have been seeing.”
Naturally, Wilson was thrilled.
I was definitely excited about the opportunity,” Wilson said after practice. “Coach Carroll let me know (Monday) that I was going to be starting this week. Its a good situation for me. I dont prepare any different, though. I always prepare the right way, and Im mentally into it all the time, thats the way I have to be.”
Carroll said Wilson’s start does not mean that has committed to start the rookie in the regular season, despite the NFL custom that the third game in the four-game NFL preseason is the full dress rehearsal for starters.
We will see,” he said. “We’re going to wait ’til after the game. Im confident in what we are doing. I know that theres a thought about game three and we need to always be in tune. However, neither (GM John Schneider) nor I feel we have to operate under that kind of guidance system, and we have not been.
“We are really excited about what we have so far. Lets take another week and see what that means. I told you we are going to need preseason to figure this thing out. Its a great competitive opportunity for these guys as quarterbacks.
While grateful, Wilson wasn’t overwhelmed.
Its definitely exciting to get in there with the ones and have some guys in there that I havent played with in terms of the games yet,” he said. “But I definitely have been practicing with them all throughout summer, OTAs, and mandatory mini-camp. It shouldnt be too much different. Obviously Kansas City has got a great, great defense and theyre going to be flying around. I just have to be very precise with my decision-making
Carroll did not say how much Wilson will play, only that he will get sufficient time with the No. 1 offense.
Wilson impressed during his two halves, first against Tennessee at CenturyLink Field and last Saturday at Denver. He’s completed 22 of 33 passes for 279 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. His passer rating is 110.7. Also Seattle’s leading rusher so far, Wilson has accounted for 92 yards and a touchdown.
It may surprise others. Not Wilson.
I definitely imagined myself always being successful,” he said. “I knew one thing, I was going to do everything I could to be successful. Thats what I always do no matter what situation Im in, either right now or down the road. Im always going to do the best that I can to put myself in the best situation possible and put the Seahawks in the best situation possible.”
Nothing Tuesday suggested that incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson is in the mix — other than Carroll’s words.
Were still going to bank on the same approach and we’re hoping this is still
going to work out for us,” Carroll said. “He can still hang in there with the background that he has had. He is still ahead of the other guys in terms of knowing the system. Im hoping his work in practice is still sharp enough that he still evolving. We’ll check him out after week three and see what happens, hes been great about it.”
Flynn, presumed to be Seattle’s starter at the beginning of preseason despite Carroll’s declaration that there would be an open competition for the position, has completed 17 of 26 for 102 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He has a passer rating of 56.9.
Four teams have said they will start rookie quarterbacks in Week 1 (Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, 2012 could be the first year with more than two rookie quarterbacks starting in Week 1 since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.