Monday, August 27, 2012

Russell Wilson: A Safe Choice for Seattle

So...who's NOT happy to have the competition over at last? Put your hand down, you in the back. You weren't enjoying this either.

The mantle has just been handed to Russell Wilson. Pete Carroll has named QB Russell Wilson, a third-round rookie out of Wisconsin, as the Seahawks' starting quarterback for 2012. He will open Seattle's 2012 campaign against Arizona, a team in such disarray that they might as well be Week 5 of the preseason.

This is's being said in some corners that Pete Carroll had "no choice" but to start Wilson after his impressive preseason start against Kansas City. That's a cynical view of the situation and feels like an extension of the popular doubt that's followed the whole competition. Allow me to phrase this another way: Russell Wilson forced the issue like a true starter should. He made a statement, made himself stand out. As Mike Sando put it (in one of the strongest opinions I've ever seen from him), picking Wilson was the only logical way to end a true competition, because he went with the guy who won the competition. Did you want it any other way?

Get it through your head, America: When Pete Carroll says "earn everything", it's not rah-rah.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Why Seattle's QB Competition is Really, Truly, Honestly, Completely Open

This is a long one. Bring a lunch.

What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall of Pete Carroll's cranial cavity. I know, ewww, but it'd be nice to get some clarity amidst our bias and preconception. We've all got the quarterback candidates pigeonholed pretty well for ourselves by now. Tarvaris Jackson represents strength, toughness, experience, and incumbency. Matt Flynn represents the poise, mental acuity, technical skill, and the "Rodgers Factor" of developing over time. And Russell Wilson represents the Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild. It's not surprising to see the fan base divided so sharply into camps depending on what they value.

Problem is, Pete may actually mean it when he says he doesn't have any more clarity than we do. I don't think people want to believe that right now. Some are worried about the declining returns of dividing camp snaps, some honestly can't imagine Flynn NOT currently being the best of the bunch so why wait, and some people aren't reading for any words except "Tarvaris Jackson cut". There's an edge of worry that's starting to seep into our opinions the longer this goes on, especially now that T-Jack is still getting significant time with the first team in camp. This stymies some people, since it's popularly assumed that Jackson is the worst QB on the roster.

This is forcing people into a tough quandary: Either Pete's full of it, or he knows something we don't. Most people assume the former, that Pete is just way too enamored with his "competition" mantra, needs to quit grandstanding and just hand the job to Flynn already. Because he won the job the moment he was signed, right? Problem is, this requires rationalization and speculation that's almost on the level of conspiracy theory. Pete's just pushing the QB's, he's trying to bump up Jackson's miniscule trade value, all his comments to the media are to be ignored, etc. And I don't want to go that route. I've learned to trust Pete. Isn't it possible that he's simply got different yardsticks for the competition than we do? And isn't it possible that Flynn might not be all that he was advertised?

It's funny that Flynn is so often compared to Matt Hasselbeck, because I think a hint to better understanding this competition might lie in revisiting Hasselbeck's final seasons in Seattle (Hawkblogger's breakdowns of Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson also demand a read).