Pete Carroll on naming Russell Wilson the starter
By Brady Henderson
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll joined “Brock and Salk” on Monday to recap a busy Sunday that included the release of receiver Terrell Owens and 11 others and a trade that sends quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to Buffalo.
Oh yeah, the Seahawks named their starting quarterback as well.
Here are a few notes on what Carroll had to say about that decision:
Wise beyond his years. Wilson wowed the Seahawks during the team’s rookie minicamp, so much so that Carroll immediately made Seattle’s quarterback competition a three-way affair. But it was easy to assume that he had little chance against veterans Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn. They were experienced and Wilson was the rookie trying to learn a new playbook while adjusting to life in the NFL. That wasn’t a problem.
“We’ve never changed anything because he’s a [rookie] or whatever,” Carroll said.
Russell Wilson hasn’t shown the struggles that are typical of rookie quarterbacks. (AP)
What it says about Flynn. Naming Wilson the starter inevitably creates the perception that Flynn has been a disappointment based on Flynn’s contract and Wilson’s status as a rookie third-round pick. That’s not exactly true.
Flynn was good but never great in two preseason games, then missed the third with an elbow injury. Wilson was very good while playing against backups in the first two games, then validated those performances with his best showing against the Chiefs’ starters.
“Matt’s done a fine job and he’s done excellent in all of his work and he’s given us what we’ve hoped,” Carroll said. “Russell just exceeded the numbers and the impression, and so we’re going this way.”
Carroll true to his word. Flynn signed a three-year deal that will guarantee him $10 million. Wilson’s rookie deal will pay him considerably less. That might matter to some teams, but Carroll and the Seahawks have shown that they don’t favor players based on their draft or contract status.
Cutting T.J. Houshmandzadeh and benching Golden Tate are older examples. Naming Wilson the starter over Flynn is the latest.
“I don’t think any fan out there would want me to make a decision based on how much a guy’s getting paid,” Carroll said. “You want the best guy at that time to play for us, and that’s exactly how I see it. We’re going to keep standing up for that.”
Flynn’s health. Carroll said an MRI revealed nothing seriously wrong with Flynn’s elbow, only some inflammation. He’s expected to be fine, Carroll said. As for how Flynn took the news that Wilson would be starting, Carroll said he was understandably disappointed.
Looking ahead. Carroll appears more than sure of his decision to name Wilson the starter, but that doesn’t mean it’s his job for good.
“There’s a lot of games to be played here, and we’ll see how it goes,” Carroll said. “Matt is extraordinarily capable and he’s chomping at the bit to get in there. He’s come here as the starter and he’s going to keep battling to do that.”