Carroll: Flynn’s performance was better than it looked

Aug 20, 2012, 2:05 PM | Updated: 2:18 pm
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By Brady Henderson

Coach Pete Carroll plans to announce on Tuesday whether Matt Flynn or Russell Wilson will start the Seahawks’ third preseason game, though he wouldn’t say whether that decision will reflect the winner of Seattle’s quarterback competition.

“We’ll talk about that tomorrow,” Carroll told “Brock and Salk” on Monday.

And we’ll be all ears. After reviewing the Seahawks’ second preseason game, a 30-10 win over Denver on Saturday, Carroll still isn’t giving a strong indication about which way he’s leaning.

“The evaluation process continues, which we always say,” Carroll said. “Tomorrow we’ll let you know kind of what’s going to happen for this week, but we’re going to use all day today and tonight and tomorrow to make sure we’re on it.”

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Matt Flynn completed just 6 of 13 attempts but delivered two accurate throws that could have resulted in scores. (AP)

The stat line suggests Flynn had a lousy night on Saturday. But as Carroll sees it, a pair of perfectly-placed yet incomplete passes altered the complexion of what would have been a strong performance.

The first was a deep throw to Terrell Owens, who dropped what would have been a 46-yard touchdown as he crossed the goal line. Later in the second quarter, after Seattle had driven to Denver’s 19-yard line, Golden Tate made an acrobatic catch on a pass from Flynn in the corner of the end zone, but he couldn’t get his feet down before he was shoved out of bounds.

Flynn played the first half and finished 6 of 13 for 31 yards. Carroll was pleased with the effort considering the two would-be touchdown passes and the pressure Flynn was under from Denver’s defense.

“He had two touchdown-opportunity throws that were there, and I think he was 6 for 13, so that makes him 8 for 13 with two touchdowns in the first half. That would have been a fantastic start,” Carroll said. “So we have to be very clear-minded and not emotional and work our way through the film, and we did, and I think he did a nice job under the circumstances. There were a couple opportunities in there that he would like to have back – that’s how that goes. I think he played a solid game and we would have loved to cash in on those two touchdowns.”

Wilson fared much better, completing 10 of 17 attempts for 155 yards and two touchdowns while playing all but one series in the second half. The first touchdown pass came on a screen to running back Tyrell Sutton, who juked his way into the end zone from 34 yards out. Wilson later found tight end Cooper Helfet wide open in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard score.

Like he did in the first preseason game, Wilson deftly avoided pressure, gaining 33 yards on five carries.

While all those stats come with the caveat that Wilson was playing against Denver’s backups, Carroll noted that he did it all despite some shaky pass protection from Seattle’s second-team offensive line.

“He was very, very effective finding space and operating when he’s under duress and making good choices and decisions with his legs and also throwing the ball away and all of that,” Carroll said. “His numbers are really, really strong. You look at those third-down numbers, those are telling. He’s had very good success on third down in both games. And you can’t deny the fact that there’s five touchdown drives in there.”

Tarvaris Jackson, last year’s starter, watched from the sidelines for the second straight game. Carroll insists Jackson is still in the mix despite reports that the Seahawks are looking to trade him.

“He’s a fantastic part of this process, and unfortunately he has not had the play time in preseason,” Carroll said. “But we still believe that he’s shown us – we know he’s a fine football player. He’s healthy and he’s physically right and all that. So we’re trying to bank on all of that as we continue to investigate the new guys.”

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