Former Wisconsin Badgers quarterback and rookie signal caller Russell Wilson will start the third preseason game for the Seattle Seahawks Friday night. Could this mean head coach Pete Carroll is seriously considering starting Wilson Week 1 of the regular season?
Everyone, including myself, has pegged former Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn to be the starter ever since he arrived in Seattle this past offseason. As a Packers fan, I have been fortunate enough to watch Flynn work for the past few years and I can tell you firsthand the Seahawks are lucky to get a guy of his talent. I believe Flynn will be able to do great things in Seattle, including being serious contenders in the NFC West this season.
However, as good as Flynn has been Wilson has been right up there with him keeping the competition fierce. I was also fortunate enough to watch Wilson play this past season with Wisconsin and I can say with confidence he will certainly be a starter in the NFL at some point in his career. Whether that time has already arrived remains to be seen, but Carroll giving him the starting nod against the Kansas City Chiefs definitely fuels the speculation.
Even though Flynn has started both preseason games, one could make the case Wilson has played better. Granted, Flynn is going up against No. 1 defenses without his top wide receivers, while Wilson is going up against opposing players trying to do whatever they can to make their respected teams.
With that being said, Wilson is 22 of 33 with 279 passing yards, three touchdowns, one interception, and a quarterback rating of 110.0. Meanwhile, Flynn is 17 of 26 with 102 passing yards, zero touchdowns, one interception, and a quarterback rating of 55.2.
Considering the statistics and the fact that Wilson will be starting the third preseason game, a game that is typically used by coaches to give their starters more playing time as a form of a tune-up before the regular season starts, it appears the competition is nowhere close to being concluded. I would still expect Flynn to be the opening day starter due to his experience playing in meaningful NFL games, but if Wilson is able to have the same success against opposing first team defenses as he has versus the backups then it would be difficult not to make him the No. 1 quarterback.
Either way, the Seahawks are in a great situation considering how difficult it is to find one quality signal caller in this league. However, if Carroll picks the wrong quarterback to start and then has to change course mid-season, it could be disastrous to the psyche of that said quarterback. If Seattle does follow the NFL trend and make Wilson No. 1 on the depth chart, he would become the fifth rookie quarterback named to be the opening day starter.
If Wilson blows the Chiefs away with his solid play then the Seahawks have no choice but to play him. However, if he does not play as well as he has the past two weeks then I believe Seattle must stick with their gut instinct and go with Flynn, who understands the pressure of the NFL firsthand.