TEMPE, Ariz. – When the Seahawks signed free agent quarterback Matt Flynn this summer, some assumed they were grooming their franchise quarterback – a guy who would eventually take the reins from Tarvaris Jackson (now with Buffalo).
Then Seattle drafted Wisconsin standout Russell Wilson in the third round and the game changed. After an impressive preseason, Wilson was named the starter for Seattle’s opener Sunday in Arizona. That means one high-priced free agent quarterback (Flynn) will be staring across the field at another, Kevin Kolb, who lost the Cardinals QB battle to former fifth-round draft pick John Skelton.
“That’s the price of free agency,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “You take people off the free-agent market, you’re going to have to pay for it.”
The difference between the Seahawks’ and Cardinals’ situations is that Seattle gave itself options by signing Flynn and drafting Wilson in the same offseason to help shore up a position of weakness.
When the Cards signed Kolb, they thought were done addressing their quarterback needs, even though there were several quarterbacks available to them in the 2011 draft, including Jake Locker and Andy Dalton.
The Cardinals drafted Patrick Peterson with their first pick, and he’s clearly been an impact player. They also didn’t have high grades on the quarterbacks that were available in that draft, but given Kolb’s early returns, it’s fair to wonder how well this franchise evaluates quarterbacks, and it’s fair to wonder if they should have taken another quarterback in 2011 as a fallback in case Kolb didn’t pan out.
“We’re looking for quarterbacks every year, Carroll said. “We really believe that you have to continue to upgrade that position.”
There’s no telling whether Wilson or Flynn will eventually pan out, but it’s good to have options.
FIRST INJURY REPORT
The Cards released their first official injury report on Wednesday.
Wide receiver Early Doucet missed practice for a non-injury related reason. Linebacker O’Brien Schofield (knee), running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (groin), right guard Adam Snyder (elbow), cornerback Greg Toler (hip), tight end Rob Housler (hamstring) and safety Rashad Johnson (abdomen) were all limited on Wednesday.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he does not think any of the injuries will threaten players’ status for Sunday’s season opener, but Thursday’s practice will provide a clearer picture.
Cardinals running back Beanie Wells has missed just three games in his last 30. All three were against the Seahawks, this week’s opponent.
“We’ve watched a lot of film of Beanie, but even in our years back in college we’ve never played against him,” Carroll said of himself and a couple members of his staff. “We’ve always seen him do great things, and we have a lot of respect for him.”
Wells said last year’s Week 3, 13-10 loss in Seattle was the most frustrating, given the Cards’ troubles in short-yardage situations.
Gerell Robinson didn’t have much time to sulk over the Broncos’ decision to cut him last week. The following day, a Cardinals’ representative called and asked if he’d like to be on their practice squad. The former Arizona State receiver didn’t think twice, but he hopes he won’t be spending the whole season in that position.
“It’s good to be home,” said Robinson, whose 1,397 receiving yards are the second-highest single-season total in Arizona State history. “It’s not in my plans to stay here for a full year. If it happens, it happens. At the same time, I’ll do everything I can to get activated.”
The Cardinals named their team captains on Wednesday. On offense, they are receiver Larry Fitzgerald and center Lyle Sendlein. On defense, they are inside linebacker Paris Lenon and strong safety Adrian Wilson. On special teams, they are Reggie Walker and Anthony Sherman.