RENTON, Wash. (AP) — After two dynamic second-half performances, rookie Russell Wilson is going to get his opportunity with the Seattle Seahawks’ starting offense.
And by starting Wilson, finding a winner in one of the last remaining quarterback competitions in the NFL will drag on another week closer to the start of the regular season.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll, who announced on Tuesday that Wilson will start against Kansas City on Friday, doesn’t care what the conventional beliefs are. Carroll said the decision on his starting quarterback could be made as late as the week of the regular-season opener.
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“We told you we were going to need preseason to figure this thing out and I think we’re moving along positively and I have no concern about the timing of this other than we need information and we need to figure it out,” Carroll said. “This is about competition. This is what we’ve always been about and if somebody doesn’t see it that way then they don’t understand us and I can’t do anything about that. This is a great competitive opportunity to watch and for me to oversee as a coach and it’s exciting and it’s been fun to see it through and we’re going to finish it up the next couple of weeks.”
If nothing else, the two performances from Wilson at least piqued interest in what he could do with the starting offense for the Seahawks (No. 22, APPro32). He’s completed 22 of 33 passes for 279 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Wilson has also run for 92 yards and a touchdown. His passer rating of 110.5 ranks third among all qualifying QBs in the preseason behind Philadelphia rookie Nick Foles and Atlanta starter Matt Ryan.
Of course, that’s just the preseason. And Friday against a good Kansas City defense will give the first indication of whether Wilson might be able to carry his efforts into the regular season and increase the debate over whether he or Matt Flynn should be the starter for the opener Sept. 9 at Arizona. Carroll did not indicate how much time each quarterback will get against the Chiefs.
“We’re going to wait after the game and see what happened and see what it feels like and talk it all out and see everything you can possibly see in analyzing it and move ahead with confidence,” Carroll said. “I’m real confident we’re doing the right thing. I don’t have any hesitation in this.”
Carroll finally shed a little light on what his plans were for the quarterback competition. He said the original plan was to have Flynn start the preseason opener against Tennessee and then give Wilson the start last Saturday in Denver. But after Flynn’s start against the Titans, the plan changed and Carroll decided he wanted to see the free agent start one more time.
Flynn was just 6 of 13 for 31 yards against the Broncos, but had a potential long touchdown pass dropped by Terrell Owens and another possible TD throw to Golden Tate that carried Tate out of bounds.
Last week, when Flynn was announced as the starter against Denver and Wilson the backup, Carroll said he felt that’s where the two stood. Asked if that had changed, Carroll didn’t answer directly, but said it’s apparent making the jump from college to the NFL has not been overwhelming for Wilson.
“Even though the newness of it for Russell — and it’s really the newness of understanding the league and NFL and style and that stuff that takes time, nothing but time can solve that — isn’t factoring in his play,” Carroll said. “He came back and played very much in command and did some wonderful things in Week 2.”