Who's afraid of a quarterback competition?

May, 30, 2012
5/30/12
7:30
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Pete Carroll and Ken Whisenhunt aren't into fake quarterback competitions this offseason.

They want legitimate ones.

And with nearly two months left til training camp, there's plenty of time to stage one without sacrificing preparation for the regular season.

Both coaches are making their incumbent starters share repetitions during ongoing organized team activities. Both know a quarterback competition isn't very legitimate if one candidate is getting most or all of the reps.

Kevin Kolb is sharing first-team reps with John Skelton even though the Cardinals are paying only one of them -- Kolb -- franchise-quarterback money. Darren Urban of azcardinals.com has the details from Arizona, where Whisenhunt has a history of making quarterbacks work for what they earn.

The situation is a bit different with Carroll in Seattle. Tarvaris Jackson is the incumbent, but Mat Flynn is the presumed favorite and rookie Russell Wilson also has taken turns with the first-team offense. Flynn is earning the most money of the three, but he's not getting has-to-start-no-matter-what money.

"Usually one quarterback of the three goes with one group at a time, so you get used to them at the beginning of practice -- taking snaps with that guy, not switching every other play like we've done in the past," Seahawks center Max Unger said following practice Wednesday. "You get a feel for them as practice goes on, which is nice. So far, so good."

There are no leaders for the starting jobs in Arizona and Seattle. It's too early for that.

Having Kolb and Flynn emerge as the clear choices would be convenient for both teams. I don't think either coach will force the situation, however.

The manner in which Whisenhunt entered the NFL and succeeded -- as a 12th-round draft choice -- surely plays a role in his approach. He's always been averse to anointing anyone. Kolb isn't going to get a free pass to the lineup.

Carroll made an exception last offseason when he named Jackson the starter without staging a competition, but the lockout created unusual circumstances.

It's clear Carroll wants to emphasize competition at quarterback this offseason. He did it to a lesser degree two years ago when Seattle put incumbent Matt Hasselbeck on notice by acquiring Charlie Whitehurst.

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