Russell Wilson and other potential starters

August, 21, 2012
8/21/12
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Snaps have become more precious in NFL training camps under rules limiting how frequently and intensely teams can practice.

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Ron Chenoy/US PresswireSeahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has taken quite a few snaps this preseason.
The number of plays a quarterback gets during exhibition games might matter a little more as a result, particularly if you're among those thinking preseason snaps help get a player ramp up for the regular season.

With that in mind, I've put together a chart showing how many snaps potential NFC West starting quarterbacks have taken to this point in the preseason.

Seattle's two candidates, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson, have taken far more snaps than their peers in the division. Flynn has played full first halves, giving him snaps with the first-team offense. Wilson could get that opportunity when the Seahawks face Kansas City on Friday night, although coach Pete Carroll hasn't made an announcement yet.

NFL teams have traditionally used the third preseason game to get their starters extended playing time for the regular season. Priorities can change for teams without starting quarterbacks in place.

Arizona has a fifth preseason game this year, another departure from the usual form. John Skelton will start for the Cardinals on Thursday night, but Kevin Kolb might also get first-team reps. There is not a firm timetable for naming a starter.

For Seattle, Wilson has done enough, in my view, to get a look earlier in games. But if Flynn is the presumed regular-season starter -- no sure thing -- then taking away first-team reps from him would come with a short-term cost. That cost could be overrated, however. Ten or 20 or 30 preseason snaps aren't going to make or break a quarterback.

Carroll could be more concerned with the bigger picture -- what exactly does the team have in the seemingly dynamic Wilson? -- than with a few snaps here or there in the preseason. And if Wilson truly is a legitimate candidate to start in Week 1, the first-team reps would be particularly valuable to him.

The chart includes a row for Seattle's Tarvaris Jackson. Carroll has said Jackson remains a candidate to start, but that seems highly unlikely.

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