Six thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' quarterback situation after discussing the matter Thursday with Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby on 710ESPN Seattle:
De-emphasizing the position: Coach Pete Carroll doesn't seem all that concerned about whether Matt Flynn or Russell Wilson opens the regular season as the starter. He wants to play tough defense, run the ball and pass as needed. The quarterback position is important to him, but his world doesn't revolve around it. The team has to sense this. With both quarterbacks playing well, there's more excitement than drama.
Not overly invested in Flynn: The Seahawks felt good about signing Flynn to a three-year, $19.5 million contract in free agency, but from the beginning, Carroll wouldn't commit to him as the starter. "We now have an opportunity to make this an open competition," Carroll said in March. Few believed him, but the draft was yet to come and Seattle was open to drafting a quarterback. By refusing to anoint Flynn, Carroll made considering other options painless. There would be no backtracking.
Wilson reset expectations: Seattle had to figure Flynn would beat out a rookie. He still might, but Wilson has forced his way into the conversation more prominently. In retrospect, perhaps Seattle should have set the bar for Wilson even higher, challenging him even more. With two preseason games remaining, the Seahawks have not yet found the short-term limits for Wilson. Perhaps they will against Kansas City on Friday night. Wilson hasn't stumbled to this point, however.
Starting Flynn would be ideal: This thinking could be outdated, but Flynn seemingly has more to lose than Wilson if he enters the regular season in a backup role. Giving Flynn the first look would keep both quarterbacks on schedule. The Seahawks might argue that there is no schedule. They can choose to look at their total budget allotment for quarterbacks, noting that the combined payout to Flynn and Wilson is reasonable. But the money a player receives sets expectations for him.
No fault of Flynn's: I don't think Flynn has done anything wrong or failed to meet expectations. Sure, he could have been more impressive to this point, but if Wilson wins the job, Wilson will be the reason. Flynn will not have lost it unless he struggles from this point forward.
If Flynn wins the job: Wilson has served notice he's going to get a shot at starting in the future, at least. That puts additional pressure on Flynn if Flynn does win the job. Playing just well enough might not be good enough if Wilson continues to develop in the background. The question is whether Wilson can skip ahead to that point now. Does he have to win the job decisively to get that shot in Week 1? I would think so.
We'll have another quarterback situation to monitor shortly, with Arizona faces Tennessee in the ESPN game Thursday night.