Prediction: Seahawks will name Matt Flynn starting QB before third preseason game
I dedicated my Sunday column to letting Seahawks coach Pete Carroll break down what the heck he is thinking with this three-man quarterback competition. Danny O'Neil also wrote a good piece providing perspective on what the Seahawks are doing in relation to other QB battles across the NFL.
Combined, we gave you 1,522 words (yeah, I counted; yeah, I've got that much time on my hands) on the Seahawks' most pressing issue. So, uh, what's left to say? Well, not much until training camp progresses.
But how about I put my neck on the line anyway with a prediction?
If I were betting, I would target Aug. 21 as the date that Carroll will declare his starting quarterback. That's the week of the third preseason game against Kansas City, and as you know, the third preseason game is usually the one in which the first unit gets the most work. The Seahawks will have had 15 practices and two preseason games to evaluate Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson. And by then, they'll only have five more practices until it's time to start preparing for their season opener at Arizona.
So, the period before the third preseason game is the perfect time to name a starter. And based on what I've seen and heard at training camp so far, Flynn will be the guy unless he regresses in practice or performs terribly in the first two preseason games.
Flynn isn't flashy and doesn't have a great arm, but in the practices I've watched, I think he's been the most consistent. Wilson excites me the most, but the Seahawks' third-round pick is just a rook and could benefit from a year of seasoning. Jackson still has some brilliant flashes, but his accuracy and willingness to pull the trigger remain concerns.
That's my feeling after eight practices. I know, I know: I'm going with the favorite, who also happens to be the guy the Seahawks signed for eight figures during free agency. Bold prediction, huh? Well, contrary to what Carroll would have you believe, the Seahawks didn't just sign Flynn to get a look at where he fits in. They signed him to a smart, cost-effective contract, but they signed him with the expectation that he'd be an upgrade at the position. And he is. But I love the idea of challenging Flynn, who is vying to be a full-time starter for the first time.
I also think Flynn is just a temporary solution, and Wilson will be the man by 2014, if not next season. But I'll save those thoughts for later. I will say, though, that my thinking has more to do with Wilson's talent than any perceived shortcomings by Flynn. I think Flynn is going to be a solid option to start in the NFL for a long time, and I wouldn't count him out as being the permanent solution here by any means. But when Wilson gets to Flynn's level of comfort and savvy, the Seahawks will have a real QB competition, not a somewhat manufactured one. It will be fun to watch.
There are still seven practices and two exhibition games to go until my Aug. 21 prediction date. That's also the best-case scenario, in my opinion. Worst case is that no clear starter emerges by then, and this competition lasts until after the fourth preseason game.
Right now, though I like what I'm seeing from Flynn the most, there doesn't appear to be a consensus leader. Ask three different people, and you'll get three different answers. That's how close it is, and that's mainly because each player has gotten so few reps running with the first team.
Eventually, Carroll will have to take a leap of faith with one of these guys, and Flynn is simply the safest, most stable option. Considering the Seahawks are building their team around the defense and running game, a safe and stable quarterback is the perfect fit, at least until the more dynamic Wilson is ready.