The Seattle Seahawks three-way quarterback battle has finally reached prove-it time.
The first exhibition game against Tennessee tonight will go a long way toward determining who will be the starting quarterback to open the regular season.
Coach Pete Carroll gave expensive free-agent Matt Flynn first crack at the job.
Flynn will start and play the entire first half against the Titans.
If the LSU product plays well, he could very well seize control of the team and never look back.
However, if Flynn struggles, he opens the door to rookie Russell Wilson or incumbent Tarvaris Jackson.
Wilson is scheduled to start and play most of the second half, while Jackson probably will not play today because the team already knows what he can do, Carroll said.
The stakes are high, but Flynn said hes not putting any added pressure on himself.
Im looking at it as a great opportunity, Flynn said. Ive always been the guy that I dont let things get too big for me or too little for me. Im looking at it as a chance to go out there and prove that I can run this offense, and prove that I can take control and move the ball.
Flynn played well in practice after Carroll anointed him the starter this week, delivering accurate throws in a timely manner, and consistently moving the ball against Seattles first-unit defense, which is considered one of the best in the league.
The transition for Matt has gone beautifully, Carroll said. Hes assumed the role, which we asked him to just take over (telling him) Youre the guy. And weve had a very good week of practice. Hes looked very strong and in command.
Still, even after two impressive performances in spot starts playing behind 2011 league MVP Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, tonight will be Flynns first chance to start and show hes worth the three-year, $19.5 million contract (plus incentives) he signed to join the Seahawks.
But thats just one of the many story lines to follow tonight.
Fans also will get their first glimpses of rookies such as defensive end Bruce Irvin, linebacker Bobby Wagner, quarterback Wilson and running back Robert Turbin.
Were really excited about all the work hes done, Carroll said about Irvin. And we cant wait to see him start mixing with the crowd and the noise.
Another area of focus will Seattles defense, which ranked No. 9 in the league last year. Can it pick up where it left off by bottling up the opposing running game and creating turnovers?
Our whole objective is to go out there and play fast, and see a lot of guys play within our philosophy, Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. And just see how fast guys progress. Im sure well have some breakdowns and things that we can work on, but the No. 1 thing is to play with great effort.
And finally, can offensive line coach Tom Cable and his front five keep Seattles run game going? Marshawn Lynch rushed for the most yards of any back in the league in the final eight weeks of the 2011 season.
Everybody has to show what (theyve) got, Seattle offensive tackle Breno Giacomini said. These young guys will probably play quite a bit more than normal. But they need to just go in and have fun, because preparation time is over.
Now its game time. So lets get the W and have fun doing it.
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