RENTON – Pete Carroll inched closer to naming a starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks’ regular season opener, saying Tuesday that Matt Flynn earned his second consecutive start of the exhibition season Saturday night at Denver.
Carroll confirmed that he will stay with the same quarterback rotation, with Flynn working the first half with the starters and rookie Russell Wilson sticking with the reserves in the second half.
The odd man out in this three-way quarterback battle appears to be the incumbent, Tarvaris Jackson. For the second consecutive week, Carroll said Jackson is not scheduled to play.
In what some people might consider a cruel twist, Jackson worked with the starters Tuesday, just as he did the previous Tuesday. Carroll said his team will not begin game preparation for the Broncos until today’s practice.
So is Jackson’s time in Seattle coming to a close?
Carroll says no – for now.
“He’s still in the competition,” Carroll said. “He absolutely is. This is the way I’ve just chosen to do it, that I’m banking on the 18 games I’ve seen him. He knows the offense. He knows what’s going on. And I watched him play last year, practicing one day a week for five weeks, and he could function. So I’m using all that information to allow us the opportunity to see these other guys.”
Carroll added that this was his plan all along, and that the coaching staff has not veered from the script.
When asked how Jackson is dealing with the unconventional way Carroll is handling the quarterback competition, Carroll said: “He’s holding (up) well. I think this is very difficult for him, and I admire the heck out of this guy. This isn’t the way he would like to battle for his job. These guys are battling to show what they know and where they are, and then we have to assess if they can catch up with him.”
Asked whether Jackson has expressed a desire to seek an opportunity elsewhere, Carroll said the team hasn’t talked about that.
CBSSports.com reported that many league sources expect Jackson to be made available on the trade market next week. According to the report, Seattle’s doesn’t want to risk Jackson getting injured in exhibition play.
Potential landing spots for Jackson include Arizona, where Kevin Kolb and John Skelton failed to seize control of the starting job; Miami, where David Garrard went down with a knee injury and is expected to miss most of the exhibition season; and Philadelphia, which could use an experienced backup behind the oft-injured Michael Vick after backup Mike Kafka fractured his non-throwing hand.
Carroll said the team considered starting Wilson against Denver after his impressive performance last week against Tennessee but ultimately decided against it because the coaches said Flynn is ahead in the competition.
“Matt’s done a really good job of commanding all of the stuff,” Carroll said. “He understands the game in great depth. And he gives us a veteran presence, even though he hasn’t had a lot of starting time, because he recognizes defenses.
“He’s well into that whole understanding on what’s going on on the other side of the ball. And it’s a challenge for Russell to catch up to all of that stuff. He’s battling to get that done. There’s a difference right now.”
RICE TAKES OFF RED PRACTICE JERSEY
For the first time in two weeks, receiver Sidney Rice did not wear a red jersey, and he fully participated in contact drills.
Rice wore a regular jersey on the second day of training camp but was back in a red jersey – a sign that a player is not to participate in contact drills – the next day.
He had been limited in training camp as he recovered from surgery on both shoulders this offseason.
Although Rice was able to fully participate Tuesday, Carroll said Rice will not play Saturday against Denver.
“No, this is his first week back getting banged around,” Carroll said. “So we’ll give him some time and see how it goes.”
MOFFITT HAS SURGERY
Carroll said guard John Moffitt had surgery to remove loose bodies in his left elbow Tuesday, and the team still anticipates a two- to three-week recovery time for the second-year pro out of the University of Wisconsin to get back on the field – which would be in time for the season opener at Arizona on Sept. 9.
Along with starting at right guard, Moffitt also serves as the team’s backup center. Lemuel Jeanpierre suffered a groin pull during practice, so the Seahawks had to move undrafted rookie free agent Rishaw Johnson to center with the second unit.
Tight end Zach Miller did not practice after suffering his fourth concussion in a little more than two years against Tennessee. Carroll said Miller has been diagnosed with a slight concussion, and the team still has to go through its regular concussion procedures to clear him. Rookie defensive end Cordarro Law suffered a second-degree high-ankle sprain and will be out for an extended period of time. Players who returned to practice included linebacker Barrett Ruud (knee), receiver Doug Baldwin (hamstring), receiver Ricardo Lockette (hamstring), linebacker Allen Bradford (hip) and defensive tackle Alan Branch (ankle). Fullback Michael Robinson, safety Jeron Johnson and defensive end Pierre Allen missed practice with unspecified injuries, but they are expected back by the end of the week. Others who did not practice include linebacker Matt McCoy (knee), cornerback Ron Parker (unknown) and linebacker Malcolm Smith (unknown). Cornerback Walter Thurmond (leg) and offensive lineman James Carpenter (knee) remain on the physically unable to perform (PUP) email@example.com