Pete Carroll talked for 25 minutes with reporters after practice. He confirmed earlier reports that rookie Russell Wilson will get his first NFL start against the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday.
“It’s just exciting to watch this kid play,” Carroll said. “And everybody that’s grown up watching him back at N.C. State and Wisconsin, we’re seeing the same thing that you saw. He’s carried the style of play from the college level to our level, at least in these first few preseason games. And we’re going to see what that means in Game 3.”
Carroll also said that initially the coaching staff had planned on starting Matt Flynn in the first game against Tennessee and Wilson against the Denver in the second game, but that he wanted to see Flynn for a second time against the starting defense to make a better evaluation on the free agent addition.
“It was totally a gut feeling,” Carroll said about the decision. “I thought let’s keep it the same and learn more. I thought we were making progress and moving along in a way that I didn’t want to change that. I thought we might be able to benefit from not doing it.”
Traditionally, teams have played their starters at least three quarters in the third preseason game as a primer for the regular season. However, Carroll said it’s possible that Seattle uses the final preseason game to continue the quarterback evaluation.
And once again, Carroll would not provide a firm date on when he planned on naming a starter for the team’s regular season opener at Arizona, saying it’s possible that he does not make the decision until the week heading into the Arizona game.
“I know that there is a traditional thought, a conventional wisdom about Game 3 and all of that,” Carroll said. “And I understand that. And we need to always be in tune with conventional wisdom. However, neither John (general manager John Schneider) nor I feel like we need to operate under that kind of guidance system, so we’re not. And we haven’t been since we got here.”
Carroll did say that Flynn’s statistics against the Broncos would have been much better had Terrell Owens hung onto his touchdown catch, and Golden Tate managed to get his two feet in bounds on his catch in the back of the end zone.
Carroll said that in his eyes Flynn got credit for making those plays.
Carroll would not say how much Wilson or Flynn will play against the Chiefs – only that Wilson will get the start.
Asked about what he likes about Wilson to give him this shot with the starters, Carroll had this to say.
“He’s an extremely impressive kid with a tremendous background, and he has not blinked here for a second,” Carroll said. “And he’s worked so hard to give himself this opportunity that I don’t know if I’m cheering for him as much as I’m glad he’s on our team. I’m glad he’s one of us, and he loves being with us.
“He’s a great competitor, and you know how much I love those guys. So we’ll see how he does. One way or another he’s going to help us, whether he’s starting or not. You’ve already seen why. He’s a nightmare for defensive coaches. He’s a nightmare the way he moves around. And he can do it all together in this short time that we’ve given him then he’ll have a chance to start. We’ll see.”
Wilson said since he first came out for the rookie minicamp in May that he’s been working for this opportunity, and now he has to make the most of it.
“I’ve just got to keep working,” Wilson said. “There’s a lot more to do, and I’ve just got to keep improving. That’s my main goal every day I wake up.”
Carroll also said that incumbent Tarvaris Jackson, who’s rumored to be on the trading block, is still part of the conversation for the starting quarterback job.
“I’m hoping that his work in practice will keep him sharp enough that he is still involved when we take in all the information on these other guys,” Carroll said. “And we’ll check it out after Week 3 and see what happens.”
Carroll said that despite the fact his team has not settled on a starting quarterback, he’s still believes the process Seattle has taken is the right path.
“I’m real confident that we’re doing the right thing,” Carroll said. “I don’t have any hesitation in this. And I understand that maybe not everybody else feels like that, and I really don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me”
surgery procedure on hamstringCarroll said that receiver Doug Baldwin had a procedure done to clear up a hamstring issue, but should be ready to practice next week. However, Carroll said he’s uncertain if the team’s leading receiver from last year will play against Oakland.
Baldwin was expected to practice after missing the first two games beginning this week. Baldwin returned to practice last week, but was a late scratch for the Denver game. With Baldwin out, Deon Butler continues to get first team reps at slot with Baldwin out.
Rice a possibility for Kansas City?Carroll did not rule out Sidney Rice playing in his first preseason game against the Chiefs. Rice was full go today, and took a decent whack from Earl Thomas on a catch across the middle of the field.
“I don’t know that yet, but he had a great day today,” Carroll said. “This was Sidney’s first full-speed, all out, one-on-ones and everything today. It was the first time he had a full-go day where we really cut him loose and let him do everything.
“And he got banged around, which is great. He made some good catches today. He looked very fast out there. And it’s exciting to see.”
Injury updateThe Seahawks had 15 players watching practice today, including center Max Unger (calf), fullback Michael Robinson (toe), running back Marshawn Lynch (back), tight end Cameron Morrah (toe), John Moffitt (elbow), linebacker Allen Bradford (hip), cornerback Ron Parker (knee), defensive end Jason Jones (knee), cornerback Coye Francies (head), defensive lineman Pep Levingston (knee), linebacker Matt McCoy (knee) and defensive back Roy Lewis (unspecified). Cornerback Walter Thurmond (leg) and offensive lineman James Carpenter (knee) remain on the PUP list.
* With LB Barrett Ruud being traded to New Orleans, Carroll confirmed that rookie Bobby Wagner is the team’s starting middle linebacker right now. However, Carroll said the team does have some concerns about the depth at the position.
“We’re a little concerned about that,” Carroll said. “At the linebacker spot right now there’s a number of guys who are not practicing. We’re very young and very athletic, but it’s not settled yet, the backup spots.”
Currently, Heath Farwell is running at middle linebacker with the second unit. But K.J. Wright gives the team some flexibility because he can move inside and play the middle.
* Terrell Owens showed some frustration today after not getting a pass interference call on a deep route from Matt Flynn against cornerback Byron Maxwell. Owens spent a good five minutes pleaded with the official that Maxwell pushed off after the play was over.
* Undrafted rookie free agent Cordarro Law returned to the field after suffering a high-ankle sprain last week. Law actually played some middle linebacker with the reserves today.
* Others who returned to practice include Ben Obomanu (neck), linebacker Mike Morgan (head), Zach Miller (head) and linebacker Malcolm Smith (hamstring).