Making the case for Wilson to start

Was Wilson ever really considered for the role of Qb1? Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Everybody knows what the Seahawks offensive strategy is going to be this season.  Pete Carroll has carefully built this team around the run game featuring Marshawn Lynch and his hard-hitting, take no prisoners running style.  As a back up to Lynch, Carroll even drafted a Lynch clone in Robert Turbin.  That’s how important the running game is in the Seahawks plan.  Offensive line coach Tom Cable was hired to put together a run-first offensive line and recent OL draft picks like Carpenter and Okung have reflected that philosophy.  So what kind of QB does a run-first scheme require?  One that doesn’t turn over the ball, make critical mistakes, or get sacked for large losses of yardage.  That QB is Matt Flynn.

Now if I know this, every Defensive Coordinator in the league also knows the Seahawks are a team that’s built to run the ball.  In the NFC West, teams are actively working on strategies to STOP Carroll’s run-first offense.  And unfortunately for the Seahawks the 49ers have the defense to effectively put the clamps on Lynch.  What Carroll and Cable do when the 49ers and other good defensive teams stack the box against the Lynch/Turbin attack is the basis for my concern about Matt Flynn being given the keys to the Seahawks offense.

In Flynn’s first two starts of the pre-season he’s been called “pedestrian” by sportswriters.  “Flynn hasn’t played himself out of the job” is the mantra this week when he went 6 for 13 and 31 yards.  That’s hardly a ringing endorsement.  I’m thinking about mid-season, after teams have had time to review film of Seattle.  They’ll see Flynn’s weaknesses, and analyze the successes other teams have had stopping Seattle’s running attack.  And if they do stop Lynch does anyone think Matt Flynn is going to take this team on his shoulders and beat opponents with his passing?  In other words, is Flynn a big enough passing threat for defenses to pay any attention to him instead of our vaunted running game?  He hasn’t shown us anything like that thus far in his 2 starts.

Russell Wilson has shown himself to be a passing and running threat, albeit against second team defenses.  He has the kind of skill set that will keep the team from bogging down if the defense is effective in sniffing out and running down “beast mode”.  Wilson is a play-maker.  He manufactures plays when blocking breaks down as he did on his second play on Saturday when a blitz collapsed the pocket.  He showed his elusiveness in slipping out of two seemingly sure tackles, turning a loss into a modest gain and keeping the team in a short yardage situation.  The next play was a Robert Turbin first down.  This is the kind of play you need from a quarterback to keep defenses honest.  A QB has to deliver a completely different and legitimate threat when a defense keys on the run.  Wilson has done this 2 weeks in a row.  Flynn hasn’t.

It’s been a healthy 3-way competition at the QB position.  Now it’s a 2-way contest with T-Jack on the trading block.  The only thing left to find out is; can Wilson repeat his throwing, scrambling, running success against a number one defense?  With 2 games left Carroll needs to take a chance on starting a QB controversy by starting Wilson in pre-season week 3.  Better for it to see what he has now than in week 5 sitting on a 1 and 3 record, trying to salvage a season with a QB change.


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Tags: Marshawn Lynch Matt Flynn Pete Carroll Quarterback Controversy Run-first Offense Russell Wilson Seahawks Seattle Seahawks Tom Cable

  • Hawk_Eye

    I stated last week, “if Russell Wilson has an even better day than last week? Say 2 or 3 td’s and 150 + yards passing? Then all bets are off.” I think this week Pete will let Russell Wilson start against Kansas City and see how he does against the number one’s. If he doesn’t, then you are right.

    • Kelly Gibbons

      I am guessing Flynn starts again Week 3 with the plan of starting week 1. Russel will get his chance with the 1′s for a short while in the last preseason game. and will play alot of that last game to continue his development. Once Flynn has been given his chance to prove his contract and increase that trade value if Wilson is ready then who knows.

  • Kelly Gibbons

    I think Flynn needs to be the starter for several reasons.

    First off PC has already made the statement that Flynn is well on his way to understanding NFL defenses. PC also stated that Wilson has a ways to go even though “He is battling top get there”. While Wilson may disagree I think it is smart to hold off on starting Wilson until he has a chance to develop more understanding. Throwing him in now could well hurt his confidence and slow his development.

    Secondly, while some may not agree Flynn has played fairly well this preseason. He was very effective in the first preseason game. Granted he threw mostly check downs but, if the Defense runs cover 2 most of the game you have to take what is open. The second preseason game was more positive for Flynn than most people think. Flynn showed he can throw the deep ball. If T.O. catches the endzone pass that was thrown well by Flynn we are all looking at this in a much different way. There can be no doubt that PC asked Flynn to get T.O. involved to test his skills as a #1 go to WR. If Flynn was allowed to throw to what he saw there than targeting T.O. to “Get him involved” then I am guessing he stats would look a little different. That said I do agree with how PC handled it. It is important to see what we have in T.O. and it would not surprise me to see them try this again next week.

    Finally and maybe most importantly, is trade value. I think Flynn can very likely be an effective QB in the NFL. Only way to know truly about Flynn is to give him a shot. If you start Wilson now and he becomes what we all hope he will be Flynn will not increase his tradable value. We have Flynn under contract for 3 years which means if we can increase his worth we may well be able to get decent Value for him down the road. Just take a look at what the Eagles got for Kolb and what the Bengals got for Palmer.

    I am as high on Wilson as anyone and think he has a great upside. But, my guess is that Pete and John will look at the entire picture and what is best long term for our ballclub. If I am right then there is no doubt the Flynn starts and gets his chance to pump up his trade value.

  • Ken

    So you ignore the drop of a perfect 46 yard bomb to Owens that he dropped or do you look at it like it was a fluke? the Pass not the drop :P. 6 of 8 to players not named Owens. Anyway Flynn has shown a knack for the passing game if he has the weapons around him. I wouldn’t say Green bay had a dominating run game at least not last year.

    Wilson also is going against #3′s and 4′s not 2′s as most 2′s play only the first half. Lets not forget that Seattle also has a plethora of younger vets playing with Wilson against Rookie Free agents and late round picks just trying to make the practice squad let alone a roster. Just at WR and TE he has Edwards, Martin, McCoy, Morrah and has been out there with Tate, Durham, and Butler also . Yes he has looked great in the preseason but he also is playing with some players that should make undrafted free agent rookies look pretty bad.

    This isn’t a “i love Flynn post” as i totally understand what you are saying. Lets also not fall in love with a preseason hero playing against players who will be with out jobs come September. Yes Wilson is talented and if he was over 6 foot i have no doubt he goes in the top 15 picks. Right now he is playing against kids that will be lucky to be around once the season starts. Just remember how great Charlie Whitehurst looked last season against those 3′s and 4′s

    • Guest

      Whitehurst doesn’t have nearly the skillset or talent Wilson does.

    • Andy Lundman

      Whitehurst wasn’t nearly as skilled or as talented as Wilson. Not even close.

  • Footballtech

    Ken your right Matt has shown he can play. What really matters is the team a round him and can they play. Ball is there they have to keep it in their hands not on the field. I think he can win some games for the Seahawks. Wilson is going to be a good QB but I don’t think you make him a great QB buy playing third string players. TO drop one TD and if he would have been on the same page as Flynn there would have a couple more big plays. Flynn is the one that should start and then go from there.

  • Footballtech

    Also remember Whitehearst was a preseason hero also.

    • Andy Lundman

      Who’s Whitehearst?

  • krashman2371

    As a short time resident of the Denver area and life long Seahawk fan (lived here for 8 years now) I had the most awesome time at the game this past Saturday, when Bronco fans would ask me. ” where did you find this rookie?” My reply was simple, “he was a 3rd round pick from Wisconsin”. As a native of the Seattle area I am and always will be a SeaHawk fan, as WE ARE THE BEST!!! GO HAWKS!!!