I am starting to feel like the only person who decided not to drink the kool-aid at the Heaven’s Gate convention. After Russell Wilson’s great performance people have become flat out hyperbolic and I fear may have lost a little perspective along the way. Yes, Wilson did have a good game. For those that have been Wilson boosters the whole time, and down on Flynn, this is exactly what they have been looking for. Now they have all the information they need, never mind the insanely small sample size of one preseason game.
Wilson did look good. He showed poise, a strong arm, good decision making, and it helped that Terrell Owens finally decided to catch a ball. Wilson had a quarterback rating of 134.8, which is fantastic. He completed 13-19 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. (Wilson also rushed for big yardage but I don’t believe that a quarterback should be evaluated on his rushing skills since ideally he is going to run the offense from the pocket and not put himself, and his team, at risk by running in the open field very often.) Flynn also got the help of having Sidney Rice in double coverage which allowed the other Seahawks receivers to become more open.
I realize that these are details in a larger picture, but if people are going to mainline confirmation bias like it’s the end of the world, they are worth pointing out. I now understand why quarterback “controversies” can become so detrimental to a franchise. This hasn’t even really been that bad of one, but you still see people taking hardline positions – mostly on Wilson’s side for whatever reason.
Admittedly, Matt Flynn hasn’t looked totally sharp this preseason. That doesn’t always mean much, however. Flynn apparently is suffering from some sort of elbow issue and I have no doubt was also told to throw to certain people and make certain plays in order to test out another players’ abilities (looking at you, TO). One could look at this and say that Pete Carroll trusts in Flynn’s ability enough on its own that he can be used to test out the abilities of other players.
If we are going to be using insanely small sample sizes to evaluate a quarterback then it also means we should look at Flynn’s regular season game from last season against the Detroit Lions. Flynn completed 31 of 44 passes for 480 yards and six touchdowns. All of that got him a rating of 124.8 which is also fantastic. It defies logic to look at one quarterback’s numbers and dismiss his competitors simply because you may have a preference. Anybody that claims Flynn is any worse than Wilson is just ignoring facts when you look at the actual numbers.
Flynn is not nearly as mobile as Wilson. He is a pocket passer that controls the game by running through his progressions and taking what is there. Wilson still has trouble reading defenses (failed to pick up a KC blitz a couple times) but is able to compensate through his mobility. Compensation and creativity don’t equate to experience and understanding, however.
At this point, I can’t honestly say I know who will start. I know the Wilson proponents are much more aggressive, vocal, and stubborn, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely rational. The realization I have come to over the last few days is that I have to have the same trust I’ve had in the past that Pete Carroll will make the best decision. There is no reason I would second guess him now when I haven’t done so in the past. I hope that all the other 12th Men realize this as well. If Flynn gets chosen, I hope all the Wilson supporters get behind the decision. Nothing would make me angrier than hearing a stadium booing Flynn and chanting “Russ-ell” the first tough game Flynn has. Whoever Carroll chooses, there will be tough games. I express this concern because of the way talk radio, the papers, and some commentators have been slurping down the kool-aid. Wilson is the new kid in town and if you believed some you’d think he can walk on water.
In the end, I suppose, this is just a plea for unity, moderation, rational analysis, and continued faith in the PCJS experiment. Instinctually, I tend to be very skeptical of over-excited bandwagon riders and their claims, as well as arguments that seem based on a single event or limited data (and there have been a few on this site and in the comments section). Putting Russell Wilson on a pedestal doesn’t do him any favors either. Whatever one may think, he still has a long ways to go and is far from becoming the next Steve Young or Drew Brees. It’s even far too early to claim he is the best quarterback of his draft class.
The way I see it is the Seahawks have a “high-quality” problem. They have a choice between two good quarterbacks that can lead their teams to victory, albeit in very different ways. In the next ten days or so, Pete Carroll will make his decision and I hope that the second-guessing is limited and the faith remains alive. I know I will support whoever starts game one under center. After all, both options are better than Tarvaris Jackson.