Was Russell Wilson Ever Really A Part Of The Seattle Seahawks 3-Way QB Competition


Before I start, I have to preface this with the fact that it is my opinion. I can’t get anyone with the Seahawks to comment on the record, though at the same time no one dissuaded me from writing this when I made my inquiries. So take this for what it’s worth. It’s my opinion, and I’m not presenting this as fact.

I don’t believe that Russell Wilson was ever in consideration to be the week 1 starter. I did at the start of camp, but my opinion has changed. The way the competition has progressed in camp suggests that the battle was really between Flynn and Jackson to be the starter, and between the loser of that battle and Wilson to be the backup.

For starters, Wilson hasn’t had a rep with the first team since day 6 of camp, August 3rd. Since then he’s have 4 days with the 3rd unit, and the rest have been with the 2nd unit. With off days scheduled today and tomorrow, even if Wilson gets the first team reps on Tuesday (which is unlikely), it will have been almost 3 weeks since he last rep with the starters. That isn’t a good way to see if he’s ready to take on that role.

Contrast that with Tarvaris Jackson, who appears to be the odd man out in this competition and is currently being shopped for a trade. Jackson has had 4 days in that same time period where he worked with the 1st unit offense. If Wilson was really in a competition with a chance at being the week 1 starter, doesn’t the discrepancy there seem very odd?

Instead, consider that the competition was, in fact, as I proposed above with Wilson only competing for the job as the backup. In that case, Wilson doesn’t need reps with the 1s, but instead needs as many reps with 2nd unit as he could get, and that has been what has happened.

Also consider the preseason game rotation. If Wilson was going to get a shot with the first unit offense, it needed to happen in yesterday’s game against the Broncos. The competition must be over by the third preseason game, otherwise the week 1 gameplan wont be in place on time. Week 3 is the “dress rehearsal” game, and week 4 is about resting the starters and getting them healthy. Week 4’s main task is to get the players on the “bubble” as many reps as possible so the final roster decisions can be made. Failure to use those 2 weeks of the preseason properly could really hurt the Seahawks this year.

There really wasn’t any reason not to start Wilson yesterday if the coaching staff wanted to see him with the rest of the starters. The fact that they didn’t tells me that they were more interested in getting Flynn more reps to help him prepare for week 1, than they were interested in truly evaluating Wilson. As I said in the paragraph above, continuing this competition into next week hurts the team as a whole. If they were going to give Wilson a shot, it needed to be yesterday. The team simply chose not to.

So why have the “3-way” competition at all? Because there wasn’t time to have 2 separate competitions. There would be no way to evaluate Wilson properly with him playing only with the 3rd unit. His turn to compete for the backup job would have had to wait for either Flynn or Jackson to win to starter’s job.

Back in the offseason program, there was no reason to think that Jackson and Flynn were going to be pretty equal, and that the competition wasn’t going to be a quick one. It looked very much like we were going to get to this point in the preseason and then Carroll was going to have to make a choice between Jackson and Flynn. That would have left just the next 2 weeks to figure out who the backup was going to be, which wouldn’t be enough time to do it right.

And thus we have the three-way QB battle isn’t really a three-way QB battle. The only way to give Wilson a real chance at the backup job, was to put him at least partially into the rotation for the starter’s job as well.

Hopefully you’ve noticed that I haven’t given my opinion on whether or not denying Wilson a real chance at the starting QB job was the correct call or not. That is an entirely different issue, and I didn’t want to cloud this issue by bringing in an entirely different discussion.