But are we watching the Seahawks' starting quarterback? That is question No. 1 (and probably No. 2, 3, 4 and 5 to most Seahawks fans) when Seattle plays in Kansas City tonight with a rookie leading the offense.
After Pete Carroll gave the start to Matt Flynn in each of the first two preseason games, many of us, incorrectly as it turned out, thought the job was Flynn's to lose. But by naming Wilson the starter for the week, Carroll made it clear that the third-round pick out of Wisconsin not only has a shot to open the season as the starter, but may actually be the front-runner in the competition if he can avoid taking a step back tonight.
If you didn't believe it before this week, you certainly should now -- this competition is real, and the rookie has a real chance of winning it.
Now this is just a hunch, but it seems like Carroll would love to see Wilson seize the job. That's not to say he'll pick Wilson even if he thinks Flynn is better, but it just seems from watching and listening to Carroll, that he really, really likes Wilson.
Do we know Carroll is thinking that way? Goodness no. Nobody knows what's going on in Carroll's head, that much has become clear as this battle has played out in very unpredictable fashion. But if Wilson lights it up against Kansas City's starting defense the same way he has been playing against backups the last two weeks, will Carroll be able to help himself from naming the dynamic rookie the starter?
"He's an impressive kid, extremely impressive kid with a tremendous background, and he has not blinked here," Carroll said after naming Wilson the starter for this week's game. "Not blinked for a second. ... I'm glad he's on our team. I'm glad he's one of us."
And it's easy to see why Carroll is so excited about Wilson. In addition to being an exciting physical talent with his mix of athleticism, accuracy and arm strength, Wilson exudes confidence. Wilson has the type of charisma and swagger that impresses coaches and teammates, who have raved about him since the first minicamp, without making him come across as cocky. He's the type of leader who can transfer colleges as a senior and immediately be named a team captain.
Wilson may not play exceptionally well tonight, he may struggle on the road against a good defense, but if he does, it won't be because the moment was too big for him. When Carroll named Wilson part of the quarterback competition in the offseason, Wilson said that was what he expected out of himself. And when he learned he was getting a start in preseason game No. 3, Wilson met that news with confidence as well.
"I definitely imagine myself always being successful," he said. "I knew one thing. I was going to do everything I could to be successful, and that's what I'll always do, no matter what the situation is, no matter what situation I'm in. ... I'm never afraid to excel. I don't try to change the moment at all. I think it's a great opportunity."
Now we watch and see what Wilson will do with that great opportunity, and in turn what Carroll decides to do based off of Wilson's performance.
We don't know what Carroll will do next. Heck, he might make fullback Michael Robinson, a quarterback in college, part of the competition. OK, Carroll won't really do that. But just about anything else involving Wilson and Flynn seems possible.
Either Flynn or Wilson could be named the regular season starter next week, or either could get the start in the final preseason game with the competition still unsettled. However, if Wilson can shine for a third consecutive game, it seems more likely than ever that the rookie starting preseason game No. 3 could be the Seahawks' starting quarterback when the season opens.
"He's a nightmare for defensive coaches, he's a nightmare the way he moves around," Carroll said. "If 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. We'll figure it out in a couple of weeks."
We'll see. That might be as definitive of a statement as we get out of Carroll regarding the quarterback competition between now and the season opener.
But when you tune in tonight -- you know, if you're the type who likes to spend his or her Friday night watching football that doesn't count -- know that there is a real chance you're watching the rookie who could be leading Seattle's offense when the season begins.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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