Tarvaris Jackson took the bulk of the reps with the first team during Tuesday’s practice. That will change, however, starting Wednesday. Pete Carroll announced that Matt Flynn will take the bulk of the first-team reps the rest of the week in preparation for Saturday’s preseason opener, and Flynn will start against Tennessee and play the first half. Not only that, but rookie Russell Wilson will be the No. 2 quarterback in practice the rest of the week, and will play the second half of the preseason game, with Jackson apparently not playing at all Saturday night.
Now Carroll did not say that this is the end of the quarterback competition, and he pointed out that Jackson knows the offense, and that the Seahawks know Jackson, so he doesn’t need as much work, but this still can’t be a good sign for last year’s starting QB.
Below is the full transcript of Carroll’s comments on the situation.
“We have had a plan in motion here throughout, and we’re to a point right now where we make a little transition. The way this has worked out, I wanted to make sure that we got a good physical evaluation of the guys up to this point, whenever it took—I was hoping it would happen by this day, Tuesday—T-Jack came in in great shape, he’s quicker than he was, he worked his tail off in the offseason. You could tell his arm is strong, he’s fully recovered, he knows what we’re doing, he’s solid with everything, and at this time I think I can make a little bit of a shift and cut down his reps so that we can get a really good look at Matt and at Russell. To make a big decision like this, it’s about your information that you gather, and I want really, really good information coming in so that we can make a really clear-cut choice as we do it.
“So how this is going to go, this week, from tomorrow through the game, Matt’s the No. 1 quarterback. So he’ll take all the reps Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and play the game, start the football game on Saturday night, and I’d like to get him to play through the half. Then Russell will play the second half for us, and he’ll get the reps as the 2.
“To do this and get a lot of information early, we had to rotate the quarterbacks with the receivers as well so they got to throw to the same guys and we could figure that out, which our coaching did a great job of doing, but now as prepare for the game, we’ll zero in with the guys that the quarterbacks will actually throw to in the game, so that will help a little bit for continuity. Matt has done a fantastic job so far, he’s learned the system, he’s on it, he can make all of the adjustments, all of the calls, he sees the defense really well, I love that he’s moving well in the pocket. All of the things we’re asking him to do, he’s fit that together so far, but now I need to see him in a situation where he takes over and see what that looks like.
“The fact that we’ve had Tarvaris for 14 games last year and the four preseason games as well, we have a lot of great information on him. We feel like we have a good understanding of what he can do and how he plays, as well as he’s been with (offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell) for going on seven years, so that helps us in this situation in that he’ll be able to survive cutting his reps out to a certain extent, and the other two guys will be able to pick up some reps. This is how we had planned it all along, and it’s turned out that it’s going to fit together, then we’ll see how we go at the end of this week. There’s a lot of information to be gained, I’m really excited about seeing this change and seeing how it works for us so we’ll be that much closer to making the final choice really as soon as we can make it.”
Asked when a decision on the starter will be made, Carroll said: “As soon as possible, but I’m not going to rush it.”
Later, after a whole bunch of Terrell Owen talk (more on that soon) Carroll was asked if Jackson would get back to working with the No. 1 offense next week, or Flynn would remain the No. 1 quarterback.
“You’ll have to wait and see,” he said “Wait and see. Taking one week at a time.”