Think a short quarterback can't succeed in the NFL? Russell Wilson would like you to hold that thought. (AP)
In a Sunday evening conference call with local media, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll announced that third-round rookie Russell Wilson will start the team's Week 4 preseason finale against the Oakland Raiders on Thursday, and the Week 1 regular-season opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Sept. 9.
"It's been a very exciting competition going on, and Russell has taken full advantage of his opportunity," Carroll said. "He's done everything you could ask for on the field, and more than you guys could know off the field, in meeting rooms and with the players. He's earned this job. It was a legitimate competition, as we've said from the beginning, and he deserves to start. So, we're excited to do that."
The seeming complication was that the Seahawks signed former Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn to a three-year, $19.5 million contract in the offseason, with the presumed idea that Wilson could learn and develop behind Flynn as the starter. However, Wilson never bought the narrative.
Considered by many to be too short to play the quarterback position in the NFL at 5-foot-10 5/8, Wilson looked like a savvy veteran through his rookie minicamp, through practices, and through three preseason games in which he tabulated the league's highest passer rating at 119.4. Wilson looked especially good against Kansas City's first-team defense in a 44-14 thumping Friday night, and his total numbers -- 35 of 52 for 464 yards, five touchdowns and one interception -- were simply manifestations of the confidence he brought onto the field. It was the same confidence Wilson instilled in others.
"He's never shown that he's anything but a quarterback, in every sense of the word," Carroll said. "The command he has, just handling the huddle and the situations -- it's the kind of work ethic you hope your quarterback has. The sincerity and respect for the position. He is so prepared; he does not seem like a first-year player. He seems like he's been around."
Carroll also said that he feels badly for Flynn, "because I know how badly he wanted this," but the coach said all along that he would not let salary dictate reps. That has proven to be true. Flynn, who has been experiencing elbow issues over the last few days, may or may not get time in the Raiders game.
Carroll also confirmed that the Seahawks are close to a deal that will send quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to the Buffalo Bills, which would leave Flynn and second-year man Josh Portis as the only quarterbacks on the roster besides Wilson.
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