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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



August 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM

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Reading between the lines: Pete Carroll on QBs

Seahawks need to give Flynn as many reps as possible
By Steve Kelley | The Seattle Times

Seahawks quarterback debate opens up
By Danny O'Neil | The Seattle Times

For two weeks, Seattle's question at quarterback has been a largely theoretical exercise for fans.

A chance to debate whether coach Pete Carroll really should have spent the first seven days rotating the quarterbacks like he did or if the Seahawks really might be willing to part ways with Tarvaris Jackson and enter the season with a combined total of two career NFL starts at the quarterback position.

There have been practice performances to scrutinize, but still, that's just practice.

Now, there's real results to look at. Hard data.

 Comp.Att.YardsLongTDINTRating
Matt Flynn111371140157.4
Russell Wilson1216124391191.7

Now, it's just an exhibition game. It's also not an apples-to-apples comparison since Flynn started the game -- facing the Titans' starters -- while Wilson played the second half when the Titans were dredging the nether regions of their depth chart.

Still, if the coach is going to make such a highlight of the competition and make the point that everything matters as Pete Carroll has done, it seems only reasonable to apply a microscope to the information that was put in front of us.

And in the spirit of overanalyzing the situation, we've cobbled together a makeshift "Pete Carroll Translator" in an attempt to read between the lines of what the coach is saying about the comparison between Flynn and Wilson after the game.

Now, keep in mind: Translating Carroll-ese is difficult, a task made more problematic by the fact he doesn't always speak in complete sentences. In fact, there are times that the "Pete Carroll Translator" starts smoking and needs rest.

So take this more as a well-intentioned, not overly serious estimation of what he may have meant moreso than any sort of literal description.

On Matt Flynn ...
What Carroll said: "His understanding of what's going on was quick."

Translated: He read the play well, didn't get hung up on any one receiver. He got guys in the right position.

What Carroll said: "Tennessee is a good football team, and they have some good players, and they had a lot of starters out there, and Matt moved the ball well against them."

Translated: Flynn had stiffer competition. I know that. He also didn't have Sidney Rice, Terrell Owens, Kellen Winslow or Marshawn Lynch on the field to go against the Titans, and still he completed his first eight passes of the game. That fact is not lost on me.

What Carroll said: "Unfortunately, on the interception, we had a play fake going in and the tailback had to come out for what he thought was a blitz pickup, so we got no play fake on him to pull the linebacker down, so I understand what happened there."

Translated: That pick? Not his fault. It was supposed to be a play-action pass, which would have sucked up Titans' linebacker Colin McCarthy toward the line of scrimmage. Instead, the back went to pick a blitz he didn't need to, which left McCarthy waiting and reading the quarterback to leap and make an interception.

What Carroll said: "There were just a couple of sacks where I thought we could have got the ball out to avoid the sack, but we wanted to throw the football."

Translated: We had the same thing last year. Just like there's no shame in checking down, there's no problem with firing the ball out of bounds and getting to start over from the line of scrimmage. It's like hitting the reset button on your video game when you don't like how things are going.

What Carroll said: "The first group obviously blocked a little better than the other guys, and on the running game too, which we showed."

Translated: That first drive that was so impressive? It totaled 58 yards of offense. Our first three running plays to Leon Washington accounted for 26 of those yards.

On Russell Wilson ...

What Carroll said: What Carroll said: "His ability to hook up on the deep ball and give Braylon (Edwards) a chance on that play ... Braylon makes a great grab, but he gave him a great chance to go get it."

Translated: People wondered if this guy might be too short? Well, he looked downfield saw that our 6-foot-3 split end was isolated in one-on-one coverage and he put that ball up there to give his teammate a chance to go get it. Now, that's what I'm talking about!

What Carroll said: "He did some marvelous things. A little bit of avoiding the rush and then finding Charly (Martin) inside a couple of times, which was really nice."

Translated: We didn't run the ball at all in the second half. Wilson rushed for 59 yards in the final two quarters, the rest of our team totaled 29 in those two periods. But sometimes you've just got to play ball. If the running game is sputtering or a play breaks down or the protection flat out stinks, sometimes the quarterback's got to make something happen. Well, Wilson showed he could do that whether it was buying time by moving his feet or running 23 yards up the field on a third-quarter scramble. I just love me a little sandlot in my quarterback.

What Carroll said: "I am interested to see what he's going to do next time. It was really fun watching him."

Translated: [Error]. Seriously. It's tough to tell what that means as Carroll said bluntly after the game he would not announce his plan at quarterback for Saturday's exhibition game at Denver. He wouldn't say if Tarvaris Jackson would play either.

The best guess -- and by best guess, this means we're relying on Danny O'Neil's notably problematic ability to forecast -- Wilson steps into the role Flynn held this week. He gets the starter's repetitions in practice, and he plays the first half of the game to give Carroll a sense of "what that looks like." Again, that's a forecast from a notably problematic forecaster.


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I agree with your last prediction. Russell deserves a shot with the first team. MORE
We looked extremely good considering it was the 1st preseason game with the Hawks for... MORE
I thought Flynn looked alright but I thought he had a couple throws where he could have... MORE

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