The disclaimer here is automatic: we should never read too deeply into what head coaches say in May and June. That’s the same warning we gave last week while discussing the possibility of Randy Moss starting for the 49ers even after being out of football for a year, and we’re giving it again now as the topic of who the hell is going to play quarterback for the Seahawks has resurfaced.
There’s rarely any motivation for coaches to tip their hand publicly and be truthful about it, but that motivation dwindles even further with training camp still weeks away. However, when we keep hearing the same damn report repeatedly, maybe there’s some fire to go along with that smoke.
Which brings us to the everlasting battle between Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn to see who will start for the Seahawks in Week 1, and to a lesser extent third-round rookie Russell Wilson. The latter name is the clear long shot, but his presence seemed to indicate that there’s a chance Jackson could be leaving the northwest shortly. Wilson is a bit of a project, but the third round is still lofty territory for a QB, especially when he was selected just a few weeks after Flynn was a major free agent prize. Flynn will receive $10 million in guaranteed money for the 2012 season during the first year of a three-year deal worth $19.5 million.
Overall, Jackson had only an OK season last year while fighting through injuries, finishing with a 79.2 passer rating, and throwing only one more touchdown (14) than his interception total (13). Combine Wilson’s status as the long-term project with Flynn’s contract, and although we knew Jackson would get a fair shot, the stars were aligned on Seattle’s QB depth chart to leave him as the odd man out.
As we learned over the weekend from ESPN’s John Clayton, that may have been a fine thought process about a month ago, but not anymore. Clayton reported that Jackson will be taking the first-team reps when training camp opens, leaving Flynn, the prized offseason acquisition, to claw from behind immediately.
More from Clayton: (via Josh Katzowitz)
“[Flynn] hasn’t wowed anybody in all the offseason program,” Clayton said. “… It’s still gonna be a three-way competition. Because of that, Flynn’s going to have to pick things up and wow everybody or at least take control of it during camp. He’s not done it yet.”
While Jackson’s overall numbers from last year may be solid but not overly impressive (he also had a 60.2 completion percentage, 6.9 yards per attempt, and 206.1 passing yards per game), his experience in the Seattle offense is an obvious advantage. Perhaps more importantly, though, is the improvement he showed to close out last season. Over the Seahawks’ last six games Jackson threw only two INTs to his seven touchdowns, and he had a passer rating of 90.0 or more in three of those games.
That’s what he’s clinging to for now, and since his competition has a combined two starts between them, it’s Jackson’s growth and experience that could make Flynn a very expensive backup, a scenario that seemed difficult to imagine only a short time ago.
And now the links part of the links post…
- We could see a merciful end to bountygate today, with Roger Goodell finally issuing his ruling on the four appeals he heard–and I use that word quite loosely–a week ago from the suspended Saints players. It’s very likely that the next stop is a courtroom. [Canal Street Chronicles]
- Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins was among a group of players who held a free kids football camp over the weekend. And for his troubles, he was beaten by a high school kid during a scrimmage, and he lost his cleats. That’ll show you for being charitable, Malcolm. [Shutdown Corner]
- If you think that Chad Ochocinco lost his job in New England because he’s some sort of demented football moron who couldn’t learn an offense in nearly a full year of practice, then take 10 minutes to read this comprehensive look into option routes. Ocho simply wasn’t a good fit for the Patriots’ system, and while he certainly still bears some responsibility for his failure, he can’t control the fact that he was the square peg being jammed into a round hole. [Doug Farrar]
- A more conventional quarterback means a more conventional blocking scheme for Denver’s offensive linemen. It’ll also lead to a much more enjoyable life for the large men assigned to protect Peyton Manning. [Around The League]
- Can Robert Griffin III throw fewer interceptions in 2012 than Rex Grossman? If he doesn’t, he’ll definitely ruin his chances with Kim Kardashian, which may not be such a bad thing. [Rich Tandler]
- Adrian Peterson has progressed well during his recovery from an ACL tear, but he’ll still likely start the season as Minnesota’s No. 2 RB behind Toby Gerhart. [Tom Pelissero]
- Peter King is chillin’ and drinking something out of a coconut for a few weeks. But MMQB rolls on, with a revolving door of King substitutes filling in. You may know the guy who took over this week. He’s of some importance to the NFLPA. [DeMaurice Smith writes MMQB]
- C’mon people, is a Tebowing pretzel still notable anymore? I suppose I’m not helping matters with a mere mention here, so yeah, sorry. Consider this a small public service announcement then. Please stop this, forever. [Tebowing pretzel]