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Monday cyber surfing: Wilson to start; Jackson traded; Roster reduced

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 27, after a busy weekend that started with the team moving to 3-0 in preseason play with a 44-14 victory in Kansas City Friday night.

Last night, head coach Pete Carroll held a conference call with reporters. The biggest piece of news to come from the call was that rookie quarterback Russell Wilson will be the starter for the team’s final preseason game against the Oakland Raiders, as well as the team’s regular season opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 9. Carroll also announced that last year’s starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is set to be traded to the Buffalo Bills, a move that should be finalized today. Finally, the team confirmed several transactions as they prepare to reduce the size of the roster from it’s current 90-man limit to the NFL mandated 75-player maximum by Monday at 1 p.m. PT.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his story on Wilson being named the starter, “Wilson is who everyone is going to be talking about in Seattle this week as Carroll made official what became fairly obvious: Wilson’s performance this month earned him the starting job ahead of Matt Flynn. ‘It was a legitimate competition as we said from the beginning,’ Carroll said of Wilson. ‘With the opportunity he’s taken advantage of, he deserves to start.’ “

O’Neil also has a look at Sunday’s transactions, “Owens was released Sunday, one of 12 players the team let go as it prepared to trim its roster to the 75-player limit by the NFL deadline of noon Monday. Jackson is expected to join the Bills, though that move won’t be finalized until Buffalo reaches an agreement with Jackson on modifying his contract. ‘He deserves a chance to be playing so Buffalo came after him,’ Carroll said of Jackson. ‘I hope it’s a good thing for him. He did a great job for us and he proved everything you’d ever want to see out of a competitor.’ “

Lastly from O’Neil, he has a rookie report after Friday night’s victory, including a note on 2012 fourth-round draft pick Robert Turbin, “Wilson wasn’t the only rookie who got his first start on Friday in Kansas City. So did Turbin, who is Wilson’s roommate. And with Marshawn Lynch sitting out the game, Turbin showed that Seattle does indeed have more depth at that position than it did last year when the offense went belly-up after Lynch unexpectedly was scratched from Seattle’s game at Cleveland. The most telling part of Turbin’s performance was those 50 yards he racked up on three carries in the touchdown drive to begin the second half.”

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times comments on Wilson winning the starting quarterback job, “Now, the entire team knows that everyone gets a fair shake. Do you realize how easy it would have been for the Seahawks just to go with Flynn? He’s a veteran. The Seahawks signed him to a three-year contract during free agency that guarantees him $10 million. Most of the time, in professional sports, it’s as simple as that. But Carroll and Schneider kept an open mind, even though owner Paul Allen now must be wondering why they needed to invest so much in Flynn. But the Seahawks still aren’t paying much for their quarterbacks, considering it is the most important position in sports. Flynn was worth the investment, and he was playing well enough to be a starter. Wilson just jumped higher, in essence. Now, the Seahawks have two starting-caliber quarterbacks, which is a huge bonus in the NFL. Almost as important, though, is the statement. There shouldn’t be a player on this team who doesn’t grind. There’s always opportunity in Seattle. If you’re hungry and prove yourself, Carroll will find playing time for you.”

Following Friday night’s victory, Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times labeled Russell Wilson’s first starting performance as ‘amazing’, but still believes veteran free-agent acquisition Matt Flynn is the team’s best bet at quarterback, “Ask yourself which is more impressive: Wilson’s three exhibition games or Flynn’s two NFL starts where he threw for 731 total yards and nine touchdowns? And which games were more relevant, Wilson’s three games in August, or Flynn’s regular-season starts against New England and Detroit? Flynn doesn’t have the wow factor that Wilson has. But he excels at the subtleties of the game. And I think ultimately, as good as Wilson has been this month, the Seahawks would win more games with Flynn than Wilson.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his story on the Seahawks’ flurry of moves and announcements from Sunday, “Rookie Russell Wilson will be the starting quarterback when the Seahawks open the season Sept. 9 at Arizona. Wilson also will start the Seahawks’ final exhibition game Thursday against Oakland. ‘He’s earned this job,’ Carroll said. ‘It was a legitimate competition like we said from the beginning. He is so prepared he just does not seem like a first-year player. He seems like he’s been around.’ “

John Boyle of the Everett Herald has his take on Wilson being named the starter, “There were so many reasons for Russell Wilson not to win the Seahawks’ starting quarterback job. Wilson is a rookie, and a third-round pick at that. He’s short by quarterback standards, and he was competing for the starting nod against last year’s starter, Tarvaris Jackson, and big(ish)-money free-agent signing Matt Flynn. Yep, there were plenty of reasons not to give Wilson the job. Well, except one little detail that got in the way — Wilson, that not-quite-5-foot-11, third-round pick, is the Seahawks’ best quarterback. And that’s why Pete Carroll announced Sunday night that Wilson will start the season opener in Arizona next month…And as corny as Carroll’s ‘always compete’ mantra can sound at times, and much as we might like to poke fun at frequency with which he talks about competition, this decision serves a very good reminder that all of that talk is very, very real.”

Tim Booth of the Associated Press has his story on Wilson, “Wilson has been a dynamic star during the preseason. For the first two weeks, his performance came against backups during the second halves of victories over Tennessee and Denver. But what Wilson displayed during those two halves were enough for Carroll to give him the start Friday night against Kansas City. Wilson’s response: 13-of-19 passing for 185 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 134.8. And if he didn’t show enough with his arm, Wilson added another 58 yards rushing. His total preseasons numbers thus far are eye-popping: 35 of 52 (67.3 percent) for 464 yards, five touchdowns and a league-leading 119.4 QB rating. Wilson’s only preseason mistake was throwing a careless end zone interception against Tennessee. Otherwise, Wilson’s been almost perfect.”

The staff at SportsPressNW.com has their story on Sunday’s news.

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report on Sunday’s moves and announcements.

Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com comments on Wilson being named the starting signal-caller, “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 lik a first-year player. He seems like he’s been around.’ “

Mike Sando of ESPN.com takes a look at Wilson being named the starter, “Carroll made it clear from the beginning that there would be an open competition. Though reasonable in the beginning, assumptions that Flynn would start turned out to be as wrong as the assumptions typically made about players such as Wilson. A year ago, not even the unconventional Carroll could have envisioned going into an NFL season with a rookie starting quarterback standing 5-foot-10 and 5/8 inches. This wasn’t about Flynn in the end. It was all about Wilson emerging as a dynamic force in minicamps, training camp and the preseason. He won over the coaches right away with his hunger to learn and ability to handle more than what they threw his way. Wilson outperformed reasonable expectations at every step, most recently when he led Seattle’s starting offense to six scores on its first six possessions against Kansas City.”

Sando also says there is little precedent when it comes to Wilson starting Week 1, “Wilson will become only the sixth rookie since the merger to make an opening-day start at quarterback after entering the NFL as a draft choice taken in the third round or later. That note comes from Elias Sports Bureau. Wilson stands out from that list as well in that he won the job outright, unlike most of the others.”

Sando has his thoughts on the Seahawks’ Sunday transactions and comments on the scheduled trade of Tarvaris Jackson.

Peter King of SI.com has his ‘Monday Morning Quarterback‘, which includes a note on Wilson earning the starting gig, “The naysayers said to just wait until Wilson had to play against someone’s starting defense; that would expose him. Uh, not so much. Wilson started and had seven possessions in Kansas City Friday night. The drives: 41 yards and a field goal, 41 yards and a field goal, 37 yards and a field goal, 62 yards and a touchdown, 59 yards and a touchdown, 55 yards and a touchdown, 54 yards and a missed field goal. By the time Seattle inserted Tarvaris Jackson to replace Wilson, the Seahawks led 44-7. At the start of camp, I was told by Someone Who Knows that Wilson would have to be markedly better than free-agent signee Matt Flynn to win the starting job. Well, Wilson’s performance in the past month defines “markedly better.”


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