Pete Carroll told reporters today after practice that he plans on making a shift in the quarterback competition, with Matt Flynn starting against Tennessee and playing the entire first half, while Russell Wilson will start and play the entire second half.
Carroll said that incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson looked in better shape and moved well working with the first unit the first eight days of training camp, but the fact that he already has a good grasp of the offense and the coaching staff had a chance to evaluate him all of last year means that the team can cut down on Jackson’s reps so he can do a better job of evaluating the other two quarterbacks.
“To make a big decision like this, it’s about the information you can gather,” Carroll said. “And I want really, really good information coming in so that we can make a real clear-cut choice as we do this.”
Asked if Jackson will work back into the rotation next week, Carroll said we’ll have to wait and see what happens next week.
So Flynn will take all the reps with the first unit during practice this week in preparation for Saturday’s start, while Wilson works with the second unit and Jackson works with the third unit.
“Matt has done a fantastic job so far,” Carroll said. “He’s learned the system. He’s on it. He can make all of the adjustments, all the calls. He can see the defense really well. I love that he’s moving well in the pocket. And all of the things we’re asking him to do have fit together well so far. Now we need to see him in a situation where he takes over and see what that looks like.”
Of course, along with Carroll’s announcement on the quarterback situation, the big news today at practice was 38-year-old veteran Terrell Owens signing with the team.
Owens was not at practice this morning, but is expected to practice with the team on Wednesday. Carroll said that Owens will not play on Saturday against Tennessee.
Carroll said the decision to bring in Owens had to do with replacing the impact that Mike Williams had on the team in 2010 when he led the team with 65 receptions, a big, physical receiver who can win on the outside against one-on-one coverage.
Carroll always had that type of receiver at USC, but potential replacements for Williams like Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham have not played up to their potential.
“We lost a little something when Mike wasn’t there last year for us throughout the season like we would’ve liked,” Carroll said. “I’d like to give somebody who has an opportunity to be that style of player a chance to fit in.”
Carroll mentioned that Braylon Edwards is doing a good job and has been a factor at times during practice – Edwards had a couple big catches today – but that Owens gives his team another person who could potentially emerge and seize that role.
Carroll said that he’s known Owens since his days in San Francisco. Carroll also said that in doing his research on Owens that he talked with his former quarterback at USC Carson Palmer about Owens, and received a good report.
“It’s interesting now how he is,” Carroll said. “He’s extremely hungry, and he is humble. And he’s determined to finish his career on a good note. And he wants to be part of the team, and he wants to play football.”
Carroll said that Owens had an extraordinary workout on Monday, and with a 4.45 40-yard time ran faster than he did coming into the league.
As you can imagine, Seattle’s receivers are preparing for the competition ramping up with the addition of Owens.
“That’s faster than my pro day,” joked Doug Baldwin, who ran an official time of 4.48 at his Stanford pro day. “And he’s 38-year-old. He had crisp routes. He came out of his breaks unbelievably for 38-years-old. Even if he was 24-years-old, it would still look good.
“He caught everything that was thrown to him, and he absorbed everything that the coaches were saying to him. So he’s hungry to be back on the football field.”
Baldwin said that he believes Seattle’s locker room is strong enough to deal with a dominant personality like Owens.
“We’re all going to be looking up to him,” Baldwin said. “But at the same time we’re going to be accepting his challenge.”
Carroll said he doesn’t know how much Owens will play yet, but they’ll find out where he fits in through practice this week.
WR Doug Baldwin (hamstring), WR Ricardo Lockette (hamstring), LB Allen Bradford (hamstring), LB Jameson Konz (shoulder), LB Matt McCoy (knee), TE Anthony McCoy (hamstring) did not practice today. CB Walter Thurmond (leg) and OL James Carpenter (knee) remain on the PUP list. … WR Kris Durham returned to practice after suffering a hip injury during Sunday’s scrimmage.