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Open Competition at Quarterback? Only Until Matt Flynn Wins It

If Matt Flynn isn’t expected to be the starting quarterback of the Seahawks, why is he pictured prominently on their new season-ticket ad?

Don’t let Pete Carroll fool you: He has every expectation that Flynn will be the starting quarterback of the Seahawks this year — and going forward.

Both Carroll and Flynn have said it will be an open competition between Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson. Carroll told KIRO 710 ESPN Radio that he envisioned them getting “as close to equal snaps as possible” in camps.

Carroll told reporters, “We’re very clear on how we delivered the message. We now have the opportunity to have an open competition. I expect T-Jack to be better, and I expect Matt to come here guns blazing.”

Flynn: “I’ve always been a very competitive guy, and a very confident guy. I know that I’m going to come in here, and I’m going to be in a competition. I’ve always been a firm believer in competition. I think it brings the best out in everybody.”

Carroll admitted to the KIRO guys what we suspected — that asking Flynn to throw the ball for them on his visit was partly a test of whether he would be willing to compete for the position and prove himself.

“There was a little bit of apprehension of ‘Will he jump at this?’ But he didn’t even hesitate,” Carroll said of the impromptu throwing session. “That’s what you want to see. He’s willing to show you what he’s got.”

If you read between the lines, you can tell Carroll is hoping Flynn proves to be everything they (and we) think he is.

The fact is the Hawks are paying Flynn to be their starter — and their new season-ticket ad touts him along with Marshawn Lynch and Red Bryant.

Carroll talked about the great coaching Flynn got in Green Bay, where the Packers run a very similar offense to what the Seahawks run under one-time Packers assistant Darrell Bevell.

“Coming out of a very good system with excellent coaching — one that also relates to our system — there’s an opportunity for a quick transition for him to really battle right into this thing and see how far he can take it,” Carroll told KIRO. “We’re going to give him a great chance to see if he can become the No. 1 quarterback.

“He’s ready to go,” Carroll added. “We’ll find out how ready. We receive a guy who has been coached very well and groomed, and we’re going to try to transition that into our game. … Looks to be a very compatible system for him. He’ll fit fine.”

Carroll talked about how he and John Schneider have built up the rest of the team to support the quarterback, giving them the luxury of not having to rely on the QB as much at this point. But he also said he would be happy if someone stepped up at that position.

“The jury is still out on our quarterback situation,” he told KIRO. “Hopefully we’ve built a team around the quarterback spot where the quarterback isn’t the whole show. We’ve done everything we can to upgrade the defense, our special teams … and build a team around a running game where the quarterback can be the pivot man in the whole thing.

“That’s always been the philosophy: to balance out the attack in all ways so the quarterback can play and function and doesn’t have to carry the whole thing on his shoulders. If we had a guy who can do that and develops into that, we’ll utilize that as it presents itself. At this point, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT FLYNN

Rich Gannon, who does Packers broadcasts, told Schneider that Flynn “can play the game in his head.” That’s coach speak for: He is a cerebral quarterback who understands the game.
Aaron Rodgers, the NFL MVP for whom Flynn was a record-setting understudy in Green Bay, said he thinks Flynn will be a top-15 quarterback in the NFL.


Packers coach Mike McCarthy said: “Based on what I see in the everyday classroom, practice field, he’s ready. It’s his time to play. And you don’t ever know. You don’t ever know if a backup quarterback can take that next step and go out and play 16 games. I know mentally he’s ready, emotionally he’s definitely ready; but until you play the position and go play those 1,100, 1,200 snaps, that’s when you really find out. And I think Matt’s ready for that.”

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