Whoever said three's a crowd could probably get agreement from Russell Wilson, Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson. The Seahawks' three-way quarterback battle highlights what should be a competitive training camp.
QB -- Matt Flynn vs. Tavaris Jackson vs. Russell Wilson
The only thing better than a training camp competition that involves two quarterbacks is a training camp quarterback competition that involves three quarterbacks. That confusing situation is what awaits coach Pete Carroll when the team holds its first practice Saturday.
If you’re looking for signs that Carroll may be favoring someone at this point, they really don’t exist. He’s said Jackson is the current front-runner, but if he really liked Jackson, then he wouldn’t have signed Flynn to a three-year, $19.5 million contract. And if he really liked Flynn, he wouldn’t have drafted Wilson, unless the plan was to keep Flynn and Wilson and drop Jackson, who again, Carroll said is the front-runner right now. See how confusing this is already?
Three quarterbacks vying for one spot means first-team reps have to be split three ways, which isn’t ideal for anyone. When Carroll was asked if he’s ever going to narrow the competition down to two quarterbacks, he played coy. “The answer is yes, I guess, you’re just going to have to suck it up and wait.”
Whomever Carroll picks, he needs to choose sooner rather than later so he can get comfortable with the offense and the offense can get comfortable with him.
First, let's point out that the competition for the No. 2 wide receiver spot could turn into the competition for the No. 1 receiver spot if presumed No. 1 receiver Sidney Rice can’t stay healthy. Rice, who signed a five-year, $41 million deal last July, was placed on injured reserve last November after suffering two concussions. He’s played 16 games only once in his five-year career.
So if Rice stays healthy, who will be the No. 2? Baldwin might be the best bet. The undrafted free agent came out of nowhere last year to lead the Seahawks in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. The most impressive thing about Baldwin might be his yards per catch. His 15.5 average was 28th in the league and 16th among receivers with 50 or more receptions.
Baldwin will almost surely have the upperhand for the No. 2 spot if Flynn wins the quarterback competition; the two worked out together in Florida earlier this month. “I’ve been throwing to [Doug] for only two months, but I can already see how he’s a special player and will be around for a long time,” Flynn said.
As for Tate, in two years with the team, his game has improved by leaps and bounds. Tate didn’t put up huge numbers, but he did come through in clutch situations as 10 of his 35 catches last season went for first downs.
Ruud, a seven-year veteran, seems to be the slight favorite to win the job, but that’s only if he can stay healthy -- and that’s a big if. Ruud started all nine games he played in last year for the Titans, but thanks to a groin injury, he finished the season on injured reserve. However, Ruud doesn’t seem to be injury prone. In his six career seasons before joining the Titans, the former Buccaneer played in all 16 regular season games five times.
If Ruud struggles with injuries -- or struggles with anything, for that matter -- Wagner, a second-round pick, will be ready to pounce. Wagner was the WAC defensive player last year for Utah State and can fly around the field. He recorded 147 tackles and four sacks for the Aggies last year. Wagner is lightning quick and Carroll has said he would like to get Wagner on the field. "Bobby’s going to get a heck of a chance," Carroll said. "We’d love to get that speed on the field if we could."
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