BY SPNW Staff 10:33PM 08/26/2012

Carroll says Wilson to start; T-Jack to Buffalo

The astonishing four-month rise of Russell Wilson is complete: The rookie was named Sunday the QB starter for the regular-season opener against Arizona.

Russell Wilson got the word Sunday from Pete Carroll: He's the starter. / Seahawks.com

Pete Carroll is the last guy to keep quiet about Russell Wilson. So he couldn’t wait to tell the world the rookie will be the Seahawks starting quarterback for the regular season opener at Arizona Sept.9.

“It’s been a very exciting competition that’s gone on, and Russell has taken full advantage of his opportunities and done everything we could ask for on the field,” Carroll said in an unusual Sunday evening teleconference with reporters. “And more than you guys can know, what he’s done off the field in meeting rooms and with our players and how he’s represented himself, he’s earned this job.”

Wilson will also start the exhibition finale at 7 p.m. Thursday against Oakland at CenturyLink Field. Veteran Matt Flynn will be the backup, and Carroll confirmed that Tarvaris Jackson will be traded to the Buffalo Bills for an undisclosed draft choice.

Asked for Russell’s response, Carroll said, “He said he was excited . . . and absolutely in stride. I don’t think it’s going to bother him a bit. In time as you guys (reporters) are around him more and you watch him more, you’ll come to appreciate the uniqueness of Russell and his approach.

“He expects to be good. He expects to be successful. He expects to make plays. That’s just the way he is and thinks. Nothing else even enters in his mind. He came to win this job.”

On his Twitter account, Wilson wrote: “I’m thrilled to get this opportunity thanks to @petecarroll, my @Seahawks teammates and the #12thman Matt 6:33.”

The choice caps a stunning rise for a 5-foot-11 quarterback who lasted until the third round in the April draft, the fifth quarterback taken. He was presumed to be Seattle’s third quarterback and a spectator observing the battle between incumbent Jackson and veteran newcomer Flynn.

But Wilson made a big impression in the rookie mincamp in May and the full-squad minicamp in June. Progress continued when training camp began and climaxed Friday night in Kansas City when the Seahawks scored on the first six possessions led by Wilson, making his first start with the first unit. The Seahawks won, 44-14.

Flynn, on the other hand, didn’t get a chance to respond Friday. A muscle inflammation in his throwing elbow kept him sidelined. He was supposed to get a series with the first unit, and Carroll said that hurt his chances.

“I think it makes the decision clearer,” Carroll said. “Unfortunately, Matt has not been able to answer by playing last week and again this week, as much as we would like for his sake. He’s disappointed. Matt came here to be a starter. He took it exactly the way I would think a great competitor would. He still wants it. And that’s going to help us. And it’s going help him, too. He will not back down from this challenge.

“When his opportunities come up – which hopefully he’ll play (Thursday night) – he’ll continue to demonstrate what he’s all about. I’m disappointed for him, too, because I know how much he wants this.”

Wilson completed 13 of 19 passes for 185 yards and two TDs against the Chiefs, for a passer rating of 134.8. He also ran for 58 yards on two carries. In the first two games, he  completed 22 of 33 passes for 279 yards, with three TDs and an interception, for a 110.5 passer rating, and also ran eight times for 92 yards and a score.

Flynn in the first two games completed 17 of 26 passes for 102 yards. But in 10 series, he generated four field goals and the offense did not score a touchdown.

Of Jackson, who started 14 games last season, Carroll said, “He deserves a chance to be playing so Buffalo came after him. 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.”


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