Criticism of the Seattle Seahawks has been frequent and rampant during the 2012 NFL offseason. They are either reaching for players in the draft or signing a quarterback his former coordinator must not have wanted (via NFL.com).
The last assertion doesn't quite fit with the comments Joe Philbin made about the Miami Dolphins making a strong push for Matt Flynn. He appeared upset his former quarterback opted to sign with Seattle (via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald):
Again, you need to ask Matt Flynn why he’s in Seattle. There’s a myriad factors that go into why people make decisions about their own future, which is their prerogative. And clubs have their own prerogative as to how they are going to decide to move forward. And so again, it always takes two people to get a marriage and so I wish him well. He’s a great young man. But he’s better to ask why he’s in Seattle.
Pete Carroll takes the detractors in stride, stating he and GM John Schneider aren't concerned with how others are running their programs (Seahawks.com). They will follow their own path, as unconventional as it may seem.
The criticisms have been varied and frequent. Carroll has been called clueless (thepigskinreport.com) relative to the quarterback position and personnel decisions overall.
One of my colleagues (John Rozum at Bleacher Report) even ran an article titled Seattle Seahawks and NFL Teams with Biggest Messes at QB.
It all started when Seattle opted to let Matt Hasselbeck leave in free agency in 2011 to sign a long-term deal. The team saw themselves going in a different direction and there were concerns with how the aging signal-caller would fare behind a young offensive line.
More recently, Brian McIntyre of NFL.com stated that Seattle and their head coach has "quite possibly butchered determining the Seahawks' starting quarterback this offseason."
Perhaps my favorite comment came from a B/R colleague I have great respect for. Matt Miller said the Seahawks' selection of Russell Wilson was one of the worst picks in the third round, citing they had already signed Flynn.
There was simply no need for Wilson, compounded by the presence of Josh Portis. Granted, Portis was seen as a long-term project when the undrafted free agent was signed last year.
To make matters worse, another post-draft analysis began by claiming Bruce Irvin was the worst pick of the first round in memory and wouldn't fill a need for Seattle. The article then called Russell Wilson the worst pick in the 2012 NFL Draft (Donald Wood, Bleacher Report).
It is unlikely that anyone would still call Wilson a mistake.
Criticism continues for Carroll and the "mess" the Seahawks have at the quarterback position.
Many fans and analysts believe Seattle should have settled on a starter several weeks ago. They cited the need for the quarterback to gain continuity with the starting receivers.
The only problem is Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin weren't on the field and the rest of the receiver corps is a muddled mass of uncertainty. It has been impossible for a quarterback and his receivers to work on their chemistry.
Carroll saw a fire in Wilson that made him delay naming a starter, giving him an opportunity to overtake Flynn atop the depth chart.
Wilson has responded, playing as well as the team could expect in preseason play.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked him,” Carroll said (via Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com). “When John (Schneider) was excited about drafting him and we got the momentum going to make that pick, this is (the) guy we hoped that he would be.”
Had Carroll followed conventional wisdom, Wilson wouldn't be on the team, let alone a candidate for the starting job.
But Wilson has emerged as possibly the best option for the team in 2012 and beyond. Seattle's "always compete" and "earn everything" mantra has given him the chance to succeed.
But tides are beginning to change.
Suddenly the Seahawks have the most intriguing QB storyline in the NFL. Get SalPal to Seattle!— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 21, 2012
One thing I've learned to avoid is attempting to forecast what Carroll and Schneider will do next. While I was right on their desire to land Flynn, it is impossible to keep up with their logic.
So as good as Wilson has been, Flynn has the experience that will give him an advantage when real defenses are presented. Could that be enough to keep him at QB1 for the divisional matchup against the Arizona Cardinals?
The regular season is much different from preseason snaps. The Kansas City Chiefs opted to not game plan (Steve Kelley, Seattle Times) against Wilson or the Seahawks offense. They didn't run a complex defense and they were without a few key defenders.
Wilson might be able to pick apart NFL defenses when the games begin to matter, but it is hard to overlook the lessons Matt Flynn has learned while spending four years watching Aaron Rodgers create opportunities against the opposition.
I'm beginning to think Carroll wouldn't have it any other way.
With all the uncertainties surrounding the players in the Seahawks offense, there is one thing that is clear: Carroll must be careful or he'll mishandle his team to Seattle's first championship.
The Seahawks have announced that Russellmania has officially begun in Seattle.
This is exciting news for their rookie and a vote of confidence in his ability to continue to thrive against NFL defenses. Wilson will get a solid test his first week, playing a quality Arizona Cardinal defense in a very loud environment.
The announcement is somewhat of a surprise, as it reflects that Seattle had been leaning that direction for a few weeks. Perhaps the Week 2 start for Flynn was more of an opportunity for him to overtake Wilson than a reflection of where he stood in the pecking order.
Carroll continues to be surprising. If Wilson is successful it bodes well for the team.
If he struggles fans will undoubtedly hear more accounts of how Seattle has mishandled the position. But for now, Wilson and fans alike should be excited about the new generation of quarterback in Seattle.