October 3, 2012
Condemning The Future To Death So It Can Match The Past
Everywhere I turn, I hear Seahawks fans (particularly the really enthusiastic Russell Wilson fans) say some variation of "Well, we need to stick it out with Russell Wilson this year- He's obviously the future of the franchise and Matt Flynn isn't."
What exactly is that based on? Did too many of us take that Bill Simmons article on Wilson as gospel? Did we swallow all of Jon Gruden's fawning praise uncritically? Did we fall in love with the seductive tale of a QB lacking in height but brimming with confidence and "intangibles?" Wilson CAN become our long-term answer at QB, but nothing about that is settled after only a handful of preseason games and one quarter of a season.
Our organization's investment in Russell Wilson is MINIMAL. This is not a high first round pick that a bottom-feeding, rebuilding team needs to build around. He is a 3rd round pick who has joined a squad already on an upward trajectory. If he cannot produce, if he becomes an anchor weighing down an elite running game and a transcendent defense, he must be replaced. Every season is precious. EVERY chance to get into the "tournament" and compete for a Super Bowl title is an opportunity at immortality. Wilson simply lacks the level of investment in terms of money or draft picks to justify sacrificing a playoff run to his development. The EMOTIONAL investment by fans (and maybe even from Pete Carroll) in Wilson is very high, but let's remember: If he just grows into a solid back-up QB, he's still a valuable asset.
So the assumption that it's "QBOF or bust" for Wilson is easily dismantled. What about the converse? That Matt Flynn is already some sort of odd zombie QB, just hanging around until he can be cut loose without a huge cap hit? That reasoning is specious as well. Part of it is Flynn's age- He's 27, which seems "old" for a Franchise Quarterback. However, it's important to remember that Matt Hasselbeck was 27 when he became the Seahawks' full-time starter, and Dave Krieg wasn't much younger when he took over from Jim Zorn for good (25). Both QBs led the Seahawks for a decade and to LONG runs of playoff contention.
There's also been this weird revisionism about Flynn's preseason performance going around, like he somehow "sucked" in August. This is not accurate. There was no indication that Flynn lacked the ability to move the Seattle offense up and down the field- His performance was simply overshadowed by the Madden-set-to-Rookie brilliance of Russell Wilson (against vanilla preseason defenses). There's no reason to think that Flynn wouldn't play well given the chance, lead Seattle into the playoffs, and then hold onto the starting job for a number of years.
Is that the real issue? Are there just a ton of Twelves already so invested in the IDEA of Russell Wilson that the notion of him being benched and Flynn seizing QB1 for good is psychologically uncomfortable? It was unconventional to start a rookie 3rd round pick at QB. Why is it the case that so many are now saying "Oh no! Once you start him, you can't bench him.. That's just not how it's done!"? That's... Weird.
I hope Russell Wilson SHREDS the Carolina defense Sunday. I hope that's the start of a 2005-like winning streak behind RW that forces Matt Flynn to keep on rockin' a ball cap and a clipboard for a looooong time. But if Wilson keeps bailing out early- If he keeps missing (or not seeing) open receivers- If he simply can't get the ball in the end zone... In that case, facing a must win against The New Fucking England God Damn Patriots, I want a QB out there that gives Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Marshawn Lynch, Chris Clemons, and the rest of the team a fighting chance at victory.
Skate or die, Russell Wilson. What do you think, sirs?