A GRIP ON SPORTS
There is one quote about quarterbacks I have seen attributed to many, many coaches. “A team with two quarterbacks,” the quote goes, “has no quarterbacks.” Or something like that. The meaning is clear. Football teams need to know who the starting quarterback is. The leader of the team. The loyalties cannot be divided. Well, they may just be in Seattle this season. Read on.
• Before we get into that, let me say I know all the qualifiers. Russell Wilson has played two halves of two exhibition games. The second halves. In which he has faced the backups of the backups. But so has every third- and fourth-string quarterback in the NFL these past two weeks and few if any have been as electric, as impressive, as efficient as Wilson. Admit it, the guy excites you. And that's the danger. He might be exciting a couple of teammates as well. And the team can't be spilt. Is Wilson ready to be an every down starting quarterback in the NFL? Probably not. Matt Flynn has shown he can play and play well in the NFL. Tavaris Jackson has shown – not this preseason mind you – he can play in the NFL. But Wilson has yet to play a down in anger. He has yet to face the studs. He has yet to feel the real speed an NFL secondary can bring. But that doesn't matter. He's starting to win over a portion of the Hawks' fans. Anybody who has seen the rookie from Wisconsin (by way of North Carolina State and minor league baseball) get knocked around like a pinball, yet stay upright enough to throw a pass, has to be impressed. And has to feel he could inject some excitement into a Hawk offense that last season was as exciting as watching a slug work its way across a driveway. The offense under Flynn thus far has seemed to be a throwback to not only last season but the grind-it-out game of ancient lore. Sure, with a guy like Marshawn Lynch to carry the ball, that's not all bad. But three field goals in the first half last night seemed reminiscent of the just-good-enough-to-lose offense the Hawks put on the field last season, an offense that Flynn was expected to at least goose, if not jumpstart. So far the burst of electricity has come from Wilson.
• Pete Carroll has explained Jackson's absence from the first two preseason games simply. To paraphrase, “we know what he can do” seems to be the theme. Well, we really don't know what Wilson can do. Maybe it's time to find out. Maybe it's time to give him the first half next week and see. If he succeeds and the Hawks succeed, then he could be ready. If he fails and the Hawks fail, then Flynn or Jackson is the better choice under center in week one. No matter what, the Seahawks and Carroll can better determine if Wilson is ready to be the No. 2 guy, which would allow Jackson to be dealt and a roster spot to go to a player who can help on special teams instead of being held down by a third quarterback.
• Washington State: The Cougars had Saturday off, but that doesn't mean Christian Caple wasn't busy. He has another position preview story, this one on the defensive backs. And he has a morning post with all the links you might need. … There is a downside to success, believe it or not. More than one probably, but George Schroeder touches on an expensive one at Oregon.
• Idaho: Nothing from the Vandals after an eventful week, but we do have a couple stories from WAC foes. … Utah State tasted success last year and wants more. … San Jose State is still trying to figure out its quarterback situation.
• Preps: Lewis and Clark High could be honored by Willard Scott. The school is 100 years old and will hold an all-school reunion next weekend. And, thanks to 100 years worth of athletes, there are sports memories to remember as well. We do, in this story from Jim Allen, that spans a century. We also have this list of prominent Tiger athletes. Pictured above is longtime LC teacher and coach Bob Lobdell.
• Indians: The Indians – and Royce Bolinger – are a hit. In more ways than one. Jess Brown has the story of the hit batters and one guy with a long winning streak. And, oh ya, Spokane lost at Yakima 8-2 Saturday.
• Mariners: There is one guy who runs a blog about the Mariners who believes he would be the world's best baseball manager. Or at least I think he believes that, as he is constantly second guessing Eric Wedge on Twitter. But like most self-proclaimed experts, even when he is wrong, he doesn't seem to admit it. Take last night for example. Wedge used Eric Thames as a pinch hitter in the eighth with the go-ahead run at second and two outs. What, not John Jaso, the M's best pinch hitter? Nope. Twitter was aflame with the decision. But Wedge knew something. He knew first base was open and, if Jaso pinch-hit there, the Twins would just walk him and pitch to Michael Saunders. Why waste your best pinch hitter on a walk? Instead Wedge had Jaso in his pocket in the ninth when the bases were loaded and there was nowhere to put him. Bingo. A sacrifice fly and a win. A what-a-great-move tweet should be expected, right? Nope. The next tweet I read was about how dumb Ron Gardenhire was to bring in a right-handed reliever, allowing Wedge to use Jaso. OK. … Jaso's sac fly allowed the M's to escape with a 3-2 win in a game when their lack of offense looked as if it would once again bite Jason Vargas in the left arm. But Justin Smoak's solo home run in the seventh tied it at two and allowed for the comeback win. … It's Sunday, so Larry Stone has his usual weekly column, along with a major league notebook, his rankings and awards. … Franklin Gutierrez is finally playing baseball again.
• Seahawks: With Peyton Manning playing the entire first half – it wasn't planned, but worked out that way thanks to a couple Denver turnovers – the Broncos led 10-9 at intermission. Enter Wilson, who cranked up the offense and led the Hawks to a 30-10 win. Wait, that means the defense threw a second-half shutout. So there was more than one star. … Terrell Owens wasn't one of them as he failed to catch a pass from Flynn or anyone else.
• Sounders: With almost 60,000 screaming folks crammed into CenturyLink yesterday, there didn't seem to be any way the Sounders would lose to Vancouver. Except Seattle couldn't seem to find the back of the net. Enter Fredy Montero, who didn't start after missing a day of practice due to a family illness. Boom, goal and, after Eddie Johnson added a clincher, a 2-0 win for the Sounders.
• Another day off (I don't really consider this writing thingee work, per se, though I am more than happy to be paid for it). It should be a good one. I don't want to waste a minute. So until later …