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Mon., Aug. 27, 2012, 7:42 a.m.

Wilson is more than fans’ choice

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The people have spoken. But more importantly, so has Pete Carroll. Sure, more than three-quarters of those who participated in our web poll (left) on whether Russell Wilson should start as the Seahawks quarterback answered in the affirmative. Impressive, yet immaterial. There is only one vote that matters and that's Carroll's. He voted for Wilson yesterday, so the Hawks will take the field in Phoenix on Sept. 2 with a rookie quarterback. Read on.

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• Before we get to Wilson, per se, think of this. Andrew Luck in Indianapolis. Robert Griffin III in Washington. Brandon Weeden in Cleveland. Ryan Tannehill in Miami. And Wilson. Since 1950, according to the stat guys, there has never been four rookies start at quarterback in the NFL on week one. This year there will be five. It wasn't that long ago the prevailing wisdom was a college quarterback needed up to five years of being an understudy to become an effective NFL quarterback. That it wasn't fair or productive to throw a guy out there early. It would just ruin his confidence. Well, that's no longer the case. Whether it's because there is so much money spent on these guys – not the case with Wilson, who will work for the minimum – or they are just better prepared coming out of college or Peyton Manning's career proved being thrown into the fire early is the best training for a novice quarterback, NFL folks are more than willing to hand the offense over to an unproven quarterback these days.

• All five can't be successful, can they? If three of the five are, then will Wilson be the third, behind Luck and Griffin, both of whom seem to have the tools to have a long, productive career? The thought here is yes, with a caveat. The yes comes from the fact Wilson wasn't handed the job from the get-go. He had to earn it. If anything, he was a long-shot when camp opened, with Matt Flynn the prohibitive favorite. But Carroll is all about competition, with the best guy playing regardless of who he is. Wilson proved to be that guy. So he starts. Weeden and Tannehill seemed to win their spots by default and, of course, Luck and Griffin were anointed the starters prior to camp. If performance under pressure means anything, than Wilson has a leg up over the rest of his freshman brethren. But size does matter in the NFL and Wilson would be a rare under-6-feet exception to the taller-is-better quarterback rule in the league. Due to his size, the Hawks will have to be a little creative in what they do, making the offense fit him instead of trying to force a round peg into a square hole.

• But is he the right choice? I'm saying yes, because Flynn would have been the easy choice. Sticking with a veteran who has some, if not a lot, of starting experience in the league would have been easy to defend to the players, the fans and the media. But going with Wilson, no matter how well he's played in the preseason, opens Carroll up to lots of second-guessing. This is a Seahawk team built on defense, a group that will keep them in games no matter how well the offense is playing. The main mantra of the quarterback should be "don't screw up." That is easier for a veteran who has seen more of what NFL defenses can do than it is for a rookie. Which is why Wilson must be really special if Carroll, who understands the strengths and weaknesses of his team better than anyone, has decided to go with him. He must believe Wilson can make a good team even better. Can take them another step. Can lift them into the playoffs. If Carroll believes that, who am I to doubt him?

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• Washington State: How does that go? There is no rest for the wicked? Well then Christian Caple must have been really wicked yesterday, because he didn't seem to rest. Not only did he have a practice-report blog post, he also spent time with a depth chart, added a story on kicker Andrew Furney (one of my favorite Cougar players) and then topped it all off with his morning blog post. ... We found this story on former coach Mike Price and thought we should pass it along. His UTEP team will host Oklahoma on Saturday. ... BYU still has a lot of work to do. ... How will the Pac-12 finish? Here's one thought. And here's Ted Miller's early bowl predictions.

• Gonzaga: Former GU player Ira Brown is trying to make the Olympics in an entirely new sport. Though it has roots in his college game – and Hoopfest.

• Indians: The Indians ended the home part of their schedule with a win, 10-4 over Salem-Keizer, something that's been rare for the team this season. But, as John Blanchette writes, that's not all that minor league baseball is about. There is more. Lot's more.

• Chiefs: As the Indians finish, the Chiefs begin. The first week of preseason camp is over and Jess Brown has the story of the team's scrimmage Sunday. ... With the NHL labor situation, Portland's veteran goalie Mac Carruth is still in the WHL.

• Mariners: Even the rain gods don't seem to want the M's to finish at .500 this season, despite how well they are hitting. After a rain delay that the umpires didn't seem to communicate very well, Kevin Millwood returned to a wet mound, hung a slider and the M's lost 4-3. But only after another rain delay led to the game being called in the seventh. A road trip that could have boosted the M's into contention instead begins with a three-game sweep by the White Sox.

• Seahawks: Not only was Russell Wilson named the starter last night, the Hawks also cut ties with Terrell Owens, an experiment that didn't pan out. His departure was just part of a handful of player moves. ... With Wilson the starter and Flynn the backup, Tavaris Jackson should be a Bill pretty soon.

• Sounders: It's not all that often offense is the center of attention in soccer. But with the Sounders recently, that's been the case.

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• Big day at the Grippi homestead today. We're doing some work around the yard, giving it one of those television makeovers if you will. However, there is a difference. We have to pay for it. Too bad I couldn't get Home Depot or Lowe's to sponsor it. Until later ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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