Daunting Schedule May Keep Russell Wilson on the Bench

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Russell Wilson played well enough against the Chiefs on Friday to get strong consideration for a starting shot with the Seahawks. Going 13 for 19 with 185 yards and two touchdowns, the rookie out of Wisconsin helped guide Seattle to a 44-14 win in Kansas City. Building off impressive performances against the Broncos and Titans the first two weeks of the preseason, Wilson is definitely making a claim to be tabbed the starter going into their Week 1 game in Arizona.

The reaction to Wilson's first two outings were tempered by the fact that he was facing second or third-string competition. Doing what he did in Kansas City was impressive, however, and it may be the push he needed to convince the coaching staff to give him the reigns. Looking at the first few games on the Seahawks schedule, however, might be enough for Pete Carroll to go with the safe pick in Matt Flynn, who sat out Friday's game with elbow soreness.

After the game with the Cardinals, the Seahawks host the Cowboys and the Packers in Weeks 2 and 3, the latter being a Monday Night affair against Flynn's former squad. Whether Carroll feels comfortable enough to go with a rookie quarterback is anybody's guess, especially when this is considered by some to be a make-or-break year for the third-year coach. The playoff appearance last year notwithstanding, the sense by many is that this team needs to make significant improvements or Carroll might be looking at the chopping block.

The schedule doesn't figure to get any easier for Seattle once October rolls around. They travel to Carolina on October 7, then host the Patriots a week later. A Thursday night game in San Fransisco follows, before closing out the month in Detroit against Matthew Stafford and the Lions. Whether or not the Seahawks feel at peace about throwing their rookie quarterback out against these opponents is something they'll need to consider.
 
To be fair, Flynn's resume isn't all that impressive, what with two career starts, including a franchise record-setting day against the Lions last season. His time on the field has been limited, so there is the looming question about his ability to lead an NFL team long term. Saying that, game experience, while important, shouldn't negate the fact that Flynn's been with an NFL franchise the past four seasons, and has become familiar with what it takes to be a quarterback in this league.

Wilson is still learning, and that will be a factor should Carroll decide to hand him a clipboard the first few weeks of the season. During the final four games of December, the Seahawks host the Cardinals, 49ers, and Rams, with a trip to Buffalo sandwiched in between on December 16. The fact that three of the last four are at home for the Seahawks may be a comforting enough factor for Coach Carroll to hold Wilson out until then.

This decision will be an interesting one to watch as the season gets closer. The easy out is for the Seahawks to go with Flynn if healthy, and they can justify the choice by pointing to the contract they signed him to during the offseason. The gutsy call would be to go out on a limb and name Wilson the starter, impressed not only by his in-game numbers, but how he handles the offense during practice as well. But again, the schedule itself does present some challenges, and that may be enough to sit their rookie quarterback as the season convenes.