From Comcast SportsNetPete Carroll and John Schneider were overjoyed during the April NFL draft when the Seattle Seahawks were able to grab Russell Wilson in the third round.Even they couldn't anticipate that Wilson would be the Seahawks' Week 1 starter.Carroll announced Sunday night that the undersized, but highly successful rookie quarterback from Wisconsin will be the starter when the Seahawks open the regular season on Sept. 9 at Arizona. Wilson beat out Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson -- in the process of being traded to Buffalo -- for the starting gig."It's been a very exciting competition that has gone on and Russell has taken full advantage of his opportunities and has done everything that we have asked for on the field and more than what you guys could know off the field in meeting rooms and with our players and how he's represented. He's earned this job," Carroll said on a conference call Sunday night. "It was a legitimate competition as we said from the beginning and with the opportunity he's taken advantage of he deserves to start."Wilson has been a dynamic star during the preseason. For the first two weeks, his performance came against backups during the second halves of victories over Tennessee and Denver.But what Wilson displayed during those two halves were enough for Carroll to give him the start Friday night against Kansas City. Wilson's response: 13-of-19 passing for 185 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 134.8. And if he didn't show enough with his arm, Wilson added another 58 yards rushing.His total preseasons numbers thus far are eye-popping: 35 of 52 (67.3 percent) for 464 yards, five touchdowns and a league-leading 119.4 QB rating. Wilson's only preseason mistake was throwing a careless end zone interception against Tennessee.Otherwise, Wilson's been almost perfect."This isn't just based on the quarters we've seen him play. This is based on the practice and the challenges that he's undertaken here on the practice field," Carroll said. "We've combined everything and with the circumstances that have been presented he won this opening challenge here."Wilson's most recent performance had Seattle fans buzzing, with Twitter overrun with "Russellmania" comments Friday night as he picked apart the Chiefs. As the game progressed, most began accepting the idea that Wilson would be the starter.Carroll said Wilson took the news in stride."He expects to be good and he expects to be successful and he expects to make plays," Carroll said.Wilson has been able to pick up the Seahawks offense quicker because of his experience playing in a West Coast offensive system in college. He spent his first three seasons at North Carolina State before transferring for his final year to Wisconsin. In Madison, Wilson led the Badgers to the Rose Bowl and was named the first-team, all-Big Ten quarterback."He is so prepared. He doesn't seem like a first-year player," Carroll said. "He seems like he's been around. He gets it, he understands and he is a tremendous leader in that way. He doesn't do anything but the right thing in all of his work and his preparation and his competitiveness has been demonstrated again."Wilson being named the starter leaves Flynn on the sidelines and according to Carroll understandably disappointed. Flynn was Seattle's big free-agent splash in the offseason and the most highly sought after quarterback not named Manning after spending the last few seasons as Aaron Rodgers backup in Green Bay. But Flynn failed to show the same flashes as Wilson during his two preseason opportunities and sat out the game in Kansas City with a sore elbow.Flynn's injury isn't considered to be severe, but sitting out against the Chiefs didn't help his case for the job."Matt's done a great job for us in every way, just the opportunities didn't seem to come in as big a way as it did for Russell," Carroll said. "He made the most of his."
Programming note: Warriors-Rockets coverage starts today at 4pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.
The Warriors left town Monday atop the Western Conference, on the wings of a seven-game win streak and staring into the most consequential 30 hours of the season.
They’re at Houston on Tuesday night, and the explosive Rockets, third in the Western Conference, have emerged as a legitimate threat to reach the NBA Finals.
Immediately after that game, the Warriors make the roughly 200-mile trip to San Antonio for a Wednesday night battle with the Spurs, the most consistent contender of this generation -- and the team whose footsteps are cluttering the ears of the Warriors.
Winning both games is conceivable only if they reach the level of lights-out defense that has been essential to their recovery in the wake of losing Kevin Durant. A sweep also stretches the boundaries of probability.
A split would be acceptable, under the circumstances, particularly if the victory is over the Spurs.
Losing both games would slice into the Warriors’ hopes of maintaining the No. 1 overall seed for the playoffs.
The Warriors say they are ready. And coach Steve Kerr insists they are rested.
“We should have our guard up and we should be ready to roll,” Kerr says. “We are playing well. We’ve got to keep it going.”
The Warriors (59-14) own the best record in the NBA and have a two-game lead over the Spurs (57-16). A win over the Rockets (51-22) would guarantee the Warriors would finish ahead of Houston.
Here’s the rub: The Warriors are 0-2 against the Spurs and 1-1 against the Rockets.
“We know it’s a tough trip,” Draymond Green says. “The Rockets are playing well and, also, San Antonio is playing well.
“But you know, we’re going there and play a hard game, which we’ve done a good job of as of late. We’re going there with a defensive mindset and everything else will fall into place, and we’ll be just fine.”
Defense has been the hallmark of the Warriors for much of this season, and certainly over the past seven games, during which they have led the league in defensive rating. The lockdowns generally start with Green, but the efforts of his teammates, particularly Andre Iguodala, also have allowed the Warriors to play some of their most efficient offense of the season.
They’ve managed to post an NBA-best 99.0 defensive rating this month despite the absence of Durant, who had been stellar on defense and, overall, the team’s best player.
No opponent in the NBA tests defenses to the degree the Rockets do. With MVP candidate James Harden orchestrating things, they’re second in scoring (115.8 points per game), just behind the Warriors (115.9), and their 25.4 assists per game is No. 2, behind the Warriors’ 30.4. Moreover, Houston is No. 1 in 3-point makes and attempts. They average 14.7 threes per game; the Warriors are fourth at 12.0.
“You’ve got to be really disciplined against these guys,” Kerr says. “That means sticking to your principles but not getting frustrated when they do make shots. They make tough shots. But as long as they’re tough ones, and not easy ones, and you stay with it, you can get through it.
"We played a really disciplined game here last time and won in this building. That’s what it takes. We’ll see if we can do it again.”
Doing so won’t make the next night, San Antonio, any easier. It will be different, given the Spurs’ shooting accuracy and offensive proficiency, but no less challenging.
PHOENIX – Cleveland coach Hue Jackson, whose team reportedly had some level of interest in Colin Kaepernick a year ago, has not seriously considered adding the free-agent quarterback to his weak quarterback position this offseason.
“We haven’t done any homework for this year,” Jackson said Tuesday morning at the NFL owners meetings. “My homework would’ve been for 2011 on Colin. We haven’t done much more since then, to be very honest with you. So, because, there are some other guys we’re chasing.
“It doesn’t mean that we won’t go back and re-visit him. It all depends on how everything shakes out over the next several weeks.”
Kaepernick, who entered the NFL as a second-round draft pick of the 49ers in 2011, remains unsigned three weeks after teams were allowed to begin discussions with free agents. The 49ers have not shown any interest in re-signing Kaepernick, who threw 16 touchdowns with four interceptions for a passer rating of 90.7 in 11 starts in 2016.
The 49ers gave Kaepernick permission a year ago to seek a trade. The Denver Broncos and Browns were the teams most closely connected with Kaepernick.
“It didn’t get really that deep,” Jackson said. “I know everybody was reporting that we were in it. I don’t think it was as deep as people said it was. It was always kind of known that he was not leaving. So your work has to be done when you know there’s a legitimate opportunity for things to happen. What I know of Colin is what I know. I have not studied him much since the time when he was coming out.”
The Broncos and 49ers had the framework of a deal worked out, but the trade hit a dead end when Kaepernick, the Broncos and the 49ers could not settle issues surrounding the guaranteed money on Kaepernick’s contract.
The 49ers and Kaepernick renegotiated his contract in October, which enabled Kaepernick to opt out of his deal and become a free agent this month.
The lack of apparent interest in Kaepernick around the NFL appears to have multiple layers. Some teams are not interested because they have no need at quarterback. Some teams do not run offensive systems that would appear to suit Kaepernick. And other teams might not be interested in adding a player who created a controversy last season with his decision to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against racial inequality in the United States.
When asked if he considers the off-the-field aspect associated with Kaepernick, Jackson answered, “I think we will consider it if that was somebody that we were going to target. We’re just not in that mood right now.”