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Flynn, Wilson to make their Seahawks debuts
Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson spent very different Friday nights.
The two quarterbacks are scheduled to play one half each in the Seahawks’ preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans at CenturyLink Field on Saturday night – Flynn, who was signed in free agency, starting and playing the first half; Wilson, the rookie who was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft, taking over in the second half.
It’s just that they’re going about it differently. Wilson, who uses mega-doses of visualization as part of his prep work, spent Friday night at the team hotel doing just that. Flynn also will run through plays and formations in his mind’s eye, but with him it will take place during the long lead up to the 7 p.m. kickoff on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a long day (Saturday), so I might spend the night before trying to relax and get my mind off of things,” said Flynn, who also got the starter reps in the team’s training camp practice this week. “That’s kind of an underrated part of the game. You spend all week preparing, so if you get to Friday night and you’re not comfortable with it by then, that means you haven’t done your job preparing.
“So if we have a night game coming up, I usually try to get my mind off things and take a mental vacation a little bit the night before.”
Come Saturday morning, that’s when Flynn gets down to the business at hand.
“You look through your game plan. You kind of go through how each play is going to work against their defensive looks,” he said. “That’s when I’ll visualize plays in my head.
“Mentally, you just get ready and get excited to play.”
Wilson, meanwhile, was locked into the pre-game routine on Friday night he used at North Carolina State and then the University of Wisconsin.
“I’m a huge visual person,” he said. “I have to visualize myself being in a situation. … The night before the game, I go through the play script, I go through all the plays, I draw them, I visualize different coverages.
“Whatever the situation is, I go through those coverages – try to have an escape route, try to have protection plans, knowing where I’m going to go with the football. That way I just refresh my memory. The next morning, I do the exact same thing.
“By the time I get to the field, it’s game time. I’ve been prepared, because I’ve put myself in that situation so many times throughout the week. That gives me the confidence.”
The performances of these two QBs against the Titans – who are quarterbacked by former Seahawk Matt Hasselbeck and ex-University of Washington standout Jake Locker – should go a long way in determining who starts the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Cardinals in Arizona. Also in the three-armed race is incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson, who is not scheduled to play against the Titans.
Flynn has been impressive since coach Pete Carroll announced on Tuesday that he would start the preseason opener. The backup to Aaron Rodgers with the Green Bay Packers the past four seasons, Flynn has zipped the ball when needed and displayed a nice touch when the situation called for that.
“The transition for Matt has gone beautifully,” Carroll said. “He’s has really assumed the role, which I asked him to do – just take over, you’re the guy. We’ve had a very good week of practice and he’s looked very strong. He’s very much in command.”
Wilson continues to play under control, and beyond his years. He will go to his check-down receiver, rather than trying to force a longer pass. He has a natural ability to move in the pocket, buying time for himself and his receivers – as well as finding passing lanes.
As Jackson has said on more than one occasion during this offseason that has suddenly reached the preseason, “Russell, he’s not like a regular rookie.”