One at a time, they stepped to the podium this week for post-practice Q&A sessions, where they said all the right things but also made it clear there will be no backing down before coach Pete Carroll and his offensive staff decide just which QB will lead the team in the 2012 season.
But no one has yet to take a discernible lead in this arms race.
“I can’t tell you that there’s anything that’s happened other than to say we’ll stay with the same format going into (training) camp,” Carroll said Thursday. “I don’t think that will change. T-Jack will go first and away we go. But other than that, let the games begin.
“We’ll be really excited to see what happens.”
What has happened to this point – since Wilson threw himself into the competition with an impressive effort at last month’s rookie minicamp – is that each QB has had his impressive moments, as well as some throws he’d rather have back.
So here we are, with incumbent starter Jackson, free-agent addition Flynn and third-round draft choice Wilson preparing – and prepared – to return for training camp in late July with everyone waiting for one of them to assert himself. And insert himself into the pivotal position.
“I’m really pleased with the way they’ve worked,” Carroll said. “They’ve busted their tails to get their stuff done. They’ve all been able to run the club. They’ve all been able to function in the huddle and make their adjustments and their calls and change plays if they have to.
“Those are really good signs.”
And the rotation system has allowed each QB to work not only with the No. 1 offense, but also the No. 2 and No. 3 units. So the coaches have seen all three work with this line, those receivers and that back.
“That’s the point, is to really make it as evenly competitive as they possibly can,” Carroll said. “We’ve done that to this point. We’re evaluating the quarterbacks. There’s no asterisk by it, that he’ll be working with the right guys or any of that. It’s all been evened out very well by the coaches.”
These three aren’t just sharing reps and a rotation, they also seem to be on the same page when it comes to assessing a situation that a lot of people are having a difficult time grasping – that Carroll will go not only into training camp but the preseason games before deciding which QB it will be.
Jackson on how he’s handling the competition: “I take it day by day, as far as coming out and trying to get better. But I also look at the big picture and I’ve been around long enough to know how things go. I’m just coming out, competing every day and just trying to do my best and the let the coaches make a decision on what they feel is best for the team.”
Flynn on how he’s handling the competition: “You can only control what you do. You’ve got to try to compete against yourself (and what you did) the day before. You’ve got to be better today than yesterday. So it’s one of those things where I can’t control what anybody else does or thinks. I can just control how I play and how I go about it.”
Wilson on how he’s handling the competition: “I watch my game every single day. Every day I’m trying to be the best person I can personally be and be a winning quarterback – whether that’s coming in the game, whether it’s starting. No matter what my role is, I want to help the team win. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win a lot of games here and I’m excited about everything that we have – great quarterbacks; great guys, too, first of all. So it’s going to be a good situation for us.”
Each comes from a different background, as far being in competitive situations.
Jackson was a second-round draft choice by the Minnesota Vikings in 2006 and started 12 games in 2007 – with an 8-4 record – and five in 2008. Then the Vikings acquired future Hall of Fame QB Brett Favre, so Jackson played in 11 games combined in 2009 and 2010 with one start. He signed with the Seahawks in free agency last year, and was installed as the starter immediately because of his familiarity with the offense being installed by coordinator Darrell Bevell – who also came over from the Vikings last year, when there was no offseason because of the 136-day lockout.
“It’s a different situation, but it helped me to kind of just let things play out how they play out,” Jackson said of his past and how it’s helping deal with his present, and future. “When it really comes down to it, those guys upstairs are going to make a decision and it’s kind of out of my hands. The only thing I can control is how I play and how I perform, so I’ve just got to do my best.”
Flynn was a seventh-round draft choice by the Green Bay Packers in 2008, and won the backup job to Aaron Rodgers. Flynn made only two starts with the Packers, but put up impressive numbers: 480 yards and six touchdowns in the 2011 regular-season finale; 245 yards and three TDs in 2010.
“I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve been in a lot of competitions through high school, college, even Green Bay my first year,” he said. “So I’ve been there and I know that the first thing you learn is you can’t control what they do.”
Wilson is only a rookie. But as Jackson put it, “He’s not like a regular rookie.” A three-year starter at North Carolina State, he transferred to Wisconsin last season. Wilson put up impressive numbers at both stops and, more importantly, helped his teams win.
But he must have been surprised when Carroll added him to the mix after his showing at the rookie minicamp, right?
“No, I wasn’t surprised at all,” he said – without a twinge of cockiness. “I’m the type of person that competes no matter what somebody says or doesn’t say. That’s just the way I am. That’s the way I’ve been raised and I think it’s one of the reasons why I’m here today.”
So here we are as the Seahawks take their extended break until training camp opens with the same three-QB competition that has been going on the past five weeks.
And here we’ll stay until one of them shows he is indeed the one.
As Carroll said, “Let the games begin.”