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Originally published Monday, August 20, 2012 at 8:02 PM

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Will Seahawks give rookie Russell Wilson a chance to start this week? Only Pete Carroll knows

Around the NFL, teams are settling on their starting quarterbacks. In Seattle, Matt Flynn has appeared to be the favorite, but rookie Russell Wilson might start this week's exhibition game at Kansas City. And last year's starter, Tarvaris Jackson, can't be ruled out.

Seattle Times NFL reporter

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Quarterbacks are usually the ones who call an audible.

This time it might be the coach.

Three days away from what amounts to an NFL dress rehearsal, coach Pete Carroll just might be preparing to start rookie Russell Wilson in the team's third exhibition game.

Carroll has been very tight-lipped about the process, declining to say after Saturday's exhibition game in Denver and again on his weekly radio appearance on ESPN 710 Seattle if Wilson will start this week.

But that might change Tuesday, as there were multiple indications that Wilson will start at Kansas City on Friday, which would be considered a sharp change of direction given that Matt Flynn started the first two exhibition games.

Flynn has yet to lead the first-unit offense to a touchdown in those games, but he has also been playing without receivers Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin. Wilson has thrown three touchdowns and rushed for another, but he's done it in the second half against opponents' substitutes.

The significance of starting Wilson this week is amplified by the fact that this is the time of year that teams with quarterback questions generally declare their starter.

It was true in Tennessee, where Jake Locker was named the Titans' starting quarterback ahead of Matt Hasselbeck, one Washington export supplanting another. It was true in Miami, too, where the Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill joined Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III as soon-to-be rookie starters on opening day.

Meanwhile, we're all waiting to see just what Carroll is going to do. Tick, tock, coach. Tick, tock.

So far, Carroll's poker face has remained firm. He's gone so far as to say incumbent Tarvaris Jackson is still a part of the conversation, even though he has not played in either exhibition game and has been mentioned as a potential trade candidate.

And as effusive as Carroll has been about Wilson, and as well as Wilson played in the second half of his first exhibition game, Carroll was pretty straightforward last week in explaining why he chose to start Flynn ahead of Wilson in Denver on Saturday.

"This is where they sit right now," Carroll said.

How about now?

Wilson guided Seattle to three touchdowns in the second half Saturday while under constant pressure. Is that enough for Carroll to change direction for the third — and most important — exhibition game?

This is the game in which the starters usually play into the second half, and in Seattle it might be even more important with Rice and Baldwin possibly playing.

So is Carroll really going to turn this game into an audition for Wilson?

It wouldn't seem likely, but then again, nothing has been predictable about this process. Not when Carroll proclaimed that Wilson, a third-round draft pick, would get a chance to compete for the starting job after his first rookie minicamp. Not when the Seahawks spent the first eight days of training camp alternating their first-unit quarterback each day, and certainly not when Jackson spent a day with the first-unit offense each of the previous two weeks as all other signs showed Seattle preparing to move on.

So what happens next? Carroll is the only one who can say. After starting Flynn the past two weeks, is the coach going to call an audible?

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @dannyoneil.

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About Danny O'Neil

Danny O'Neil will comment on issues, events and personalities in the NFL. His column will appear on Sundays during the regular season. He also posts most days on the Seahawks Blog.
doneil@seattletimes.com | 206-464-2364

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