RENTON — Despite the continued struggles of the Seattle Seahawks offense and the worst passing production in the NFL, Pete Carroll is not ready to make a switch from rookie Russell Wilson at quarterback.
Carroll said Monday that Wilson remains the Seahawks’ best option despite throwing three interceptions in Sunday’s 19-13 loss in St. Louis. Seattle’s passing offense is last in the league with just 523 net yards in four games. Wilson is completing 60 percent of his passes, but the big chunks of yardage are largely missing.
“We’re going with Russell right now,” Carroll said. “He’s working his tail off to get it right, and where all of the focus that goes to the quarterback position, there’s a lot of guys that figure into what’s going on, and he’s one of them. So we’re just trying to get better.”
Potentially this would be a chance for Seattle (2-2) to consider giving backup Matt Flynn an opportunity after both of Seattle’s losses have been somewhat due to problems with the passing game. In the opener at Arizona, the Seahawks offensive line failed to protect Wilson adequately, while his three interceptions in Sunday’s loss to the Rams were his first since the season opener.
But any decision to give Flynn a chance is also complicated because the Seahawks are unsure whether a sore elbow that limited Flynn at the end of the preseason would be fully able to handle the starter’s workload.
Carroll said on his weekly radio show on 710 KIRO-AM, that Flynn is not fully healthy, even though he has not been listed on any injury reports since the first week of the regular season.
Later in the afternoon, Carroll tried to clarify his comments, saying that Flynn is healthy enough to enter a game if needed, but unsure if his elbow could handle the full strain of all the throws a starter must make during the week of game preparations.
“Matt’s ready to play. We just don’t know what’s going to happen when he gets a lot of work. He might be all right, we don’t know that, but we have not taken him there yet,” Carroll said. “But no, he’s ready to play in every game and he’s ready to go in the very next play if we need him.”
Flynn signed a three-year deal with the Seahawks in the offseason, but lost out on the starting job to Wilson during training camp. His most extensive work since the end of the preseason came two weeks ago when he mimicked former Green Bay teammate Aaron Rodgers during practice in preparation for the Seahawks’ game against the Packers.
Otherwise, Flynn’s been limited in his throws.
Wilson was 17 of 25 for 160 yards against the Rams with three costly interceptions that weren’t entirely his fault. One pick deflected off the hands of Doug Baldwin, and Wilson was hit as he threw on another.
The final interception came as Seattle was trying to put together a winning drive in the final minute. Taking the snap at the St. Louis 35 with 1:08 remaining, Wilson had both Baldwin and tight end Anthony McCoy open. He opted for the longer throw toward the sideline, only to see McCoy tumble to the turf as he came out of his break.
The throw fell into the arms of waiting defensive back Bradley Fletcher, and the Seahawks fell to 0-2 on the road this season.
“I think we did all we could. We still need work. Not only Russell, but everybody. Our whole offense. Right now it’s not looking too good,” Seattle receiver Sidney Rice said after Sunday’s game. “We’re way better than what we’re showing on the field. The way we practice every week, we’ve got to make that stuff carry over to the field. It’s getting kid of depressing now.”
Third down was one of the glaring areas where the passing game struggles were noticeable. Wilson missed all three pass attempts on third down and was sacked two other times. Seattle’s only two third-down conversions in the loss came when Wilson ran for 2 yards and Lynch rumbled for 8, both in third-and-1 situations.
But the third-down problems weren’t limited to the offense. Defensively, the Seahawks gave up five third-down conversions to the Rams, but all five were of at least 10 yards or more. All five of the third-and-long conversions came on St. Louis drives that eventually led to points.
Notes: Carroll said they do not expect G John Moffitt (knee) to be ready for Sunday’s game at Carolina. … The Seahawks released OL Allen Barbre on Monday. Barbre spent the first four week of the season on the suspended list.