RENTON — Tarvaris Jackson may indeed turn out to be Seattle’s backup quarterback in 2013.
But Jackson won’t just be handed the job, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said, even if he was Seattle’s starting quarterback in 2011.
Jackson was not signed in time for Seattle’s final minicamp practice Thursday, though the team made it official later in the day.
But after the workout — the last time the Seahawks will be on the field until training camp in late July — Carroll said Jackson will compete with Brady Quinn for the backup spot behind Russell Wilson, instead of immediately replacing Quinn in that role.
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“He will compete with Brady, and that will be a really good battle for us to see what happens at that spot,’’ Carroll said. “Russell is our quarterback, there is no question about that. But if Tarvaris comes back in, he understands the system, we are very familiar with him, he is comfortable with the settings and surroundings.’’
And the return of Jackson may help answer one of the bigger questions looming over a Seahawk season laden with unprecedented expectations — what happens if Wilson gets hurt?
Wilson was a revelation throughout his rookie season in 2012, when he beat out free-agent signee Matt Flynn for the starting job.
Flynn was later traded to Oakland, however, and the Seahawks then signed Quinn in April, apparently content to take their chances with a player who has a career record of 4-16 as a starter.
But then Jackson — who was traded by the Seahawks to Buffalo last August — was cut by the Bills earlier this week, having never really gotten a shot to become the starter there.
Carroll said it was a no-brainer to bring back Jackson — who was 7-7 in 14 starts for the Seahawks in 2011 — to compete with Quinn and add some security behind Wilson.
“I think it’s a great boost for us in a competitive sense,’’ Carroll said.
Carroll also said bringing back Jackson should not be seen as a reflection on Quinn. The coach said Quinn has been “next to perfect’’ in terms of fulfilling his responsibilities as a backup.
“Brady has done a fine job,’’ Carroll said. “But it just makes us that much stronger.’’
The Seahawks kept just two quarterbacks on the active roster last season, so the battle looms as one of the more interesting for Seattle during preseason.
“It will be hard, it will be tough,’’ Carroll said. “That’s what competition is all about.”
• Seattle survived the nine offseason training activity workouts and three minicamp practices of the last month suffering just one new, significant injury — the torn Achilles tendon that will cause backup tight end Anthony McCoy to miss the season.
Otherwise, the two main injury questions for Seattle entering summer break are defensive end Chris Clemons and guard James Carpenter, each continuing to rehab from knee surgeries. Clemons, who tore his ACL in the playoff win at Washington, could be ready for the start of the season, Carroll said, though the coach also said there is no assurance he will be ready. “Everybody would like to get him back the first day of camp, but that’s not important to me,’’ Carroll said. “We’ll get him back when he’s ready and he can endure all of that.’’
Carroll said of Carpenter that “we expect he will make it back’’ for the beginning of training camp.
• In one of the most positive developments of minicamp, defensive end Cliff Avril got on the field for about a dozen plays Thursday. Avril had been limited through OTAs and minicamp with a plantar-fascia injury.
“He looked really good, and that’s a good sign for him and all of us going into the break now that we know he’ll be back and ready to go,’’ Carroll said.
• Carroll said RB Robert Turbin had a sore foot that caused him to sit out the last two days, but it is not considered serious and he will be ready for training camp.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @bcondotta