When Pete Carroll was asked about Tarvaris Jackson’s role after practice Saturday morning, everyone was thinking that the Seahawks coach would say the just-acquired quarterback would compete with Charlie Whitehurst for the starting job.

Think again.

Carroll said Jackson will start the Aug. 11 preseason opener against the Chargers in San Diego, as well as the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco – despite the fact that Jackson only signed with the team on Friday and won’t be able to practice for the first time until Aug. 4.

“This entire program has always been about competition. That’s the central theme in this program,” Carroll said. “In this situation, I think to make it the most competitive for our team, Tarvaris needs to be our starter right now.

“He comes in as our starter. He’s going to own that position until Charlie and the next couple fellas that are playing at the spot (rookie free agents Josh Portis and Zac Lee) get a chance to catch up. Then the competition will begin from their end.”

The reasons for Carroll’s seemingly surprising decision are obvious.

Because of the 136-day lockout, the Seahawks had no minicamps and OTA sessions to learn the new offense being installed by coordinator Darrell Bevell. Jackson played in that system with the Minnesota Vikings the past five seasons – starting 20 games.

“Tarvaris brings so much continuity to us, I think it’s the best thing for our club,” Carroll said. “And I’m excited to tell you that. I think this guy is a heckuva prospect that’s already been embraced by our players and our coaches. What he brings us is something special. He’s a very talented kid.”

When asked about Jackson on Friday, the first thing general manager John Schneider mentioned was his arm strength.

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