Will the quarterback getting the most snaps under center this year be Charlie Whitehurst?
I say that not necessarily because of his eye-opening performance in the first preseason game last Saturday (14/22, 214 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 107.0 rating), but yes necessarily because of Matt Hasselbeck’s equal-yet-opposite eye-opening performance (4/10, 26 yards, 47.9 rating).
Now, just to make myself perfectly clear, this isn’t going to be one of those opinion pieces demanding Matt’s head on a platter; I’m not going to annoint Charlie Whitehurst after one preseason game. Hell, you could copy and paste those numbers for the next three games and I’d still be reluctant to make any switch at quarterback. If the Seahawks do anything positive this year FOR this year (as opposed to doing something positive for 2011 by seeing improvement in young players), it’s going to be with Hasselbeck at the helm.
That having been said, I’m not the head coach, GM, or president of operations. Pete Carroll might end up seeing things differently. After all, he’s not putting his Seahawks legacy on the line for an inherited quarterback. It’s on the line for Charlie. How he does will ultimately seal Carroll’s fate as the Seahawks (and ultimately as an NFL) head coach. If the Seahawks come out of the gate struggling – and ESPECIALLY if Hasselbeck comes out of the gate struggling – will he be quick with a trigger finger in making the switch?
My guess is: absolutely! Any head coach is going to be tied to the quarterback (and yes, other talent too) that’s brought in early in his career. Dennis Erickson ultimately had the misfortune of being tied to Jon Kitna. Then, Mike Holmgren came in, gave Kitna one season, and brought in HIS guy. Jim Mora Jr. ultimately wasn’t allowed to bring in a quarterback, but that’s neither here nor there. Carroll did. I could see him giving Hasselbeck the full year that Kitna was given in 1999 … but I wouldn’t bank on it.
Because in my opinion, Whitehurst today is further along in his development than Hasselbeck was in 2000. Remember, Hasselbeck still had Trent Dilfer stealing precious minutes early on. Once Matt is removed, I don’t see a switch-back in his future.
Whitehurst COULD start at Game 1. Would he struggle? Of course. Would the fans like it? No fucking way! Would it make sense for the future of the team? That’s debatable. If you believe in Pete Carroll, you have to believe in Charlie Whitehurst, otherwise this thing isn’t going to work. I could see Whitehurst getting a bunch of playing time this year and, by year’s end, looking more poised and ready for primetime than any of us could’ve imagined (certainly more than the San Diego Chargers would’ve imagined). I could also see him being a big bust while Hasselbeck goes on to Cleveland and has 3 or 4 more productive seasons.
Either way, there’s a new Mr. August in town. His name is Charlie. He looks like Jesus. And he could be the savior we’ve been looking for to bring us back to the promised land in the near future (near future being a few years away still).
I’d also like to add that Tony Romo is a big guy with a live arm who won himself a starting job after some successful preseason outings. You can hate him or loathe him, but he’s playing for a football team many project will be in the Super Bowl this year. Which will be in no small part due to Tony Romo’s success. Is Whitehurst the next Romo? Seahawks fans can only hope.