Seattle Seahawks: Charlie Whitehurst, Vincent Jackson Won't Start vs. San Diego

Chris CluffCorrespondent IISeptember 23, 2010

As the Seahawks prepare to play the San Diego Chargers this weekend, some Seattle fans would like to see the Seahawks start a couple of guys who were Chargers last season.

But Charlie Whitehurst will not be replacing Matt Hasselbeck and Vincent Jackson will not be donning a Seahawk uniform to catch passes from either quarterback.

Jackson remains an unsigned Charger after he wasn’t traded by a soft deadline Wednesday. He still might be traded by the Oct. 19 deadline, but it apparently won’t be to Seattle.

According to John Clayton, the Seahawks were still pursuing Jackson until Jets receiver Braylon Edwards was arrested for DUI earlier this week. At that point, per Clayton, owner Paul Allen told his front office to forget Jackson.

Left unsaid is the reason, but one can surmise that Allen was suddenly reminded that two-time DUI offender Jackson would be a bad gamble – both from a PR standpoint and from an availability angle, if he were to get suspended again.

Not sure why it took Allen so long to figure that one out – unless it was because he has been out of the loop on this thing while fighting cancer. Even so, coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider should have considered those issues long ago.

Jackson’s agents reportedly had a couple of deals lined up – though apparently not with the Seahawks – but Chargers GM A.J. Smith unsurprisingly was asking for too much in draft-pick compensation.

Sound familiar?

Smith was just trying to fleece another team like he did the Seahawks when he sent Whitehurst to Seattle for a second-round swap this year and a third-round pick in 2011.

Some Hassel-haters are calling for Whitehurst to replace Hasselbeck after the veteran threw three interceptions in a 31-14 loss in Denver last Sunday. But Carroll confirmed our assertion that Hasselbeck will remain Seattle’s starter because he gives the Seahawks the best chance to win.

“Matt is our guy, and we know he gives us the best chance to win,” Carroll told reporters Monday. “He’s doing everything he can to prepare and is busting his tail. He’s doing a good job. We feel fortunate to have Charlie waiting in the wings, but it’s not his time yet.”

Remember: Seattle is 1-1, tied for the division lead, and Carroll wants to win it now – not next year or the year after. The season would need to get out of control, like it did last year, for Carroll to change his mind.

"When Charlie gets his chance to play, then we’ll see how far he takes it. But that's not even in our minds right now,” Carroll said. “We’re going with Matt, and he’s really the guy who is going to take us. We’re going to ride him and make sure we support him and make sure we do all the things around him so he can be successful.”

Although he won’t start, Whitehurst figures to be quite helpful this week as the Seahawks prepare to face Philip Rivers and the explosive Chargers’ offense.


It also occurs to us that the Seahawks might never have planned on Kevin Ellison making the team.

The coaches might have simply wanted the safety for his knowledge of the USC and San Diego defensive systems.

Ellison played for Carroll at USC, so he surely helped Seattle’s young defensive backs learn the scheme in training camp. And the coaches might also have found some time to pick his brain about the Chargers’ defense, for which he started nine games last season.

When the Hawks go to St. Louis next week, they reportedly will be heading to the current home city of their new CEO.

Peter McLoughlin, CEO of the St. Louis Blues, was expected to be named the new CEO of the Seahawks on Thursday.

McLoughlin, who has been the Blues’ CEO since 2006, is cut from the same cloth as current Seattle chief Tod Leiweke -- a marketing man coming from a hockey team. That should sit quite well with Carroll, who has to be happy that Leiweke is not being replaced by a football guy who might steal some of team president Carroll’s thunder.

While Leiweke has done a lot of good things for the Seahawks, one thing McLoughlin might want to work on is the Seahawks’ national image.


According to Nielsen’s Popularity Index, the Seahawks were the fourth least popular team based on last year’s TV ratings. Of course, that figures, considering they didn’t play a single prime-time game in 2009 (they aren’t scheduled for one this year either).

The Seahawks have never been one the league’s more popular teams, but that’s largely because they haven’t been one of its more successful ones. They’ve been downright average in just about every category over their 35-year history. Even after their Super Bowl appearance in the 2005 season, they ranked only 12th in a Harris poll of favorite NFL teams.

But the Seahawks are certainly popular enough where it counts – in Seattle. They have had a season-ticket-waiting list since their magical 13-3 run in 2005, and Paul Allen’s $194 million investment in them has been well worth it; the Seahawks are now worth about $1 billion (although average again at just 19th in the league).

If Carroll can turn the Hawks back into a winner, one of McLoughlin’s goals should be to create a higher national profile for the franchise.

Of course, if Carroll doesn’t turn the Seahawks back into a winner, McLoughlin will be looking for his replacement.

Speaking of replacements, it’s time to cut ties once and for all with Leroy Hill. The linebacker has become the same kind of deadweight that Deion Branch has been the past three years. Of course, Hill brings the added annoyance of off-field issues.


Now, a week after returning from a one-game NFL suspension, he’s out indefinitely with an Achilles injury. It’s the third straight year he will have missed significant time with an injury, and it’s time to move on.

The Hawks should put Hill on injured reserve and re-sign Tyjuan Hagler, who played very well in the preseason despite being with the team for less than a month.

Another guy the Seahawks should try to get rid of is Julius Jones. The running back is averaging 2.5 yards on 12 rushes through the first two games, and the Hawks obviously do not need him.

Perhaps the Packers, Saints or Redskins might be willing to give up a late-round pick for him. The Packers lost Ryan Grant for the season in the opener, the Saints lost Reggie Bush for up to six weeks on Monday, and the Redskins just cut Larry Johnson (although that was reportedly so they could add a special-teams player).

The Hawks do not need Jones, so it would behoove them to try to dump him for whatever they could get. But, assuming they aren’t planning to get rid of him, they should just deactivate him. There’s no reason to keep five running backs active every week, especially when Jones is the only one who doesn’t play special teams.

Jones, Hill and Branch seemingly have no future in Seattle beyond this season, which is what makes it even more mindboggling that the Seahawks cut T.J. Houshmandzadeh. He must have really annoyed Carroll for the coach/president to be willing to pay him $6.15 million to play in Baltimore.


One guy who has a future – as we have said since last year -- is Deon Butler, and Carroll and Jeremy Bates finally have come to see the light.

Carroll told The Seattle Times that the second-year receiver will factor heavily in the passing game going forward.

Because Greg Knapp’s offense was such a SNAFU and he refused to use Butler much last season, Carroll and Bates did not know what they had in the speedy young receiver until preseason games started this year. Well, now they know what we’ve been saying since we first saw the guy play last preseason.

“He has really been a playmaker,” Carroll said of Butler, who caught five passes last Sunday in Denver. “He has made tough catches, really, all through preseason as well, so we just have to realize that he is a big factor that we need to keep working in the system and get the ball going in his direction.

"We're going to continue to utilize him and love the fact that he's so fast. He can really take the top off a defense.”

Russell Okung, meanwhile, can take the top off a defensive lineman, and he’s getting closer to doing it.

Okung is expected to get back to practice next week, although it’s doubtful he would play. He figures to have an extra week to get up to speed during the Week 5 bye and then make his NFL debut at Chicago in Week 6.

By then, Chester Pitts should be starting at left guard. Pitts has been practicing for two weeks but has not been active yet, and Carroll reportedly wants Pitts in the lineup soon.

Barring more calamity, the Week 6 line should finally include the best five: Okung, Pitts, Chris Spencer, Stacy Andrews and Sean Locklear.  


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