Seattle Seahawks Need To See What Charlie Whitehurst Can Do

Chris CluffCorrespondent IIDecember 20, 2010

SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 07:  Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst #6 of the Seattle Seahawks gestures at the line of scrimmage against the New York Giants at Qwest Field on November 7, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Giants defeated the Seahawks 41-7. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Yep, it’s time to make Charlie Whitehurst the Seattle Seahawks starting quarterbackfor the rest of the season.

While it doesn’t look like Pete Carroll is going to do it, he has a lot of valid reasons to make this move now.

Matt Hasselbeck has shown what he can—and can’t—do with this motley collection of offensive players as he tries to make up for a horrendous defense that just can’t stop anyone.

In the last four games, Hasselbeck has turned the ball over 12 times. While not all of the turnovers have been his fault, many of them have been. He turned the ball over on three straight possessions against Atlanta, including an unforgivable fumble in the end zone that was recovered by the Falcons. Those turnovers resulted in 17 points and turned a close 17-10 game into a 34-10 blowout.

He is trying to do too much for a unit that has had no consistency and also has to carry the burden of the league’s 29th ranked defense.

The offense has started 10 line combinations, shuffled receivers in and out of the lineup, has not developed a running game, and still has a very inexperienced coordinator who tends to call the wrong plays in the wrong situations with the wrong personnel.

Hasselbeck’s two interceptions against the Falcons were both forced throws to covered receivers, and so were three of his picks last week in the 40-21 loss in San Francisco. He also turned the ball over three times against Kansas City.

If Hasselbeck had beaten the Chiefs, 49ers or Falcons, the Hawks would now have a one-game lead over the St. Louis Rams in the NFC Worst, and it might be worth keeping him in as the starter. As it is, they have been blown out in all of those games, and they are still tied with the Rams entering the final two weeks.

Yeah, the Hawks can still win the division, and everyone knows Pete Carroll has stayed with Hasselbeck because he is the veteran who supposedly gives the Hawks the best chance to win. Well, it has become obvious that Hasselbeck can’t save the Seahawks because they just aren’t very good. 

Even if the Hawks win the division, they will be blown out in the first round—most likely by the Saints again. Carroll should not even be considering the playoffs when making his quarterback decision.

This season isn’t about the playoffs. It’s about Carroll and his coaches adapting to the NFL and seeing which of the players playing in Seattle this year should be playing in Seattle next year.

Whitehurst is one of the few who definitely will be there, and the Hawks need to find out whether he is capable of becoming the long-term replacement for Hasselbeck.

Carroll has actually made a mistake in not playing Whitehurst in the Seahawks’ blowout losses this year. He finally did it against the Falcons.

In his limited playing time this season—his start against the Giants, mop-up duty in the blowout win in Arizona and the fourth-quarter stint against Atlanta—Whitehurst has completed 23 of 45 passes for 249 yards, with one touchdown pass, one TD run and three interceptions. His passer rating is 49.2, which is far worse than Hasselbeck’s 73.1.

But in his one quarter of action against the Falcons, Whitehurst moved the ball better than Hasselbeck and didn’t turn it over. Now it’s time to see what Whitehurst can do with prep time in the final two games.

It doesn’t mean Hasselbeck is done as the starter. In fact, odds are very good that Carroll will want to re-sign Hasselbeck after this season. And he should.

In the meantime, he should see what Whitehurst can do.