So, just who the heck is Charlie Whitehurst? Yeah, yeah he will be Seattle's starting quarterback Sunday, could be No. 6 on the Giants' quarterback knockout list and all that. But, really, who is this guy?
Let's start with the basics. Whitehurst is a five-year 'veteran' of the NFL. I put 'veteran' in quotes because, while this is his fifth season, Whitehurst has never played. He took a couple of snaps at the end of last week's 33-3 Seattle loss to Oakland, and his bio shows two pass attempts back with the San Diego Chargers in 2006. That's it.
We know this much, though, about the Clemson grad. After languishing for four years as the No. 3 quarterback with the San Diego Chargers, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks thought enough of him to engineer a deal with the Chargers in hopes he could be their quarterback of the future.
"Charlie has tremendous talent and upside and we are very excited to watch him develop and help our football team." Carroll said when the deal was made in March.
At the time of the trade, SB Nation's Seahawks website, Field Gulls, was not at all impressed by the move. Now that the Whitehurst Era, at least temporarily, has been thrust upon the Seahawks Field Gulls is singing a different tune.
Whitehurst offers a barometer for how bad Hasselbeck has become. Football stats can not isolate the performance of one player, and so though it seems improbable that Hasselbeck would struggle for season after season with different combinations of surrounding talent and not himself be responsible for those struggles, it is possible.
If that seems difficult to swallow, okay then. If Hasselbeck is the major reason the Seahawks offense has been so bad for so long, Whitehurst will not have to be great to be a significant improvement. By DYAR, Matt has been one of the worst quarterback in football in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
So, the first difference between Whitehurst and Hasselbeck is, unless Hasselbeck is truly unfortunate or Whitehurst is truly bad, Whitehurst should be a good bit better than Hasselbeck. Seattle's passing offense should improve, as should its run offense, and though neither may be great, they may be able to pick themselves off the cellar floor. It wouldn't take much.
So, Field Gulls wants to spin this as a good thing. Considering that Hasselbeck's quarterback ratings the past three seasons have been 57.8 (7 games), 75.1 an 70.7 maybe it is time to move on. But, what can Whitehurst be expected to do against the quarterback-eating Giants defense?
A little perspective from the Seattle Times:
Now Whitehurst gets his chance, something that a not-so-quiet minority have been calling for the past month or so.
Whitehurst throws a nice deep ball, something that has never been Hasselbeck's strength. His quickness in reading through the progressions and his touch in the short game are the two biggest questions he will face, and that's a question that doesn't get answered until a quarterback faces the defensive pressure that only a regular-season game can produce.
Seattle offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates is not planning to change what the Seahawks do.
"I don't think so. It's an opportunity for him," he said. "Same with Mike Gibson and other guys that are going to step up and play. It's the NFL season – guys get hurt and guys got to replace them and move on.
"I thought he had a successful preseason," said Bates. "He threw a couple picks that he wanted to take back, but he needs the experience. This is a good opportunity to really get in there and do what he can do on a regular season game when starters are in there on both sides."
He saw extensive action in the preseason, when he threw 90 passes compared to only 42 for Hasselbeck. He completed 46 for 635 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions.
One thing the 28-year-old Whitehurst might have going for him is the mixed success the Giants have had over the years facing unfamiliar quarterbacks. Ralph Vacchiano posted a list of such games and concluded that, to his recollection, the Giants have gone just 14-11 against 'backup' quarterbacks since 2002.
The only thing we can be sure of is that Whitehurst's presence adds some intrigue to Sunday's game. Let's just hope it turns out well for the Giants.