Charlie Whitehurst: Still Optimistic

A lot of people are skeptical of Charlie Whitehurst for the wrong reasons. Whitehurst has never thrown a pass in a regular season game; even some of the most devoted fans are oblivious to his game.

It is hard not to be intrigued by the allure of the unknown. But that same unfamiliarity has created skeptics, desperate to find reasons to criticize the acquisition.

Pessimists fail to trust the judgment of John Schneider and the front office, even after an amazing haul in the NFL draft. They’re quick to point out Whitehurst’s preseason statistics, hoping something will prove he is doomed to fail in Seattle.

In the preseason, Charlie Whitehurst’s statistics are barely impressive. He has thrown for just over 1,000 yards and 5 touchdowns, but he has also thrown 6 interceptions. His completion rate of about 53 percent is nothing to write home about; neither is his quarterback rating.

But since when do preseason statistics matter?

Remember, the Seahawks were undefeated last preseason yet finished the regular season at 5-11. And don’t forget about the Detroit Lions, who went undefeated in the preseason but failed to win one regular season game.

Justin Forsett rushed for only 132 yards and averaged just over 3 yards per carry last preseason. In the regular season, he totaled 619 yards on 114 carries, good for a 5.4 yard average. Despite average preseason production – and yes, he was still competing for a roster spot – Forsett was very good during the regular season. In fact, certain statistics show he was the most elusive back in the NFL.

Kyle Orton, Denver’s new – and somewhat unproven – quarterback last season, didn’t impress much in the preseason. While trying to fill the void left by Jay Cutler, Orton threw for 367 yards, 1 touchdown, and 4 interceptions in three preseason games. Despite a poor showing in the exhibition season, Orton finished the 2009 regular season with 3,802 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and an 86.8 quarterback rating.

Apples and oranges? Possibly. But success and failure cannot be determined by preseason statistics.

Charlie Whitehurst has far too many skeptics for someone who has never thrown an NFL pass. Hell, I’d be willing to bet that most fans didn’t know he existed prior to his arrival in Seattle. Still, everyone seems to have a strong opinion about how he’ll fare with the Seahawks.

It is time to trust the front office – until they prove they’re not capable, anyway. Charlie Whitehurst didn’t end up in Seattle by accident.

Pete Carroll and Jeremy Bates like Whitehurst’s mobility, arm strength, and downfield accuracy; he definitely possesses the physical tools of an NFL quarterback. Hopefully, his intangibles are up to par after carrying the clipboard in San Diego for a few years. Norv Turner is known for developing young talent at the quarterback position.

John Schneider went out and got the guy he wanted to become the future of the franchise. Schneider first saw Whitehurst make throws in nasty weather during one of Clemson’s pro days. Whitehurst was only a junior, making throws for a Clemson receiver who was working out for professional scouts. Whitehurst, however, left the lasting impression. After zipping the ball through the air despite inferior conditions, Schneider was sold.

Instead of being skeptical, everyone should take a wait-and-see approach with Charlie Whitehurst. The front office got the quarterback they wanted and we should trust their professional judgment until they show they’re unqualified.

The cost was high, but that will quickly be forgotten if Whitehurst develops into a good starter. That, and stealing Golden Tate late in the second round of the draft.

Shaun Dolence: [email protected]
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Tags: Charlie Whitehurst Clemson Golden Tate Jeremy Bates John Schneider Justin Forsett Kyle Orton National Football League Pete Carroll Preseason Seattle Seahawks

  • Jrock

    Shaun, we over paid for the man, and your comparisons of other players are not only bad, they are misleading or even untrue. Kyle orton had close to 900 pass attempts, 30td’s to 27 ints, with a winning record in Chicago. By no means is that “somewhat unproven” Also Forsett owned in his first preseason, I specifically remember learning who he was in the preseason, when in one game, he had something like 270 combined yards (can’t remember exact #s) It was one of the more dominant perfomnaces I’ve ever seen in preseason, and that’s prbably why he’s where he is today. Plus a guy like Forsett was actually good in college, Clippoard jesus was far from good. he had a decent junior year, followed by a complete regression his senior year, which is never a good sign in a qb. Norv Turner is known for making good qb’s, but he also obviosly didn’t like what he saw or he would have kept him. You can’t say “well Norv Turner has had success with qb’s so some qb that he’s more than willing to get rid of must be good”, cause that makes no sense. We overpaid for the guy 100%, and seeing how cheap Oakland got Jason cambell and Denver got Brady Quinn just reiterates the fact. I am not sure yet how well Carroll can evaluate professional talent. it’s 1 thing to take a flier on a guy (like JP Losman) and completely another to give up more than the original draft choice for an unproven 3rd stringer. I’m not saying there is no chance he succedes, just not very much. My money is on him equating to nothing more than a waste of draft picks

    • Andrew Auger


      Whitehurst actually had a marginal freshmen year, good sophomore year, dreadful junior year, and decent senior year, fyi.

    • Shaun Dolence

      I agree, my comparisons could have been better. Kyle Orton and Justin Forsett weren’t the best examples to use. But my intention was not to compare them with Charlie Whitehurst; with Forsett and Orton, I wanted to show that preseason statistics are irrelevant and should not be used to predict regular season performance.

      As for Orton, I understand he played quite a bit in Chicago, but his preseason performance(s) left some folks in Denver scratching their heads. In Denver, he had not proven he was the best option at the quarterback position in the preseason. Point taken, however; Orton had some prior success in the NFL and Whitehurst has never thrown a regular-season pass.

      I think my point about Norv Turner was slightly misinterpreted. I don’t think he “got rid of” Charlie Whitehurst — the compensation offered by Seattle was too good for San Diego to pass up. Whitehurst was expendable not because he wasn’t capable, but because the Chargers have one of the most talented starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Norv Turner is known for developing young quarterbacks, and my point was that holding a clipboard and learning in San Diego wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for Whitehurst.

      And I won’t say we mindlessly overpaid for Whitehurst. Sure, we gave up more than his original tender, but I don’t know for sure what his market value was. There were more teams than just Seattle interested in his services. It is possible that Seattle overpaid to ensure Whitehurst would be a Seahawk, but I personally don’t have enough information about what they were bidding against.

      Thanks for the comment. Opposing arguments tend to keep my homer optimism slightly grounded.

    • http://12thmanrising RW

      Pre season! Who was blocking.Who did he have to throw to.Did they run the right route’s.Did the coaches call certain plays just to get looks,and it did’nt matter what defense they were looking at.Let’s just wait and see.

    • http://0000 revdan


      we di pay heavly for charly w but lets give the gm the benifit of the dought ,and lets see what happens. they see something we dont.

  • brian meyer

    I hope tha Whitehurst can not only contribute, but can excel at his position. I think the price for him was too high, but I am just a fan who does not get to see what happens in practice. I am all for giving a guy a shot at being our QB if he is good right now. Seattle has had their pants pulled down in front of the NFL veiwing world since they played in the Super Bowl. We want and need a winner now. We need a winner who isn’t going to spend the season on the bench with a band-aid. I am behind the new coach, but I hope we don’t have to endure more long term humiliation.

  • Jrock

    fair enough andrew, but none the less, what do you think about Whitehurst?

  • Andrew Auger

    We share the same opinion, I think he has bust written all over him, and the fact he was marginal at best in a mediocre conference w/a good receiving unit/running backs and a mediocre offensive line (kind of like the decent WR’s and RB’s and below average line we have here), and hasn’t done anything against roster scraps in the pre season gives me absolutely no reason to think otherwise.

    Sure he has all the intangibles, size, speed, w/e, but he doesn’t have a regular season pass under his belt and wasn’t even the No. 2 on his old team.

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree with your previous comment, It was just late and I didn’t care to reply to the whole thing.

    If he turns out to be a perennial pro bowler, fine, I will be the first to admit how dead wrong I was, I don’t see it happening

    And yes, seeing Jason Campbell getting dealt for less and Donovan McNabb dealt for a comparable bounty was a head scratcher… Losing out on Marshall because of him still pisses me off.

    At least we got Golden Tate with our swapped second, that eased the pain..

    Honestly, I would trust Losman more under center then I would Whitehurst once Hasselbeck goes down with an injury