I understand the reasoning behind the decision to keep Matt Hasselbeck as starting quarterback over Charlie Whitehurst. I just don’t agree with it.
The offensive line had trouble with Whitehurst’s signal calling, especially rookie left tackle Russell Okung. Okung committed a false start penalty on one play and was blown up by Atlanta defensive end John Abraham on another. It seemed as if Okung didn’t react to the snap count, then was overwhelmed by Abraham, leading to a sack. I believe the coaching staff feels this is a problem not easily fixed.
The argument can be made that since making the playoffs is a possibility, a change shouldn’t be made. Under normal circumstances, I would agree with that sentiment. However, these are anything but normal circumstances.
Hasselbeck’s abysmal play is the main reason I want to see him replaced. He is well aware that the Seahawks have little margin for error, yet he continues to force throws into coverage regardless of down, distance or field position. Hasselbeck is clearly uncomfortable, which is the last thing he should be during Week 16.
Hasselbeck’s contract situation is also a factor. He is a free agent after this season. It is apparent that the Seahawks will be forced to select a quarterback early in the next draft, either in the first or second round. It is extremely unlikely that the team will keep both Hasselbeck and Whitehurst next season along with whomever the Seahawks draft.
Whitehurst is under contract, younger, taller and has a much stronger arm. Also, the team paid a steep price to acquire him. To give up on him after only one season makes little sense. Seeing what Whitehurst can do now, in a pressure situation, would be the best thing for the team in the long run. Given Hasselbeck’s recent proclivity for turnovers, it’s also the best thing in the short term.
Pete Carroll and Jeremy Bates seem to lack confidence in Whitehurst’s ability to lead the team. I fail to see why they have any faith in Hasselbeck anymore. Perhaps they believe that Hasselbeck will perform better away from Qwest Field and the fan base that has clearly turned against him. I hope so.