RENTON – With five days until his team travels to Cleveland for a game Sunday, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wasn’t ready to be definitive on who will start at quarterback when his team takes on the Browns.
First-string quarterback Tarvaris Jackson suffered a high-grade pectoral strain on the throwing side of his chest in the second half against the New York Giants on Oct. 9, and did not return.
Reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst took most of the practice repetitions with the first unit on Monday, while third-stringer Josh Portis got a few reps with the starters and handled all of the scout team duties.
Jackson watched from the sideline and lightly tossed the football around with some of his receivers. Although Carroll did not rule out Jackson for Sunday, he’s approaching this week as if Whitehurst will be the starter.
“He’s thrown the ball a little bit, and so we’ll just take it one day at a time and see how he tolerates,” Carroll said of Jackson. “He was running around here a little bit. He’s way ahead of any schedule that anybody would have thought of at this point, and we’ll see just where that takes us – we don’t know.”
That said, Carroll indicated that Whitehurst is preparing as if his first start of the season will be Sunday. The Clemson product played solidly in relief of Jackson in his first action of the season. He completed 11 of 19 passes for 149 yards, including the winning 27-yard score to rookie Doug Baldwin.
If Jackson can’t go, Carroll said he’s comfortable with Whitehurst at the controls, and that Seattle will continue to run the same plays offensively, including the no-huddle offense that was so effective against the Giants.
“We’re not changing anything at all,” Carroll said. “We’re just continuing to grow. Charlie has grown up with us in this scheme during this camp and everything that we’ve done in our tempo and all of that stuff, Charlie has been a part of that.
“So we basically stay with the things that we feel we can execute in the game, and we’re counting on Charlie to do that.”
Along with Carroll, teammates think Whitehurst can get the job done, noting his effort in the team’s 16-6 win over St. Louis in the final regular-season contest last season that got Seattle into the playoffs.
“You saw what he did last year in the Rams game,” running back Justin Forsett said. “He definitely has the talent to go out there and do the job. He’s definitely capable. We trust Charlie.”
Along with having faith in Whitehurst, Forsett said players think Portis could manage in a pinch if Seattle is forced to use its third quarterback.
“It’s good experience for him this week to prepare,” Forsett said about Portis. “He’s a big talent. He has a big arm, and he can run. The sky’s the limit for that young man.”
CARROLL TALKS CURRY TRADE
Talking to Seattle-area reporters for the first time since the Seahawks traded linebacker Aaron Curry to Oakland, Carroll said the reason was largely about freeing up playing time for rookie linebacker K.J. Wright, who replaced Curry in the starting lineup.
“K.J. Wright made the difference,” Carroll said. “… He just was way ahead of any curve that we would have projected for him at the (middle linebacker) spot, and then at the (strongside linebacker), so we just needed him on the field. He really won the job. That’s really the best way to explain it.”
Curry, drafted with the No. 4 overall by the Sea-hawks in 2009, was credited with three tackles in his first start for the Raiders on Sunday. Oakland took a 24-17 victory over visiting Cleveland.
Carroll said tight end Zach Miller (neck) should practice on Wednesday, when players return from their day off, along with offensive guard Robert Gallery (groin). Center Max Unger was out of a walking boot for his right foot and walking around, but did not practice on Monday. Carroll said Unger will be on the field with the team on Wednesday, but probably will not get any serious work in until Friday. … Players on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, including receiver Deon Butler, defensive back Roy Lewis and tight end Cameron Morrah, are not eligible to begin practice until Wednesday. But Carroll said all three could be available to add to the active roster by Sunday. Carroll mentioned that Lewis could be a candidate to play defensive back on the slot receiver in passing situations because it’s something he’s done well in the past, allowing Walter Thurmond to stay at corner. Lewis has been working out in pads the last couple of weeks in anticipation of getting back out on the field. … Carroll was asked to comment on the Jim Harbaugh-Jim Schwartz confrontation at midfield after San Francisco’s win at Detroit on Sunday. Carroll had a similar encounter in 2009 after his Trojans lost badly to Stanford, coached by Harbaugh. “It looked like a hearty greeting to me,” Carroll said. “That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks