Whitehurst demonstrates why he’s the sub
All those Seahawks fans fomenting a quarterback controversy in recent weeks likely spent much of Sunday afternoon united in a common sentiment: Get well soon, Tarvaris.
Starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson sat out Sunday’s game at Cleveland, resting a strained pectoral muscle and watching his job security solidify merely by not being a part of an embarrassing offensive performance that led to a 6-3 Seattle defeat.
In Jackson’s place, Charlie Whitehurst offered convincing evidence that he is destined to be exactly what he has been
an NFL backup.
Before his injury, Jackson had been trending upward, although spotty play in the first 41/2 games caused some to call for Whitehurst to get a shot at the position.
We may assume those sentiments cooled somewhat Sunday.
“Charlie had a hard time,” coach Pete Carroll said at his Monday press conference. “It wasn’t as clean as we’d like. They covered us well; they gave us tight coverage. He had to throw some balls in some tight spots and we weren’t hitting it right.”
Whitehurst completed 12 of 30 pass attempts for 97 yards for an average of 3.2 yards per attempt, which was notably less than the Sea-hawks’ rushing average of 3.8 yards per attempt in this game.
Carroll rightly observed that “it all works together
it’s not just the quarterback.”
True enough. Injuries kept running back Marshawn Lynch, tight end Zach Miller and center Max Unger from playing. Add those guys to the offense and the Seahawks might have been able to crack double figures in scoring.
But their absence did not alter the validity of critical assessments of Whitehurst’s efforts on plays when he did have time to throw, and when receivers did manage to shake free.
One time he lofted a wobbler into triple coverage, another to Ben Obomanu might have been a score except for being sorely underthrown. And he floated another potential scoring pass to Sidney Rice so close to the sideline that it sucked him out of bounds.
Carroll said that White-hurst himself was surprised by the problems. No wonder, he had performed well enough two weeks earlier after Jackson went down that he helped the Seahawks secure an upset road win at the New York Giants.
With the bye week intervening, Whitehurst had two weeks to prepare for the Cleveland game. But it went off the rails from the start.
“He had such a good (practice) week, we thought he was going to go out there and it was going to be pretty clean,” Carroll said. “But (the opponent) has something to say about that, and they jumped on us pretty good.”
Carroll said he thought it was “the toughest time Charlie has had in the games he’s played in,” but reminded the media that it was only Whitehurst’s third NFL start. Very few quarterbacks can avoid tossing in stinkers now and then, especially those with limited experience.
Whitehurst might have a rookie’s experience on the field, but he’s 29 years old and this is his sixth season in the NFL.
“He played well before,” Carroll said. “He had done really well in the preseason, and all the games he had been in, he had done quite well. He’ll grow from it; he’ll be a lot better because of it.”
The Jackson/Whitehurst debate didn’t generate great heat because it’s unlikely either is expected to come in and be the definitive long-term answer as a franchise quarterback.
And Whitehurst was hardly the lone issue for the Sea-hawks, who fell to 2-4 on Sunday.
Tight end Anthony McCoy: Stop dropping easy passes. Concentrate.
Obomanu: You’re too good to drop the passes you have lately.
Tackle James Carpenter: Two false starts, a holding penalty and a couple blown protections? That was a painful regression. You can’t afford to play like a rookie anymore.
Offense: Give your defense a break
those guys were on the field for 43 minutes and gave up just six points. Do your part.
The status report on Jackson was vague. Carroll said that he improved considerably last week, and he will be evaluated on a daily basis as they head toward Sunday’s home game against Cincinnati.
So feel free to send thoughts and well-wishes for his speedy recovery.
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440