Ex-Seattle Seahawks quarterback Trent Dilfer, now an NFL analyst on ESPN, believes his former team has a shot on the road against the Bears, particularly with the way good friend Matt Hasselbeck is playing right now.
And on the heels of Seattle head coach Pete Carroll stating he would like the veteran quarterback to return for the 2011 season, Dilfer believes that is the right move.
“I think they’d be crazy not to re-sign him,” Dilfer said. “I know Matthew will be coveted if they don’t. I’m obviously biased; he’s one of my closest friends. And I have intimate knowledge of how he plays and prepares. I was there for four years with him as he was learning to become this type of player.
“I know this about Matthew and you saw this with the Saints game – If a defense fits his eye right and you do what he thinks you’re going to do – he’s very good in his preparation and he’s very smart in his preparation – he knows what to look for as he’s getting ready for a game. So if you do what he thinks you’re going to do, and he has any time in the pocket whatsoever, he’s going to slice and dice you. That’s well known throughout the league.
“I was shocked that the Saints didn’t change things up on him more. They know that about him. And I’m just moving forward to this Bears’ game – same thing. And I went back and watched the Week 6 matchup – and I know very little carries over from earlier in the season, I get all of that – but he was so comfortable with what he was looking at in that game, too.
“He’s just one of those guys who if all the chess pieces are where he thinks they are going to be, he’s going to beat you because he’s very accurate. He’s very smart. He plays with great rhythm. And he can manipulate you. He can manipulate you with his eyes, pump fakes, feet – he does a lot of things to toy with the defense, and that’s what you saw in New Orleans. And I think he’s going to play good in this Bears’ game unless they come out and do something unique defensively. (Chicago defensive coordinator) Rod Marinelli has to give him some change-ups, especially in the first quarter to occupy some space in his brain. If his brain isn’t cluttered, look for Matthew to deal in this game as well.”
Dilfer also talked about Seattle reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst’s potential, stating he showed promise in Seattle’s 16-6 win in the regular season finale against St. Louis.
“I thought he did a really good job,” Dilfer said. “I loved their game plan. I don’t want to use the word simple because people take that as a knock on the quarterback. But I thought it was calculated. The first drive they took some shots, they dialed up some nice plays and Charlie executed them very well, and he showed a great deal of poise.
“It’s very hard for a quarterback who hasn’t played a lot to play in a big game like that. And make no mistake about it, even though record-wise it wasn’t that great of a matchup, that St. Louis game was a huge game for the Seahawks, with a lot of pressure around it. I thought he handled the environment well. He was very smart with the football. I thought he did a good job of saying, ‘Hey I’m going to take easy completions, and if they’re not there, then I’ll extended the play with my legs and go scramble for a few yards and not take any risks.
“It’s kind of a boring way to play the game. It’s not a real glamorous way to play the game, but it’s a smart way to play quarterback if you don’t have a lot of experience playing with your team. So I thought he handled that situation well.
“My question on Charlie forever is when they traded for him, how high is his ceiling? But you don’t know how high his ceiling is because he really has never played that much football. So that’s my only concern there, and we’ll never know that until he has the opportunity to play his 20th to 25 start.