Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll confirmed what he said earlier today on the radio – Matt Hasselbeck will start for Seattle at quarterback against Tampa Bay in a must-win situation on Sunday.
Carroll said he made the decision after talking with Hasselbeck today to judge where he’s at mentally after back-to-back poor performances.
“We’re going with Matt,” Carrroll said. “Matt’s been our quarterback. He’s the guy that’s given us a chance all throughout, and gives us our best chance to finish off right. And I’m excited in that sense that he’s going to pull this thing together with us.
“We have to play well around him. We have to take care of the quarterback in all ways protection-wise. We need to run the football. We need to play better on defense so it’s not all turning into the focus going to one guy and people can go ahead and try to point the finger. That’s not what’s going on around here. We’re tuned in that we need to play better football to give him a chance to play the way he’s capable.”
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Carroll went on to say that the Seahawks need to do a better job of getting ahead in games so Hasselbeck doesn’t feel the need to press and try to win the game on his own.
Bottom line: Carroll will have a quick hook on Sunday the first sign that Hasselbeck shows he his not sticking with the plan and throwing the ball all over the place.
And ultimately the Seahawks feel more comfortable with Hasselbeck because he has a better grasp of the offense and gives Seattle more options in terms of play calling and running the entire playbook.
But Carroll said he’s not afraid to put Charlie Whitehurst in the game if Hasselbeck struggles.
“He handled himself very well yesterday,” Carroll said about Whitehurst. “And did a nice job in handling the situation, and if we need him we’ll call on him. Maybe just in that sense I feel better about him under those circumstances.”
I asked about the play-calling situation with offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, and Carroll reiterated that he has the utmost confidence in him and that there’s no disconnect between Bates and Hasselbeck
“My say is I can do whatever I want, so I’m letting him (Bates) call the game – that’s my choice,” Carroll said about his involvement in Seattle’s offense. “ However, throughout the game there’s times during the game where I’ll interject and do some stuff, and there’s time during the week in specific situation I’ll interject to get things that I want.
“A question came earlier on the radio about are we being aggressive, do we want to be aggressive, do we not want to be aggressive? We always want to have aggressive options in our play calling. I’m totally support all of the calls and the structure for them, where you have an option for a guy to go deep, and if we can get him we want to throw the ball there, and if not we drop the ball down and go through your progression.
“You can plays without options in that manner. And there’s a variety of calls through the course of a football game and all of that. But we want to maintain the opportunity down filed, and if it’s there we want to take it. And if it isn’t we want to make good choices not to take it.”
Carroll said the team placed Roy Lewis on the season-ending injured reserve because his knee wasn’t right. Lewis will have surgery to fix the issue.
Carroll said Marcus Trufant has some lower back stiffness but feels better. Carroll said the injury is not related to the back issue that kept Trufant out for the first six weeks of the 2009 season
“We’ll probably make sure we’re easy on him Wednesday and see what happens on Thursday,” Carroll said.
Walter Thurmond is expected to return from his hamstring issue and be available if Trufant can’t make it back.
Linebacker Will Herring has a mild strain in his hamstring, and defensive tackle Junior Siavii still has a neck stinger that is giving him issues, and is uncertain for Sunday.