Hawks win! Now what?
Jan 2, 2011, 10:46 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:52 pm
By Mike Salk
(Sorry â€“ only a quick post tonight. I filled in for Chris Egan on the Fone Zone on NWCN and got home past my regular bedtime!)
Obviously, this was the biggest win of the year for the Seahawks â€“ probably the biggest win since 2007. By beating the Rams, they won the NFC West and sneak into the playoffs. By getting into the post-season, they accomplished their top objective for the year.
But nothing is ever quite as easy as it seems for this team. While 11 other teams enter the playoffs confident in their quarterback, the Seahawks don’t even know who is going to start at that position next week! Charlie Whitehurst got the nod over a reasonably healthy Matt Hasselbeck with the season on the line and played well enough to win, but with Hasselbeck’s hip continuing to heal, should he get the nod against the Saints on Saturday?
The answer is complicated, and only Pete Carroll will get to decide.
According to Carroll, Hasselbeck worked hard and was healthy enough to play against the Rams. He made it sound like he went with Whitehurst because they had built the gameplan around him this week and because he was worried Hasselbeck’s lack of mobility would limit their options. Those are perfectly valid reasons, but they don’t make it any easier to figure out who will play against the Saints. Presumably, the mobility factor will be marginalized as Hasselbeck’s health continues to improve. This week’s gameplan could be written around either guy.
So how does Carroll decide?
Does he want the veteran who has made countless mistakes this year, turned the ball over way too often, but looked excellent in his final drive against Tampa before pulling up lame? Does he choose the unproven, career backup who has just one win on his resume and was horrible in two of the three games in which he took the majority of the snaps? Of course, the last game featured that former backup playing nearly flawless football and winning under pressure. If Carroll starts Whitehurst, we can likely assume Hasselbeck has taken his final snap in a Seahawks uniform.
I thought Whitehurst played well enough on Sunday to get another start. He managed the game well, didn’t turn it over, checked down to open receivers, and scrambled for positive yards when that was the only option. He also made a couple of plays that went beyond just “game managing,” the biggest being the long strike to Ruvell Martin to set the tone.
On the other hand, Hasselbeck had arguably his best game of the season in New Orleans, throwing for 366 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
I think the answer comes down to this: what is your gameplan for beating the Saints? If you think you beat them by throwing it deep and trying to compete with their fast break offense, then Charlie might be your guy. If you think possessing the ball and trying to keep the Saints offense off the field is your best chance to win, then Hasselbeck might be a better option.
I’m glad I’m not the one who has to choose!