Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told reporters this afternoon that quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will not start Sunday’s game against the N.Y. Giants because of lingering concussion symptoms.
“He needs another week to get right,” Carroll said about Hasselbeck. “He’s gone through all the battery of testing and we need to do this to protect him.”
So reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, acquired in a trade with San Diego during the offseason, will get his first start with the Seahawks. And Zac Robinson likely will be elevated from the practice squad to the active roster to serve as the backup quarterback on Sunday.
Whitehurst, a 28-year-old Clemson product, said he’s ready for the tough test against a tough Giants’ defense.
“There’s challenges every week, no matter who you play or who’s in there,” Whitehurst said. “We’re confident that we can go out with who we have and execute and win. So that’s what we’re going to do.”
Carroll said this opportunity is something he’s been talking about with Whitehurst since the team made the deal for him during the offseason.
“He’s ready,” Carroll said. “And I’ve talked to Charlie from the first day he got here about he’s coming here to play football, and nothing else. He’s not coming here to be a backup or anything else other than to make himself a spot. So he has done a fantastic job up until this point. He has done everything that we’ve asked of him. And we’re excited to see him play now, and we’re going to rally around him.”
I talked to some of the offensive players in the locker room, and they appear to be rallying around Whitehurst. Players also said the fact that Whitehurst has had the entire week to prepare for the game as the starter should help him on Sunday.
With the potential for some new starters along the offensive line on Sunday, Whitehurst said he’s not concerned about the pressure the Giants can bring with their formidable defensive front.
“Knowing ahead of time and getting a chance to practice on Wednesday and Thursday is important,” said receiver Ben Obomanu. “Instead of one of those things where he comes in, in the second quarter of a game, and then it’s kind of a little different.”
Carroll, ever the optimist, said there’s a still a chance Hasselbeck might not be ready for next week’s game at Arizona.
“He still has to get cleared for next week,” Carroll said. “At this point he’s not cleared. So we expect that to happen, but I’m kind of always on the optimistic side, so we’ll see what happens next week.”