RENTON - Maybe coach Pete Carroll will lean on go-to receiver Mike Williams for guidance as he deliberates for the second straight week who will start at quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck or Charlie Whitehurst.
“Well, as long as I start,” joked Williams. “No, seriously that’s not my call. Obviously, Matt’s who he is and he’s our guy, but Charlie came in and did what he was supposed to do.”
Looks like Williams has been taking lessons from his coach. Carroll again was noncommittal on the starting quarterback situation on Monday, stating that both would take snaps with the first unit in practice beginning today in preparation for Saturday’s playoff game.
“I hope you just understand that there’s no reason to call this like you want me to right now,” Carroll said. “And so we’re not going to until we get all of the information and we can make the best choice we can make. Both guys are getting ready to start. Both guys are getting ready to play football.”
A lot will depend on the health of the players. Hasselbeck, who practiced only one day last week because of a strained hip, was declared healthy enough to play on Sunday against St. Louis. But Carroll held him out because he liked the mobility Whitehurst offered against the Rams’ strong pass rush.
And Whitehurst used his legs to scramble eight times for 30 yards, as the Seahawks did not give up a sack in the team’s 16-6 victory, sending them into the postseason.
However, according to Carroll, Whitehurst also got banged up on one of his scrambles when he failed to slide.
“Right now, our concerns are about health and making sure everything is OK,” Carroll said. “The way the game worked out, it really helped us. Charlie did a great job to survive that game and the rush was on him. He was running for his life sometimes, so it helps us that he was out there.
“It was a game that would have been better for Matt not to be there under these circumstances in his short attempt at trying to return. He would have gone if we needed him, but the way it worked out, it helped us get ready for this week.”
Carroll said Hasselbeck will be practicing at full speed today. The 35-year-old quarterback played well against playoff foe New Orleans in an earlier matchup down in the Big Easy, throwing for a season-high 366 yards and finishing with a 104.9 passer rating.
Hasselbeck is considered a good alternative because of his ability to quickly decipher New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ exotic blitz packages, getting his team in the right play and getting the ball out quickly.
“Matt felt OK about that,” Carroll said of how Hasselbeck played against the Saints. “He had played against him in years past, and the guys prepared him very well so that he could handle it. That’s part of it, and we have to take all that into account.”
The other thing Carroll has to consider is riding a hot hand such as Whitehurst, who did a nice job of not turning the ball over and managing Seattle’s offense against St. Louis.
“He did some very good things,” Carroll said of Whitehurst. “But he also left some opportunities that we need to move the football. He did what we needed to do to win, and that was extraordinarily good for us.”
Whitehurst said he’s on board, no matter which way Carroll goes.
“I love to play the game, but I’ll do whatever they tell me to do,” he said.