For one thing, the Seattle Seahawks wanted Whitehurst badly enough that they pulled him away from San Diego — where he had been a third stringer — for a swap of second-round picks this year and a third-round choice in 2011. Secondly, Matt Hasselbeck is older, has had problems staying healthy, and is someone who Carroll and his coaching staff have inherited; Whitehurst is someone they picked.
“We’re counting on Matt to take the leadership spot in this position, for sure,” Carroll said. “Ideally, I would like to see Charlie compete and push him and make statements that he has a chance to excite us about the fact that he can get in and play when we need him, and then just see what happens in the competition. Competition’s been the central theme in our programs forever. We’re going to see how far it goes and see what happens, but Matt’s our guy. Everybody in our program is (clear about that). But our coaches are excited about developing Charlie.”
The question is, what do Carroll and the rest of the coaches see in Whitehurst that seems so exciting? The guy has been in the NFL for four years, yet has not thrown a single pass in the regular season.
Carroll insists that a thorough assessment could be made from watching him play in the preseason.
“He’s thrown a lot of balls in preseason games, so we were able to break it down so we could see the different kinds of throws, see his consistency, see kind of his way of playing the game,” Carroll said. “We saw him run with the football, we saw him move a little bit with the ball to make some throws, a lot of downfield stuff that (Chargers coach) Norv (Turner) features, and saw the athleticism, too, that we really are excited about.
“He’s a really quick athlete. For being 6-5, he moves beautifully. You put all that together — natural release, strong arm, capable of making all the throws — we thought this is a guy, with four years under his belt of being around the league with good coaching and good people around him, it would give us a really good shot at a guy that might be able to be a guy that we can look towards the future and be a guy that can be developed into our top quarterback.”