“I feel very comfortable with him with the offense,” Carroll said. “He seems to have a sense for it. He’s not lagging behind any of the learning at all. Charlie has a terrific arm and a nice release and all that kind of stuff. The physical stuff is there. Up to this point Charlie has done everything we’ve asked of him, and I think he’s confident in what we’re doing right now.
“But it’s going to come down to playing time and to see how he does, and how he handles game situations.”
Carroll went on to say that Whitehurst is going to get a lot of playing time during the upcoming preseason. Carroll again reiterated one of the reasons the team made the trade for Whitehurst with San Diego is the Seahawks see him as a future starter.
“We think he can become a starter and be a heck of a football player,” Carroll said. “We love the fact that he can move. He’s got good feet and mobility. So there’s nothing but upside at this point, but there are going to be challenges once he gets out there. But so far he’s done very well.”
That said, Carroll emphasized Matt Hasselbeck is still the starter.
“I’m real pleased with Matt being the quarterback right now and being in the lead position in it,” Carroll said. “I have been from the start and I’ve never wavered on that. However, we’re trying to make it as competitive as possible, and trying to push Matt to make him better and elevate Charlie’s game as well. And that’s the way we’re doing it.
“So it will always be a competition in my mind.”
Although San Diego’s offense led by head coach Norv Turner has traditionally been more about pushing the ball downfield, and the West Coast Offense is based on the short passing game, Whitehurst said both offenses have elements of the short and vertical passing game, and the transition to Jeremy Bates’ West Coast offensive system has not been as severe as expected.
“There’s not that much of a difference,” Whitehurst said. “You’re still trying to put points on the board.”
Whitehurst’s physical tools are obvious. He’s got an excellent arm and easily generates velocity on the ball. He has a quick release, and moves well inside the pocket. But there have been times when he appears to be thinking through his reads and does not process the offense as quickly as Hasselbeck.
That’s to be expected. Hasselbeck already knows some of the terminology from his years playing in Mike Holmgren’s version of the West Coast offense, and is ahead of the game in terms of knowing the protection calls, the blitz reads and just the overall philosophy of the offense.
However, Whitehurst said he’s feeling more comfortable with the offense with each rep he gets in practice.