Charlie Whitehurst. Last year, the former backup quarterback for the San Diego Chargers was brought in to compete with Matt Hasselbeck for the starting job. This morning, with Hasselbeck set to join the Tennessee Titans in free agency, Whitehurst was the No. 1 QB as 69 players went through an extended walk-thru session at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
“It’s an opportunity, obviously,” Whitehurst said. “It’s one that I’m going to attack and give it everything I’ve got. I want to be the starting quarterback here.”
With former Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson reportedly agreeing to sign with the Seahawks in free agency, Whitehurst eventually will be challenged for the starting job by a passer who played the past five seasons for new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell in Minnesota.
“I know there’s going to be competition,” Whitehurst said. “But I’m confident I can make it happen and lead this team to a heckuva season.”
What a difference four days can make. Monday, the lockout was still on and Hasselbeck remained in the picture. Today, the only other quarterbacks on the field were a couple of rookie free agents – Josh Portis, who ran the No. 2 offense; and Zac Lee, who was in charge of the No. 3 unit.
“It’s amazing how fast it’s happened, for sure,” Whitehurst said. “I was expecting anything to happen at this position. Obviously Matt’s not here anymore. Now we’re out here on the practice field throwing the ball around.
“Didn’t really know what to expect, but was open for anything.”
Six of the team’s nine draft choices were signed in time to participate in the 105-minute session – wide receiver Kris Durham (fourth round), cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Mark LeGree (fifth round), cornerback Bryon Maxwell (sixth round) and linebacker Malcolm Smith and defensive lineman Pep Levingston (seventh round).
Sherman, LeGree, Levingston and Smith were working with the No. 2 defense, with Maxwell and Durham on the third units.
Offensive linemen James Carpenter and John Moffitt and linebacker K.J. Wright, the team’s top three picks, remain unsigned.
Offensive line. With Carpenter and Moffitt absent, the offense was without what is expected to be the starting right side of the line.
So the No. 1 line consisted of – from left tackle to right – Russell Okung, a first-round draft choice last year; Mike Gibson, who started eight games last season; Max Unger, a second-round pick in 2009 who missed most of last season; Paul Fanaika, for Moffitt; and Breno Giacomini, for Carpenter.
On the No. 2 unit: Will Robinson, Paul McQuistan, Lemuel Jeanpierre, Zach Hurd and Caz Piurowski.
PLAY OF THE DAY
Mike Williams, who led the team in receptions last season, going up and over cornerback Marcus Trufant and free safety Earl Thomas to grab a Whitehurst pass along the sideline.
ON THE MEND
Defensive tackle Colin Cole (ankle), cornerback Roy Lewis (knee), tight end Cameron Morrah (toe) and wide receiver Deon Butler (leg) did not participate while continuing their recovery from injuries sustained last season.
The players have another walk-thru this afternoon and will practice for the first time on Friday morning. The first practices open to fans are on Saturday, at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It feels great being back here with your teammates, your coaches. It’s kind of like we never left, even though we’ve been gone for a while. But this is what we’re all kind of born to do and it feels great to be back.” – Whitehurst.