Did Charlie Whitehurst get a “RAW” deal?

It’s interesting that Pete Carroll will be at the University Book Store tonight at 7, signing paperback copies of his book, “Win Forever.”

I say it’s interesting because one of the concepts in “Win Forever” is “always compete.” Carroll is big on competition, wanting players to relentlessly battle for starting spots. If you’re a starter, you want to hold off the backup. If you’re the backup, you’re doing your damndest to unseat the starter. All of these individual battles improve the team.

It’s a terrific concept. What I get a kick out of is Carroll talking about this stuff like it’s unique to him when in fact, every coach at every level in every sport uses the same concept.

“Always compete” is so near and dear to Carroll that it came as a complete surprise when the Seahawks’ head coach announced two weeks ago that Tarvaris Jackson would be his starting quarterback.

Carroll made this decision before Jackson took his first snap at training camp, saying it’s because of Jackson’s familiarity with the offensive system. Darrell Bevell was the offensive coordinator at Minnesota, where Jackson played before, so it made some sense – not much, but some – that he’d better suited to run Seattle’s offense than Charlie Whitehurst.

Go 2 Guy reaction – Are you kidding me? Jackson never cut it in Minnesota. The Vikings thought so little of him that they released him last spring, making Jackson a free agent. They cut him before they signed Donovan McNabb. In other words, at the time of his release, they thought more of first-round draft choice Christian Ponder and Joe Webb.

And how are you feeling if you’re Charlie Whitehurst? After Matt Hasselbeck was allowed to drift off to Tennessee, Whitehurst spent two or three days thinking he’d be the new starting QB in Seattle until he suddenly wasn’t.

After the Jackson signing was announced, if I’m Whitehurst, I’m thinking: “Hey, wait a minute, I thought I was your guy!” But I’m still thinking I’m going to beat out Jackson because I’ve seen him play in Minnesota and surely I’m a better quarterback than he is.

But then Carroll announced that Jackson is his starter and presumably will change one of his mantras to “Sometimes Compete.”

I’d be livid if I’m Whitehurst. To his credit, he reacted with a bunch of politically correct crap, saying he was disappointed but understood the decision or something like that.

It must have done wonders for Whitehurst’s confidence. Last year Carroll said Whitehurst just needed more reps to become a starting quarterback in the NFL. Then when he’s on the verge of getting more reps, Jackson is signed.

Clearly the Seahawks don’t feel like Whitehurst is going to cut it long-term. They believe that if a QB on their roster is going to turn into an above-average player or maybe even a star, Jackson has a better chance of that happening than Whitehurst. If it doesn’t work out, they can find their next franchise QB in the draft.

Here’s what I’d like to see – a full-blown quarterback controversy. I want to see how Carroll reacts if Jackson struggles in the preseason and Whitehurst plays lights out. What will Carroll say then? Will he continue to stick with Jackson? Or if he goes with Whitehurst, what kind of mumbo-jumbo will he use as an explanation for changing QBs?

Truth of the matter, I’m pulling for Whitehurst. I think he deserves a chance and believe that he still has a shot to be the starter when the Seahawks open the regular season in San Francisco.