Whitehurst ready to start at QB for Seahawks
RENTON, Wash. (AP)
He went through it twice last season, when Whitehurst received the majority of the work in practice, but the decision still lingered about whether he would be the starter come Sunday.
Whitehurst ended up getting the nod both times last season when there were questions about the health of then-starter Matt Hasselbeck.
So the fact there's been no public declaration yet about who this week's starting QB is for the Seahawks against Cleveland isn't uncomfortable for Whitehurst. He's preparing as if Sunday will be the third start of his NFL career.
''We'll see what happens with who is under center,'' Whitehurst said. ''But I'm confident if my number is called I can perform.''
Seattle is still unsure whether starter Tarvaris Jackson will be able to make it back in time to play against the Browns after suffering a strained pectoral in Seattle's 36-25 win over the New York Giants two weeks ago. Jackson has been a limited participant in practice so far this week and coach Pete Carroll said Jackson is ahead of schedule in his rehab.
But Jackson hasn't been asked to test his injury, which is on his right, throwing side.
''We'll need to see him throw the football competitively where he can fire it around like he does. ... He can play catch right now. He's throwing the ball around,'' Carroll said. ''We just haven't had him throw the ball hard yet, so we're just going to wait as long as we can and see how he progresses. We're just going to feel it. We may go all the way to game time to understand whether he'll be available to us.''
Whitehurst entered in relief of Jackson against the Giants and helped Seattle to 13 offensive points in the fourth quarter to pick up the victory. He went 11 of 19 for 149 yards and a touchdown in about 1 1/2 quarters of action.
And now he's had the majority of two weeks to get ready for the Browns and pick up more of the no-huddle, up-tempo offense the Seahawks are trying to use.
''I don't think anyone questions whether he's ready to go or can get it done. I know he's played well on a big stage for us, he's played against good opponents and done well,'' Seattle receiver Mike Williams said. ''I think the locker room has a lot of confidence and we know the coaches have a lot of confidence.''
Seattle went with the no-huddle look starting at halftime of Week 4 against Atlanta. Over the next six quarters, the Seahawks scored 56 points after managing just 27 in the first 14 quarters of the regular season.
The quicker tempo fit Jackson. It simplified what he needed to do at the line of scrimmage and he was more decisive where his throws were going. Whitehurst said he's just as comfortable with the quicker approach.
''It's great. It puts pressure on the defense. We've seen that the past few weeks,'' Whitehurst said. ''I'm comfortable back there and know the calls and you're kind of in control back there and that's nice. You get the feel of the game and get to call some of your own plays and it puts your head in the game even more.''
Whitehurst started twice last year, including in Seattle's season-ending win over St. Louis that clinched the NFC West title with a 7-9 record. Only once - against the Rams last season - has Whitehurst ever thrown more than 20 passes in a game.
But since Jackson arrived in July and was handed the starting job, there's been an undercurrent from fans wondering if Whitehurst isn't the better option. He may get the chance Sunday to show if they're right.
''That's the way I'm approaching it,'' Whitehurst said. ''I'm ready to play and if it's not me on Sunday then I'll be ready to play the second snap.''
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