Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said the plan remains for Charlie Whitehurst to start on Sunday. He said that Matt Hasselbeck will not practice today and Thursday, but that he did get some pool work in today, and holds out hope that he can play on Sunday.
“He thinks he’s going to make it,” Carroll said about the possibility of Hasselbeck playing on Sunday. “It’s going to be against the odds if he can do that. But he’s willing to go for it, and we’ll see what that means later this week.”
Carroll said that Whitehurst does not have any limitations in terms of knowing the playbook, but the team will try and create a game plan that fits what he does well.
“He’s prepared as well as he could have to this point,” Carroll said about Whitehurst. “I think he was surprised coming into the game last week. It happened so fast that we didn’t respond the way we’d like to. I know that he’s anxious to get back out there and go. It took him awhile to get warmed up and get going last week, and it was too late for us.”
And Carroll said he still believes Whitehurst can evolve into a quality starting quarterback in this league, and that he has not played enough to really develop the raw ability that is there.
“He’s got a tremendous amount of improvement ahead of him,” Carroll said. “And so he has the ability. He can run around. He can throw it. He has a terrific arm. He understands the offense. I think it’s just a matter of time before he’s a really, really good starting quarterback in the NFL. So we’ll hopefully put together a plan that he can really excel at this weekend, and give us what we need to get done, and just keep moving forward.”
Carroll said rookie offensive tackle Russell Okung is still bothered by high-ankle sprains on both ankles, and that the injuries are something that will not fully heal until the offseason when he’s done playing. Okung still is slated to play on Sunday after tweaking his left ankle again during last Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay.
“The two high-ankle sprains aren’t going away,” Carroll said. “Anybody that’s ever had one during the course of a season knows that it doesn’t go away during the season. You can feel it throughout, and it takes months for those things to just go away, where you no longer have any factor being played. So it’s going to be an offseason that really benefits him.”
Asked about the possibility of losing draft position by winning on Sunday, Carroll said that’s something he’ll leave to general manager John Schneider to worry about.
“It means nothing to me,” Carroll said. “To try to imagine how skewed my mind would be if I was thinking about those issue, that’s not what’s going on. We’re going out to do everything we can to play a good football game this weekend.”
And despite the two teams meeting with sub-.500 records, Carroll said the Seahawks still have a chance to reach the goal they established before the season started – to win a NFC West title.
“We’re right exactly on what we had set out to do,” he said. “And we talked about, it would likely come down to a championship opportunity right here at Qwest, and here it is.
“So unfortunately with the record as it looks, it’s still falling into place like we had set out. So we never changed our focus on that. And this program will always be directed in that manner, to continually be on top of your division. That’s what you have to do.”