I’ll save you the “Matt’s a veteran” and “he’s been in the playoffs before” arguments. Matt’s performance of the previous three seasons nullifies the first argument, and the second is just idiotic. Show me proof that players “with playoff experience” perform better than players that don’t. You’ll have a better shot justifying that lottery tickets are worth the investment.
No, I think Matt should start as the Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback in the NFC West wild card matchup for three reasons:
1. Matt’s rapport with Mike Williams. In the three games in which Charlie Whitehurst played significant time under center (vs. Giants, Buccaneers, and Rams), Mike Williams recorded a total of 7 receptions for 56 yards. Compare that to 58 receptions for 695 yards in ten games with Matt under center. And when the Seahawks played the Saints during the regular season, Williams caught 6 catches for 109 yards playing on the foot he injured in the first quarter. I can only imagine what he would have done sans injury.
The Seahawks need that kind of production again if they have any chance, offensively, against the Saints. Mike Williams will be one of the few mismatches in favor of the Seahawks on Saturday, and he needs to be targeted and targeted a lot. Although three games is a tiny sample size, I’m not convinced anything will have dramatically changed in one week of practice that will suddenly spark a bond of trust between Charlie Whitehurst and Mike Williams.
2. Matt is poised and goes through his progressions. What worried me about Charlie Whitehurst in Sunday’s victory over the Rams was his unwillingness to go through his progressions and throw the ball. On far too many occasions, he’d make a read or two, feel (or imagine) pressure, ditch his progressions and just tuck the ball and run. Granted, he made a few good plays with his feet, but those kind of plays won’t win against a Saints team that will likely score 25+ points against the Seahawks defense.
The Seahawks QB that plays on Saturday will have to throw, and throw it a lot to move the chains, control time of possession and most importantly: score touchdowns. The Seahawks won’t be “holding on” like they were with the Rams; they will need to keep up with the Saints’ offense. Three field goals and a touchdown ain’t gonna cut it. Not unless the Seahawks defense suddenly becomes superhuman, somehow, and hold the Saints to 6 points, too. Don’t hold your breath.
3. Matt’s hungry. Very hungry. OK, OK. I have no idea what Matt Hasselbeck is other than he’s: a human being, a bald male, and one of the best Seahawks players of all time. But I’d bet everything I own, however, that he’s pissed off that he’s been benched in favor of an overpaid Jesus lookalike that can barely play quarterback. Harsh? Yes. But come on – Charlie looks downright lost most of the time and that won’t change any time this season. I bet Matt is damned hungry to get in there and prove to the world (and himself) that’s he’s got something left. Hell, being at the end of a contract probably helps, too. If healthy and starting, I think we’ll see Matt give his all against the Saints. And all of what Matt Hasselbeck has is far more likely to be more than what Charlie Whitehurst has right now.
This isn’t a post meant to trash Charlie Whitehurst. Come on, he is a Jesus lookalike. I want Charlie Whitehurst to succeed under center, and become the answer to the Seahawks fanchise’s biggest question mark. But all of the inexperience, mistakes, and deer-in-the-headlight looks will not have disappeared in the week between the Rams and Saints games. Hell, they may not disappear in an entire offseason of work as the established #1 QB. Winning against the Rams is one thing. Winning against the reigning Super Bowl champs is a whole another.
GOD I’m excited for Saturday. Aren’t you!?