Expect Seahawks QB Controversy

Expect Seahawks QB Controversy

At first blush, I'd guess that coach Pete Carroll will go with Whitehurst even if Hasselbeck's rear end is completely healed. Whitehurst played well against the Rams, going 22 for 36 for 192 yards with one touchdown and, most importantly, no interceptions. That performance in a victory warrants a starting nod in the playoffs.

Or does it? With Carroll, you never know. After the Atlanta loss three weeks ago in which Hasselbeck struggled while Whitehurst played reasonably well, Carroll still opted to start Hasselbeck in the next game against Tampa Bay. The explanation -- Hasselbeck gave the Seahawks the best chance to win.

Then this past week, Carroll seemed solidly in Whitehurst's corner and stuck with him even when Hasselbeck appeared good to go in pre-game warm-ups.

NBC's Cris Collinsworth said during the post-game show that he "fully expects" Hasselbeck to start against the Saints, explaining that Hasselbeck, with his veteran experience, would be better equipped to handle pressure schemes thrown at the Seahawks by New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Another reason to start Hasselbeck -- against the Saints in November, he had his best game of the year, completing 32 of 44 passes for 366 yards in a 34-19 loss.

After that game, which followed an equally sparkling performance at Arizona, Hasselbeck appeared to be a lock to return to the Seahawks as a free agent who would sign a two- or three-year deal.

But he committed 13 turnovers in the next four games, putting Whitehurst in the spotlight while leaving Hasselbeck's status on Saturday and long-term future in doubt.

Expect another quarterback controversy this week. Seeking a competitive edge, Carroll will do what he did last week and not commit to Whitehurst or Hasselbeck, giving New Orleans more to prepare for and think about. NBC's Tony Dungy said that's one of the factors that gives Seattle a legitimate chance to beat the Saints -- yes, that's what he said -- the others being the long trip from New Orleans on a short week and disruptive crowd noise from the 12th Man at Qwest Field.

Here's my best guess at how the controversy's resolved -- Whitehurst will start again, with Carroll saying that Hasselbeck's working like crazy to recover from his injury but isn't quite right even if he is. (One of these days I plan to ask Carroll if he's ever lied on Tell the Truth Monday just to see what he says.)

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