Maybe Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was just being a coy this week, but his decision to start Matt Hasselbeck over Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback in the first round of the playoffs had to come with some difficulty.
For a couple of days, Carroll sounded as if he hadn't made up his mind on a starter, perhaps in an attempt to keep the New Orleans Saints guessing. In fact, you could have made a reasonable case for either Hasselbeck or Whitehurst.
On one hand, Hasselbeck has nine playoff games under his belt (4-5 record) and was the Seahawks' starter in their only Super Bowl appearance in 2006. He's a veteran, and there's no substitute for experience.
On the other hand, Whitehurst was 22 of 36 passing in last Sunday's win over the St. Louis Rams, which clinched the NFC West title. More important, he didn't turn over the ball; Hasselbeck, who strained a hip muscle against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a Week 16 loss, has 10 interceptions and three lost fumbles in his previous five games, four of which were losses. He has 12 TDs and 17 interceptions this season.
Carroll said Hasselbeck had a "great week," that his mobility is normal and added, "After last night's practice and seeing the film, it was clear that that's the way we're going to go."
So was there really any mystery surrounding the Seahawks' QB issue? Not really. Carroll said he told Hasselbeck at the start of the week that he would be the starter if he was healthy.
He is, so he'll start on Saturday.