=== But Which Side's the Baddie, Dept. ===
We watched Carroll after the game, and Silvi (via an e-mail) put the question directly. Who starts next week?
Carroll politely sidestepped the question, which stunned me. I'd been expecting him to say "Matt's our guy. If he's healthy, we go with him." Or, at least some kind of misdirection to keep New Orleans guessing for a few days.
But Carroll forthrightly went into a discussion of technical considerations that was driving his in-game decision as to whether to use Whitehurst or Hasselbeck to win this game. I was left with the distinct impression that Carroll's New Orleans QB decision will be based on expert assessment, as opposed to being based on loyalty or psychological factors.
So, it seems genuinely open.
=== Pass Rush Dictates ===
The first thing that came to Carroll's mind, or at least mouth, was that "this was a game where we needed the quarterback to move," or somesuch.
In other words, with your O-Line getting crushed every play, you need some rollouts, bootlegs, and some escapes. Carroll also specifically praised Whitehurst's 5-8 yard gains on scrambles.
Yeah, you'll need some escapability next week, too, dude. Remember that Carroll is a dyed-in-the-wool college coach. Mobility at the QB position is etched into his philosophy of the game.
=== Legs vs. Arm ===
Carroll also emphasized Whitehurst's superior ability to throw the ball downfield.
Without a doubt, Hasselbeck is still one of the game's best at reading defenses. Give him 3-4 seconds, and several quick receivers, and Hass is one of the game's top QB's.
But the Seahawks absolutely don't have that, and Hass's ability to read defenses is going to be limited to RED ALERT! DANGER WILL ROBINSON! as the pass pocket implodes with nobody open.
The Rams had to respect the downfield ball on Sunday, and as a result the quick-fire swing pass was there all day long. ... it was interesting to see 7 yards not off of slants, but rather off of smoking 50-mph sideways swing passes with catch-and-runs.
It's a totally different flat-pass game, and Whitehurst is good at it. He's got the quickness, and the velocity on the ball, to punish corners who play too deep. And he's got the arm to stretch the corners vertically as well.
=== Game Time Decision ===
We suppose it's possible that Hasselbeck's hip will feel good enough for him to run bootlegs next Sunday. There have got to be 9,000 things that Carroll will ponder when coming up with a final decision.
Whatever the decision is, SSI is confident that Carroll is a better person to make it, than we are. They're in good hands on this one.