RENTON, Wash. – Seahawks coach Pete Carroll put an end to the mystery Thursday, naming Matt Hasselbeck the starting quarterback for Saturday’s playoff game against New Orleans.
“Matt had a great week for us, made it through the week,” Carroll said. “I told him early in the week that he was going to start if he could make it through physically. He’s done all of that, so Matt Hasselbeck’s going to start the game for us at quarterback. Charlie (Whitehurst) is ready to go as well, both those guys split reps during the week so they’re prepared, and we’ll count on both if we need them, but I’m fired up that Matt’s going to go.”
Carroll declined to name a starter Monday, then again Wednesday, and would not even go so far as to say whether Hasselbeck would start if healthy. Carroll’s vague answers led to speculation that Whitehurst, who led the Seahawks to a win over St. Louis last week while Hasselbeck sat out with a hip/buttock injury, had simply moved past Hasselbeck on the depth chart.
But after Hasselbeck made it through a third straight day of practice without any problems with his injury, Carroll made it clear that the veteran is still his starter.
“First off, he’s been our starter all year long, and that’s it,” Carroll said. “Nothing has changed in that, and I just wanted to make sure Matt was healthy. Last week he did everything he could, he was a warrior about it, he would have gone if we had called on him, but it was better that we didn’t have to do that, and Charlie came through and did a great job for us, so we know we have two really good guys that can play, and we feel confident that both of those guys can give us a chance to win.
“Matt needed to get healthy and get right, he’s done that so we’re fired up for him.”
Hasselbeck has played in nine postseason games, including a Super Bowl, and who passed for 366 yards against the Saints this season.
“Matt did play very well last time (against the Saints) as far as throwing the football,” Carroll said. “We need to play well around him this time.”