-43

That is how many Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement passes, sacks and runs by Charlie Whitehurst were worth on Sunday. I think the really damning thing about Whitehurst's performance wasn't just how costly it was, but how incompetent he looked. It might be confirmation bias, I am sure I fall into that from time to time, but watching Charlie struggle to execute reminded me of my impressions of Whitehurst after scouting his 2009 preseason performance against the 49ers:

Whitehurst studied Turner's offense over three seasons, without pressure, but also without game experience. He looks completely and utterly unaccustomed to game speed, even preseason game speed. He seems to have enough trouble simply reading a vanilla zone, and while attempting to decipher it, shows no pocket awareness at all. Whitehurst keeps his eyes up field, but can not walk and chew bubble gum. If he showed better ability to read routes or find open receivers, maybe developing pocket presence could be a realistic goal. But seemingly flummoxed by simple zones, it's a stretch to think he will significantly improve his read and pocket awareness.

I do not see evidence of a cannon arm, a trait that might ease his impending decline, and I also do not see great accuracy. Even his calmest, least harassed, and simplest throws are around the target rather than to it. His tools seem decent. He has good arm strength, a good frame and doesn't embarrass himself on the run. Whitehurst embodies the middle round, prototypical quarterback that has never achieved great success nor tantalized with his tools, but because he looks the part, is handed a clipboard and calls it a career.

Whitehurst turns 28 August 6. He studied the same basic playbook for three years, but when asked to execute it, showed little ability, confidence, competence or promise. He now faces a new playbook and real expectations. The Chargers announcers had a healthy humor about Whitehurst. They did not ridicule him, but instead dismissed him for what he is: A third string quarterback.

Whitehurst is 28 and will be 29 before the start of the 2011 season. Many assume Whitehurst will stick around, because Seattle paid so much for him and because Seattle has no other obvious candidate for starting quarterback. Given how he looks and how little confidence we can infer the coaching staff has in him, it seems very unlikely that if Whitehurst does come back, that he will be the presumed starter. That puts Seattle in a bit of a bind.

What do you think the most likely solution is?

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