In his first game in Seattle, Charlie Whitehurst posted his highest ever adjusted net yards per attempt, 7.9, blowing away his previous best, 5.8*. He tied his lowest sack percentage in games he had ten or more attempts. In a global sense, Whitehurst surpassed any previous standard.
He did it through good process: pocket awareness, reads, timing, decisiveness. He did it though apparent ability: crisp rollouts, mid-range zip, a beautiful rainbow to Deon Butler streaking up the left sideline. Whitehurst played the preseason game every hope-drunk Seahawks fan was desperate to see. He put it all together. He played like a somebody.
If I ballparked Whitehurst's potential to ever become a franchise quarterback at 10% before, it would be premature to move that to even 20% now. There is too much we do not know. Most basically, how bad is the Titans second-string defense? Jovan Haye and Sen'Derrick Marks are ok, but the ends were shoddy, the secondary porous and the linebackers slow. Whitehurst was tossing through some huge windows. His pocket wasn't pristine but pressure edged in rather than exploded. Charlie made some throws a quicker end could have killed him for attempting. Mostly, he locked on, watched his man and zipped it in when the receiver flashed free against a coverage scheme so vanilla it catalogues kissing as one of two types of foreplay.
So, one hurdle cleared, Whitehurst approaches another this Saturday.
*Over 13 games and 196 attempts, and excluding his week two performance of the 2007 preseason. He had one passing attempt and completed it for 21 yards.