If only the preseason counted. Heading into the final game before the real competition kicks off against the Raiders on September 10, the San Diego Chargers are 3-0. With wins over the Packers, Cowboys and Vikings, the Chargers have given the city of San Diego some added hope that their team may make the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
But one of the more promising stories of the preseason has been Charger-come-Seahawk-come-Charger (again), Charlie Whitehurst. Still sitting well behind number #1 quarterback Philip Rivers in the race for the starting role, former Clemson QB Whitehurst has been given some much needed encouragement from Coach Norv Turner with valuable playing time this month.
Two weeks ago Whitehurst completed 7 of 12 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns against the Cowboys and said he was feeling better about his form heading into the regular season. “It felt great. I haven’t played in an NFL game since October. It felt good and I’ll feel more comfortable after the game for sure,” he told the Associated Press.
Six days later Whitehurst was rewarded with the starting gig in the game against the Vikings after Rivers was given the night off. And it appears as though the move by Coach Norv Turner paid off, if for nothing more than to give Whitehurst some confidence and to prove to Chargers fans that there is an alternative to Rivers should (knock on wood) something happen to him this season. Whitehurst led the Chargers to a 12-10 victory over Minnesota on Friday night and while he couldn’t back up his Cowboys performance with any touchdown passes, he did end the night going 8-for-18 for 82 yards.
So I guess the question is, will he be able to back up his strong preseason with an equally impressive regular season? Should he be given the opportunity, which might be somewhat difficult with “hasn’t missed a regular season game in six years” Rivers standing in his way, I think the answer is yes. Desperate to prove all his doubters wrong (and let’s be brutally honest here – there are a few), Whitehurst will surely grab any chance to get on the field with both hands. After two seasons with the Seahawks, where he only threw three TDs and was sacked 13 times, Whitehurst will definitely be hoping to turn his form, and his career, around in San Diego. And judging by what he’s shown us early on, I say there’s every chance he’ll do just that.