As Andrew Luck and Matt Hasselbeck struggle with injuries, the Colts may need to turn to Charlie Whitehurst against the Dolphins on Sunday.
Just looking at him, he doesn’t look like he should be a quarterback in the National Football League. He looks like he should be the frontman for a local Indie Rock group, or starring in a movie alongside Johnny Depp and Jared Leto.
However, Charlie Whitehurst is an NFL quarterback, and he just may be starting for the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. With the Colts season seemingly over, we may see Whitehurst for these final two games of the regular season. So let’s learn a little bit about what Whitehurst has to offer the Colts in these last two contests.
Whitehurst’s college career is what draws a lot of intrigue. At Clemson, Whitehurst passed for 9,665 yards, which is the second most in school history. He has been regarded by Fansided’s own Rub the Rock as the fourth best quarterback in school history. He also received second team All-ACC honors in 2005, this lead to him being drafted in the third round by the Chargers.
Whitehurst has long been regarded as the quintessential NFL back-up. He spent his first five NFL season backing up Philip Rivers, Matt Hasselbeck, and Tavaris Jackson in both San Diego and Seattle. In those five NFL season, Whitehurst only played in 13 games, starting in four. He passed for 805 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions.
Dec 13, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (6) throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth quarter at EverBank Field. The Jaguars won 51-16. Mandatory Credit: Jim Steve-USA TODAY Sports
The bulk of Whitehurst’s NFL experience comes from last season, where he started five games for the Titans. In those five games Whitehurst threw for 1326 yards, seven touchdowns, and two interceptions. Despite the fairly good numbers, the Titans went 1-4 in that five game stretch, two of those losses coming to the Colts.
Here is something interesting however, let’s take those stats from the five weeks Whitehurst started last season. Now compare them to Andrew Luck’s in the same weeks, Luck only threw for 50 more yards than Whitehurst (1376)! That’s not to say Whitehurst and Luck are on par with one another, but it does show the Whitehurst is at least capable.
On top of that Whitehurst’s Quarterback Rating of 87.4 was higher than Andy Dalton’s, Cam Newton’s, and Matthew Stafford’s in 2014. Again, not saying Whitehurst is better than any of those guys, because he’s not, but it shows he’s not totally incapable of playing quarterback.
Now Whitehurst has not been with the Colts long, which accounts for his struggles in the snaps he’s played so far this season. He has had almost two full weeks of first team reps, and he said last week that he’d be ready if he needed to start.
At this point playing Matt Hasselbeck may be a health hazard to him. He said that he doesn’t have anything left, and I think it’d be safe to not play him. That’s why I’d say it’s highly likely that Whitehurst starts for the next two weeks. Now that he’s had practice time with the first team, hopefully he’ll be able to find a rhythm with an offense that desperately needs a rhythm.
With the Playoffs pretty much out of reach for the Colts, it will take some pressure off Whitehurst and allow him to just play. Who knows, he may surprise us with what he’s got to offer.