The Colts' season is in jeopardy. The chances of them getting into the playoffs are low (around 15%). Injuries have taken their toll on the team, but no injury has been more devastating than Andrew Luck's injury. Luck suffered a lacerated kidney and torn abdominal muscle in the Week 9 win over the Broncos. He's entering the 7th week of his recovery from the injury and he has already been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins. Matt Hasselbeck has taken over the offense since then and he's had mixed reviews. Although he started out hot, he's been anything but hot over the past 3 weeks. Hasselbeck, who's 40 years old, has been battered with injuries, suffering 5 over the past 3 weeks. Because of his ineffectiveness and his numerous injuries, it's time to let Charlie Whitehurst take over the offense in the Week 16 matchup vs the Dolphins.
As mentioned before, Hasselbeck has dealt with a lot of injuries. He's had neck, jaw, back, ribs and shoulder injuries over the past 3 weeks. At 40 years old, enough is enough. He got injured in the Texans game and with Ndamukong Suh and Olivier Vernon up next, he may not be able to finish that game as well. He's been injured in three straight games. Hasselbeck is beat up, plain and simple.
After the Texans game, Hasselbeck said:
"Today I got nothing left. I'm just going to give them what I got. We'll see how it goes. It's December and everyone's a little bit banged up."
If your quarterback is saying that he's got nothing left, that's not good. The usually upbeat Hasselbeck seemed down and depressed following the game.
Charlie Whitehurst threw two passes in the Texans game, but both were enough to show me that he's a better option over Hasselbeck. Yep, two plays is all I needed to see. Let's look at those two plays:
Play #1: 13 Yard Completion
Here's Whitehurst's first play: it's a singleback formation with two tight ends lined up to the right of the offensive line. Donte Moncrief and Andre Johnson are lined up at the bottom and top of the screenshot, respectively. The Texans are bringing a blitzer and have a total of 5 guys rushing the quarterback. They also have a safety creeping in the box.
As the play starts, Whitehurst takes a very nice deep drop on the play and separates from the line. He looks towards his first read, which is Moncrief in this situation.
As we see, Whitehurst has made the throw to Moncrief and it wasn't an easy throw. He must make a throw from the opposite hashmark to the sideline. If we use Pythagorean theorem, we figure out that the throw that he made was about a 37-yard throw.
Whitehurst completes the throw. He times it well, he puts it in the right spot and he completes the first down.
Why pick out this one play? Because I challenge you to find a throw from Hasselbeck (over the past 3 games) that was better than that throw.
Play #2: Incompletion
On this play, the Colts are in shotgun formation with a 3 receiver set and 1 tight end. The Texans are showing blitz again, but because it's third and long, they have players way off the line and clearly playing the pass.
As the play starts, Whitehurst gets another good drop (about 5-6 yards) and you can see where he's looking.
Whitehurst gets the pass off the Moncrief again, on a very similar comeback route.
The pass hits Moncrief in the hands, but the defender makes a good play and knocks the ball out. If we use Pythagorean theorem again, we know that that throw was about a 31 yard throw for Whitehurst. It was an impressive throw with good timing and he hit Moncrief in the perfect spot.
Again, I challenge you to show me Hasselbeck (in the past 3 games) making that type of throw.
Charlie Whitehurst has the experience as well. He started in the win or go home (winner took the division) Week 17 matchup vs the Rams in 2011 and had a good outing. He took home the win that day. He was replacing an injured Matt Hasselbeck that week. Last season with the Titans, he played in 7 games (started 5) and finished the season with 1326 yards, with 7 touchdowns to 2 interceptions as well as a 57% completion percentage (87.2 passer rating). It may not be pretty, but he has experience.
T.Y. Hilton publicly expressed his frustration with the offense and the play-calling. You can't blame him because Hasselbeck limits the offense. Hasselbeck can't throw the ball down the field and is limited to pass over the middle and within 7 yards of the line of scrimmage. Then, if the running game isn't on, it's very hard to move the ball down the field. Whitehurt doesn't have a limited arm and he allows you to open your playbook. That's the biggest thing and it's something the team needs on offense. If the offense can't open up it's playbook, they won't win one more game this season and it won't be close.
Once you start limiting the offense, you start hurting the star players like T.Y. Hilton. He can't be utilized on deep passes and everything changes. I can see where his frustration is coming from.
I'm wiling to predict that if Hasselbeck starts the final two games, the Colts will be easily defeated in both games (by at least double digits).
The Colts last hope lies in Charlie Whitehurst NOT Matt Hasselbeck.