In relief or starting, Whitehurst knows he can lead Seahawks

RENTON, Wash. -- The road the Seattle Seahawks are going down this week with quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is a familiar one.

Whitehurst went through it twice last season, when he received most of the work in practice, but the decision still lingered about if he would be the starter come Sunday.

Whitehurst ended up receiving the nod both times last season when there were questions about the health of then-starter Matt Hasselbeck.

So the fact there has been no public declaration yet about who this week's starting quarterback is for the Seahawksagainst the Cleveland Browns isn't uncomfortable for Whitehurst. He's preparing as if Sunday will be the third start of his NFL career.

"We'll see what happens with who is under center," Whitehurst said. "But I'm confident if my number is called I can perform."

Seattle still is unsure id starter Tarvaris Jackson will be healthy enough to play against Cleveland after suffering a strained pectoral during a 36-25 victory over the New York Giants two weeks ago. Jackson has been a limited participant in practice this week, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the quarterback is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation.

But Jackson hasn't been asked to test his injury, which is on his right, throwing side.

Whitehurst entered in relief of Jackson against the Giants and helped the Seahawks to 13 offensive points in the fourth quarter to pick up the victory. He went 11-of-19 passing for 149 yards and a touchdown in about 1½ quarters.

And now he has had most of two weeks to prepare for the Browns and pick up more of the no-huddle, up-tempo offense the Seahawks are trying to use.

"I don't think anyone questions whether he's ready to go or can get it done. I know he's played well on a big stage for us, he's played against good opponents and done well," Seattle receiver Mike Williams said. "I think the locker room has a lot of confidence, and we know the coaches have a lot of confidence."

Whitehurst started twice last season, including in the Seahawks' regular-season-ending victory over the St. Louis Rams to clinch the NFC West title with a 7-9 record. Only once -- against the Rams last season -- has Whitehurst ever thrown more than 20 passes in an NFL game.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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