Giants Should Worry About Backup

Matt Hasselbeck is out with a concussion this week, but the Giants shouldn't get too comfortable in facing backup Charlie Whitehurst. They've had problems against no-name quarterbacks before.

The Giants are knocking out quarterbacks without stepping on the field now.

No. Just joking there. But Matt Hasselbeck, having been concussed in the Seahawks' 33-3 loss to the Raiders last week, is out for this week's game and will be replaced by Charlie Whitehurst.

Charlie Whitehurst, as in never started a game since San Diego picked him in the third round in 2006.

Giants fans might be ecstatic over that, but take a moment and think. How many unheralded backup quarterbacks have given the Giants trouble over the years?

Enough to make one uncomfortable. Kurt Kittner of Atlanta walked into Giants Stadium and won. Craig Krenzel of Chicago, Matt Moore of Carolina both won. Jon Kitna of Cincinnati and Patrick Ramsey of Washington beat them.

True, this is a different Giants team. And the aforementioned opponent exploits are now long ago in football years. But the Giants should not take the Seahawks lightly because a mere backup is in there.

Perry Fewell isn't.

"We want to command respect from the opponents that we play and we're going to put our best game forward," Fewell said. "If that next guy is back there, we want to make that next guy nervous."

Seattle can still run the ball behind Justin Forsett and Marshawn Lynch. And now that Mike Williams has gotten himself on the right mental track, he and Brandon Stokely can work the ball downfield.

But the key, as usual, will be stopping the run and pressuring the 6-5, 225-pound Whitehurst.

"If we stop the run, I want our guys to have that mentality that there's blood in the water and we're going to be sharks. No doubt. That's my mentality, I know, going in," Fewell said.

There isn't a lot of film on Whitehurst. He threw a lot of passes in the preseason, but mostly against the typical vanilla schemes defenses play at that point.

He did show some mobility, however, and that's something the Giants will have to be wary of. When it all comes down to it, though, pressure from the front four will cure any unforeseen advantage Whitehurst may have.

"He's going to know that it's what our plan is," DE Osi Umenyiora said. "So he has to keep on trying to maintain poise and pocket awareness. We're going to come after whoever we play."

"We'll play him just like any other quarterback," DE Justin Tuck said. "Physical."

Whitehurst can be a physical presence, too, and that alone makes him different than Hasselbeck.

"He's bigger, he's taller, he has good mobility, he has a strong arm," coach Tom Coughlin said. "I'm not comparing, I'm just telling you what his credentials are. He's had a lot of passes in preseason – probably more than a lot of the starters in the league and he's been in the league, he's in his fifth year, he was traded for, all of the above."

Whitehurst probably doesn't have the touch on the deep throw that Hasselbeck might, but he can certainly find Stokely and Williams on the middle routes. That's where the back of the defense will have to continue to do its part.

S Deon Grant said nothing should change about the overall gameplan.

"We do what we do," Grant said. "You look at what he did in the preseason and he threw it in a storm. He's got enough speed to take off."

Grant likened Whitehurst's speed to that of divisional foes Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb.

If anything, the Giants might disguise their coverages a bit more to throw off Hasselbeck's replacement. And the linebackers and safeties will certainly be on the lookout for the screens to Lynch and Forsett.

But mostly, they'll keep studying Whitehurst and try not to fall into the backup trap that has reached up and grabbed them in the past.

"We've got a six-hour flight to get plenty more film work done," CB Corey Webster said. "Just be as prepared as you can be."


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