- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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The first I heard about Matt Hasselbeck spending time during the offseason on rolling out, running bootlegs and throwing on the move, I thought it was a smart move.
Those sorts of plays come naturally to Jake Locker, and Hasselbeck appeared to be intent on improving in that area to close the gap and limit the chance that it would be a deciding factor in the quarterback fight in Nashville.
But to hear the honest Hasselbeck tell it, it wasn’t fueled by the competition or by Locker’s skill set.
It’s more about catching up with the Titans' playbook than catching up with Locker.
“We ran them a lot in Seattle, but the ones we ran were different,” Hasselbeck said. “Different launch point, different mindset, different goal in mind. With this offense I tried to just work on that stuff. We didn’t really have the opportunity to work on that stuff last year.
“I worked out hard, I tried, I was doing Crossfit and Fuelfit and all this stuff. But I really didn’t know the offense to practice (being a free agent during the lockout). What I did this year was try to work on specific plays that feel uncomfortable to me. And some of the wide zone stretch bootleg, just getting the timing down with the feet, working on my sell, selling it better, and then just being able to run a little bit better -- I wasn’t very strong at that last year.”
Hasselbeck didn’t want to single out Locker’s play on the move -- “he’s good at everything,” the veteran said -- but there is certainly a benefit to him being able to move around in a similar way to his challenger.
“I could be wrong, but I think (Mike Munchak) even told the offensive coaches, ‘I don’t want to have a set of plays for him and a set of plays for him. I want to have, here’s our offense and everyone be able to run everything,’” Hasselbeck said.
As the two players are part of a mutual admiration society, Locker’s take on Hassselbeck’s mobility is hardly a surprise.
“I think that was a perception of Matt, just because he’s not the fastest that he’s not mobile,” Locker said. “I think he’s really good with those nakeds, change-of-directions, he throws really well on the run. I think it’s a perception that he gets wrongfully. I think he can be really successful with it."