Resurgent Hasselbeck familiar with Bears
October, 31, 2012
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com
AP Photo/Wade PayneMatt Hasselbeck has performed well, including a win over Pittsburgh, in Jake Locker's absence.LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Matt Hasselbeck has seen it all in 14 NFL seasons.
That could explain why the veteran Tennessee Titans quarterback has experienced a modest level of success against the Bears' style of defense. Hasselbeck owns a 3-3 lifetime record versus the Bears, but in the last two meetings, he's passed for six touchdowns and zero interceptions while a member of the Seattle Seahawks.
Hasselbeck's best game against the Bears came in the 2007 regular season when he completed 68.2 percent of his passes and posted a 106.0 quarterback rating in a victory in Seattle.
"They're obviously a great defense and have been for a long time," Hasselbeck said Wednesday. "Shoot, for like the last 50 years they have kind of been known for having a great defense. It's one of those teams that I really think you have to study and understand. I think I learned a good amount about that defense when I was in Green Bay given that Tampa was running a similar defense and Tampa was the best team in the division when I was in Green Bay. So we studied it, we learned it, we talked about it.
"Then when I went to Seattle, St. Louis was a really, really good team. People talk about their offense, but their defense was very, very good with guys like Grant Wistrom, Leonard Little, Aeneas Williams and I believe Lovie (Smith) was there. Then in Chicago since I've played them, whether it be in the regular season or the postseason, they've got All-Pro players. Guys that are perennial Pro-Bowlers, guys that are great at their position. It's a defense that you know because you not only watch it on television as a fan, but you also study them and you sort of raise your game during preparations in a sense just to try to be successful."
The Titans' plan this year did not call for Hasselbeck to be their starting quarterback. The veteran entered the season as the backup to 2011 first-round pick (No. 8 overall) Jake Locker, but a shoulder injury to Locker thrust Hasselbeck into the starting role the last four weeks, where he's gone 2-2 with six touchdowns throws.
"We're just very fortunate we have him given our situation here of being a young team and losing our (starting) quarterback Jake and not being sure how many weeks he'd be out," Titans head coach Mike Munchak said. "Matt's played the last five weeks and really steadied the ship a little bit. He's doing a great job coming in because we are young at receiver and we need the kind of leader that can kind of help these guys during the game, in the huddle and on the sidelines. He's very knowledgeable and still playing at a nice high level. He's been huge for us, as a team in general, not just on the offensive side. He's a good leader on top of that. He's been good for me as a head coach. He's very prepared and he's a great example for these guys and he's gone out there and played pretty well for us."