What does Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck have left?
This isn’t an easy question to answer, as Hasselbeck has continually battled injuries and his supporting cast has been less than stellar. And that includes his protection and those catching the football. But it also must be noted that Seattle didn’t go out of its way to acquire Charlie Whitehurst for no apparent reason.
But as it stands today, I do feel as though Hasselbeck can still be successful. By successful, I don’t mean Pro Bowl level or even how he was a few years ago, but he can be a productive quarterback capable of leading this offense. By several accounts, Hasselbeck has quickly acclimated to the Seahawks' new offense. That isn't surprising given his work ethic, and these leadership traits will be valuable to the entire young squad during this coaching transition.
But I don’t trust him. I don’t trust him to elevate those around him -- which is what the young Seahawks offense needs. I don’t trust him to stay healthy for 16 games. I don’t trust him to be someone whom Seattle can count on going forward. He turns 35 during the season and played the worst football of his career as a starter during the second half of the 2009 season.
Once excellent at valuing the football, he was responsible for too many turnovers. Over the past two seasons, Hasselbeck has five more interceptions than touchdowns. He was making throws like someone whose body hurt him, which just doesn’t work at this level. So, let’s return to the original question: What does Matt Hasselbeck have left? My response is not much.
Why do I say that? First of all, the supporting cast has promise, but it is far from ideal. The Seahawks are transitioning to a zone-blocking run scheme and are breaking in a new blindside protector (Russell Okung) -- albeit a talented one. But overall, I can’t see the line play as being high end yet, even with Alex Gibbs as the line coach. It should be improved, but I still worry about the hits Hasselbeck will take, especially considering his back problems.
But the receivers really worry me. John Carlson could re-establish himself as a truly threatening tight end, and Justin Forsett and Leon Washington are able and dangerous receivers out of the backfield, but you need wide receivers who can threaten a secondary to succeed in this league. I don’t see that in Seattle and I don’t think Hasselbeck is able to escalate the play of average wideouts at this stage of his career.
Compounding matters, Hasselbeck’s contract is up after this season -- so Seattle must have a read on Whitehurst before entering next offseason. Whitehurst will be the starter during the last month of the season. I have no reservations about saying that, even in late June. Actually, I could see Whitehurst taking over after the Seahawks’ Week 5 bye.