BY SPNW Staff 01:22PM 10/01/2011

Matt shows how to become All-Pro: Exit Seattle

Unloaded in July because the Seahawks wanted to get younger, Matt Hasselbeck of the Titans is off to the best start of his 13-year National Football League career.

Matt Hasselbeck is enjoying a resurgence with the Tennessee Titans. / Rod Mar, Seattle Seahawks

Don’t quite know why this is so, but many professional athletes come to Seattle to die (Exhibit A: Chone Figgins) and resurrect after they depart. A prime example of the latter is Doug Fister, who went 3-12 with a 3.33 ERA for the Mariners this past season and then 8-1, 1.79 after the club dispatched him to playoff-bound Detroit on July 30.

A few days before the Mariners traded Fister, the Seahawks, determined to get younger, unloaded longtime quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who wound up signing with the Tennessee Titans. Originally dismayed at his release by a franchise he represented since 2001, Hasselbeck must be giddy over the way things have worked out in his favor.

The Titans have a winning record (2-1) while the Seahawks struggle with a no-can-do offense that ranks 30th in points scored and 31st in yards gained. With that calamity unfolding, Hasselbeck, who led the Seahawks to their only Super Bowl appearance (XL) and represented Seattle in three Pro Bowls, is not only off to the best start of his professional career, but is on a pace to shatter all of his single-season passing marks.

He ranks third among NFL quarterbacks in completion percentage at 69.9 percent (career high is 65.5 in 2005), and eighth with a passer rating of 102.2 (career high is 98.2, also in 2005). Hasselbeck is also eighth in total yards (932), having averaged 310.7 through Tennessee’s first three games. His highest average with Seattle: 247.9 in 2007, his last year as a Pro Bowl player.

Hasselbeck is among the top 10 in all stats that matter, including yards-per attempt at 8.4. When Hasselbeck quarterbacked the Seahawks to the Super Bowl in 2005, he averaged 7.9 yards per attempt. How his 2011 numbers compare with those of his successor, Tarvaris Jackson:

Player Att. Cmp. Pct. Yards TDs Int. Y/A Rate
Matt Hasselbeck 112 78 69.9 932 5 2 8.3 102.2
Tarvaris Jackson 97 59 59.0 527 2 2 5.4 73.7

If the NFL announced Pro Bowl squads today, Hasselbeck would probably be one of three AFC quarterbacks selected.

Hasselbeck told the Associated Press recently that, aside from having to learn a new offensive system, the biggest difference between playing for Tennessee and Seattle has come on Monday mornings.

“I don’t wake up feeling like I’ve been hit by a freight train,” Hasselbeck said, a reference to the protection he receives from the Titans’ offensive line (it has allowed one sack) vs. the lack of same he got from the Seahawks (29 sacks in 14 games last year).

Apart from his four-TD spectacular against New Orleans last Jan. 8 in the first round of the playoffs, Hasselbeck did not have a respectable 2010, throwing for a career-low 12 touchdown passes while matching a career high with 17 interceptions. Some of that had to do with the lack of talent surrounding Hasselbeck, some of it was due to injuries. In any case, his bounce back with the Titans is not surprising given the pocket protection he has received, and reminiscent of a similar story 19 years ago.

Following the 1991 season, what passed for the Seahawks braintrust, owner Ken Behring and GM-coach Tom Flores, decided to unload veteran Dave Krieg, the franchise leader in every passing category, and entrust the job to a younger quarterback.

The Seahawks elected to go that route after Krieg had thrown 11 TDs vs. 12 interceptions in 1991, while sharing time with Jeff Kemp.

The Seahawks wanted either Dan McGwire or Kelly Stouffer, players that had come at the cost of No. 1 draft picks, to play quarterback, but neither could. McGwire made just one start, contributed no TDs and three interceptions, while Stouffer made seven starts and threw three TDs vs. nine interceptions. Neither lasted long in the NFL.

The job largely fell to 30-year-old Stan Gelbaugh, a Bills-Cardinals castoff, who took most of the snaps in a season that ended 2-14, worst in franchise history.

Krieg, meanwhile, moved on to Kansas City, where, with better line protection, he enjoyed a renaissance, producing his fifth career 3,000-yard season (with 15 TDs) and leading the Chiefs to the playoffs.

Thirty-four years old when the Seahawks let him go, Krieg had three good seasons in him after leaving Seattle.

No telling how many Hasselbeck has left at age 36, but he’s having at least one, while the Seahawks attempt to figure out whether Jackson is the right long-term replacement, merely a short-term solution, or no solution at all.

[poll id="32"]


YourThoughts

  • Pingback: Matt shows how to become All-Pro: Exit Seattle » County Lawyer's Blog

  • d.wyntrip

    you fantasy homers can talk about numbers all you want but it doesn’t change anything…there is no way matt would make it thru 3 games w/ this line.. and you are an idiot if you don’t think cj’s past production isn’t a factor 

  • d.wyntrip

    you fantasy homers can talk about numbers all you want but it doesn’t change anything…there is no way matt would make it thru 3 games w/ this line.. and you are an idiot if you don’t think cj’s past production isn’t a factor 

  • Anonymous

    Seattle needed to move along to the next phase. I’m happy for Matt. He’s found a good situation for him where he’s got a shot in a wide open AFC while he’s still healthy enough to be a factor.

    The QB of the next good Seattle team isn’t on the roster yet. It’s just not fair to pit Hass vs. TJax. They play the same position but they represent two very different approaches to this season.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mkelly534 Michael Kelly

      Perfectly said. :)

  • dcrockett17

    Seattle needed to move along to the next phase. I’m happy for Matt. He’s found a good situation for him where he’s got a shot in a wide open AFC while he’s still healthy enough to be a factor.

    The QB of the next good Seattle team isn’t on the roster yet. It’s just not fair to pit Hass vs. TJax. They play the same position but they represent two very different approaches to this season.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mkelly534 Michael Kelly

      Perfectly said. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/mkelly534 Michael Kelly

    Hasselbeck would not have been able to do what he is doing in Seattle because we could not protect him. Glad to see him doing well. Seattle will be fine though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mkelly534 Michael Kelly

    Hasselbeck would not have been able to do what he is doing in Seattle because we could not protect him. Glad to see him doing well. Seattle will be fine though.

  • crumudgeon

    In the words of Bob Dylan,”… the wheel is still in spin.”  Meaning — It’s a long season.  Let’s see if Mat keeps it going the rest of the year.  Remember how fragile he looked his final season as a Seahawk?  How many times has Tjack got sacked so far?  I wish Mat much success but it is time to just move on.

  • crumudgeon

    In the words of Bob Dylan,”… the wheel is still in spin.”  Meaning — It’s a long season.  Let’s see if Mat keeps it going the rest of the year.  Remember how fragile he looked his final season as a Seahawk?  How many times has Tjack got sacked so far?  I wish Mat much success but it is time to just move on.

  • Zebenir

    With the O-line the Seahawks have??? Matt’s better off in Tennessee… much as I hate to say that.  Good luck Matt, we still love you!

  • Zebenir

    With the O-line the Seahawks have??? Matt’s better off in Tennessee… much as I hate to say that.  Good luck Matt, we still love you!

  • Pingback: Latest Seattle Seahawks News - Buy NFL Football Tickets

  • headoutofsand

    Too much hoo-hah, indeed.  And, like Sarkisian, I also have no problem with Holt’s candor.  Count me in the camp that feels “bulletin board material” has about the same effect at helping the “offended” team to win as wearing all black uniforms.