NFL Free Agency: Hasselbeck Gives Titans Leadership/Ability to Win

Photo: Matthew Hasselbeck, courtesy ESPN

With the recent reported signing of Hasselbeck, it seems as though things are now headed up for the Titans.

Despite Hasselbeck struggling in his last 3 years on very, very bad Seahawks teams, it’s entirely possible that with the signing of Hasselbeck, the Titans 2011 fortunes take a major shift from from ‘just okay’ to possibly ‘great’. Now, I’m not saying Hasselbeck will come in here and make the Pro Bowl while leading the team to the Super Bowl. No, but he will give solid quarterbacking and great leadership to the most important position in sports–the quarterback, the position that had the most questions entering the 2011 season. The Titans will more than likely use a run-based offense with a short to mid passing game with sparse use of the deep ball, but just enough to occasionally catch safeties off guard. Hasselbeck will fit this great., as he’s known for lacking the deep strength but excelling in the West Coast Offense. If you’re not familiar, the WCO predominantly uses the shorter passes to gain big yards, think ‘dink and dunk’.

Possibly the most exciting part about the signing results in a real return to the running game this season. Chris Johnson got hammered too much in 2010 in part because the defenses did not fear Kerry Collins. While Hasselbeck won’t play like Peyton Manning, his play will be solid enough to keep the defense aware of the passing game. They don’t get to ignore it. Really, the more I think about this, I’m seeing comparisons to Jon Kitna’s resurrection in Dallas last season. Kitna threw for lots and lots and lots of yards for Detroit (his team before Dallas) but wins seemed to elude him. When he got to Dallas, he had real football players in key positions that seemed to be just waiting on someone to help them win. I bet it confused Kitna, at first. Now, the team did get better in part to a new head coach and they never really got awesome but they did change for the better, and Kitna stood at the forefront of the change (Do I owe Obama money because I said change?).

Did you know that Kitna threw for over 4,000 yards in both 2006 and 2007. In 10 games last season, the 38-year old quarterback threw for almost 2,400 yards. It’s off pace, but winning doesn’t happen alone. He had a running game to help out. Last time Hasselbeck had a world-class running game, he threw for 24 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and just under 3,400 yards passing. That was the year the Seahawks lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Fortunately, that experience will only help Hasselbeck move this team forward.

This is the same guy that threw 4 touchdowns against the Super Bowl defending New Orleans Saints in the playoffs this year, THIS YEAR. You got that?

Add in the effect that Hasselbeck will have on rookie Jake Locker’s development and the mentor role becomes priceless, though I’m not sure I would have payed Hasselbeck $21 million over 3 years (guaranteed $$$ a ? at this point). He will certainly add a welcome presence that helps win ballgames, and that’s what it’s about, right? Winning? Maybe slightly different than Charlie Sheen’s take on things, but winning works here.

Topics: Jon Kitna, Matthew Hasselbeck

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