This question has been on my mind ever since the Tennessee Titans decided to sign Matt Hasselbeck. I wasn’t a huge fan of the team signing him but at the time they did not have much of a choice.
Hasselbeck went out and had one of his best seasons as a starter but the Titans missed out on a playoff berth. His stats were not very impressive and I started wondering how Hasselbeck compared to other QBs in the NFL over the last few seasons. I’ve always been a stats guy so I decided to do a little research on QBs from the last few seasons. My apologies for not creating a complex formula to show the effectiveness of QBs but I figured that the basics would do just fine.
I created a chart of quarterbacks that ranked in the top five in categories like completions, completion %, yards, touchdowns and QB rating. Below is the chart for the last three seasons. Check out the names highlighted in red. All of these guys have gone on to win a Super Bowl championship.
Amazing how often certain names constantly appear on the list. One name you did not see once on this list: Matt Hasselbeck. In fact, over the last five seasons Matt Hasselbeck has not finished in the top five in any of the categories listed above.
Quarterback play is the difference in winning a Super Bowl or being home for the playoffs. If the Titans are to make a Super Bowl run one of two things may need to happen. First, the other skill players around Hasselbeck will have to play much better. It’s obvious that he’s not a quarterback that can carry a team like the players highlighted above so guys like CJ, Britt, Washington and Cook will have to step their games up drastically. If they fail to step up their games then this next option will need to happen right away.
Start Jake Locker. In limited action last season Locker showed flashes of being a true franchise QB. He’ll need to improve his accuracy but the offense had a different look when he was in the lineup. The offense actually looked explosive for a change. The team invested a high first round selection on Locker. Top 10 picks should be difference makers on the field and not from the sidelines. I think we have already seen the best of Matt Hasselbeck for the Titans and it resulted in only a 9-7 record. Look back on the list above. This is the level of quarterback play needed to get to a Super Bowl. Do you feel that Hasselbeck can play on this level for the Titans? He has not displayed a high level of play over the last five years. It’s hard to imagine that the rest of his career will be any different.
The organization can’t afford to waste time in trying to figure out if Locker can be the next franchise QB for the Titans. The only way is to throw him out there with the first team and see how he performs. The next All-Pro quarterback could be on the team but we’ll never know if he continues to sit behind Hasselbeck.