In a recent interview with Jim Wyatt of the Tennesseean, Titans free agent QB Kerry Collins expressed a desire to return to the Titans. However, I wanted to look at other options, just in case a reunion does not happen as Collins has no guarantee to return to the team. So, in the event that he does not, who should the Titans take a good, hard look at? Matthew Hasselbeck, quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks.
A quick side note: Most refer to him as Matt Hasselbeck, but I saw an interview where he got frustrated because he does not like being called ‘Matt’, he prefers ‘Matthew’. So, in the interest of both ‘Matt’ and my own sarcasm….we’ll continue.
First, it depends what role we are looking at. Do we want a starter or a veteran presence to play backup?
Rookie quarterback Jake Locker enters the 2011 season as an unproven commodity. Should the Titans give Locker the starting position based only off his draft status and their desire to develop the youth on the offensive side of the ball, or should they bring in a veteran as a stop-gap for the upcoming season with Locker hopefully winning out the starting job before seasons end?
There are a lot of questions surrounding this issue. For this article, I’ll assume that Locker will start. With the Titans needing a veteran behind Locker, at least for one season, a few big names come to mind: Matthew Hasselbeck (Seahawks), Marc Bulger (Ravens), and Donovan McNabb (Redskins). Today, Hasselbeck goes under the microscope.
Hasselbeck will be 36 in September, entering his 13th NFL season. Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1998, Hasselbeck relocated to the Seattle Seahawks after Green Bay traded him in 2001. He is the second of three Brett Favre backups to go on to do big things. The 1st being Mark Brunell (Jaguars) and the third being Aaron Rodgers, who succeeded Favre in Green Bay.
Hasselbeck laid claim to the starting position for good after starting 13 games in 2011 and following that with 16 in 2002. His long embattlement with incumbent starter Trent Dilfer had ended.
Hasselbeck would go on to make the Pro Bowl (NFL’s all star game) 3 times, first in 2003, then 2005 and 2007. In 2005 Hasselbeck was voted to the more prestigious All-Pro team. That year saw him earn the highest passer rating in the NFC (98.2)and an eventual Super Bowl loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In 2006, Hasselbeck played through injuries. He first missed 4 games due to a sprained right MCL and then played through broken fingers in his non-throwing hand.
The last few years have not gone well for Hasselbeck. The 3,966 yards he threw in 2007 are but a memory when compared with the 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions he threw in 2010. Most view Hasselbeck as a quarterback that is past his prime and someone that you would only want in an emergency situation. Odd though, that he would then total 7 touchdowns and 1 interception in the playoffs following the 2010 season. Four of those touchdowns were against the defending Super Bowl Champions, the New Orleans Saints.
Hasselbeck’s career, while not finished yet, nears the end. If he decides to not return to Seattle, he should be a welcome addition to the Titans, in whatever role possible. His experience, which includes 11 playoff starts, could only add to Jake Locker. Plus, Hasselbeck is widely known as a great leader and presence in the locker room.
He’s also a pretty funny guy. I remember once at the Pro Bowl, Hasselbeck began to run a play with a few of the wide receivers and Brian Westbrook, playing for the Eagles at the time. Hasselbeck hit Westbrook in stride and when Westrbook returned, he thanked Hasselbeck for paying attention when the play was called. Hasselbeck got real serious and told him that ‘of course he payed attention’ and ‘it was good that Westbrook did too’ or something along that line. Westbrook then jogged off and Hasselbeck turned to the camera laughing and told us in tv land that he still had no idea what the play was, but good thing Westbrook was open….
Hasselbeck is currently leading the Seahawks workouts and head coach Pete Carrol has said once this off-season that re-signing Hasselbeck will be a top priority. However, Peter King of Sports Illustrated recently tweeted that Hasselbeck to Seattle will not happen. He also placed Hasselbeck to the Titans.
It’s not a bad idea, in fact, it may be a great one.