Hasslin' Hasselbeck? A Gentle Reminder
Sometimes we forget.
And in those times we must be reminded.
You know...a reality check, if you will.
Like that firm but loving smack upside the head from your parents that brought you back down to reality.
C'mon, don't lie we all remember those times.
Well, consider this your smack upside the head Seattle. Your reality check.
There's an incredible trend among the Seattle faithful that's becoming rather....well, unbelievable.
The books of the 2009 NFL season have yet to even be opened and already we seem to have given up on our very own #8.
And why, I ask?
The 2009 draftees have yet to even step foot on the field and already we're looking ahead to the 2010 Draft to lay claim in the McCoy-Bradford-Tebow sweepstakes.
Again I ask, why?
It's bad enough the rest of the NFL barely considers him an elite quarterback, but not us, Seattle, we can't lose faith in him too.
Have we forgotten all what Matt Hasselbeck has done for this franchise?
This is the same guy who has led our team to five consecutive playoff appearances—including a trip to the Super Bowl—the past six seasons.
This is the same guy who battled through all the blown calls and Jerramy Stevens blunders in Super Bowl XL, making the throws when they had to be made to keep us in the game.
The same guy who fought his way back from near MCL surgery to salvage a doomed season and lead us to within a field goal of another NFC Conference Championship game.
The same guy who said "We want the ball and we're gonna score!" in front of thousands at Lambeau and....lost.
That's right, lost!
But that's exactly why we love him. Or, at least, why we should.
Because he will go drive for drive with a Favre in the freezing cold and snow at Lambeau. Fearlessly.
Because he will battle it out with a Roethlisberger until the very end.
Because he will stand in there against a stout Redskins defense and win, twice!
Because he carried us when there was no Shaun Alexander.
Because he kept us in games when there was no running game at all.
Because he has always given us a chance when everyone else gave us none.
Simply because he gives it his all.
Simply because he just won't quit.
Simply because he is Seattle!
Like it or not.
So why is it that so many of us are writing Hasselbeck off?
Some point to injuries.
Yes, he's been injured the past two seasons, but what QB in this league hasn't? The extent of his injuries throughout his career does not match this early clamoring for his replacement. He's been fortunate to have such a relatively good bill of health this far into his career.
Aside from his back problem last season—which is fine now—Matt hasn't suffered injuries that were too serious. The knee and shoulder injuries he suffered three years ago are all healed. The only concern now is his back, which I believe is no concern at all. Matt Hasselbeck will be fine in '09, ladies and gentlemen.
So is that it? A little back injury and we're ready to jump ship on him? You have to believe that can't be fair. It's not like he's had the concussion-filled career of Young and Aikman; now those were injuries. Matt's given us six to seven quality seasons, surely we can spare him one.
Some point to his age.
Hasselbeck will be 34 heading into this season. No big deal. People tend to forget he wasn't a starter during the early days of his career. When he was drafted by the Packers he sat behind a guy named Favre.
Enough said there.
He then took to the bench again behind Trent Dilfer when he arrived to Seattle, so he is a youthful 34 and hasn't really taken the beating of a true 34 year old starting QB. Matt is nowhere near calling it a career, let me be the first to say he has 3-4 good years left in him. And I repeat, good years.
So for all of you Hasselbeck naysayers out there, just who do you have in mind to replace him?
Some speculated that we should trade him away to Minnesota at the end of the season—of all places—and pick up Sanchez in the draft.
Some were hell-bent on Stafford.
And some are salivating this very moment over next year's draft to land either McCoy, Bradford, or Tebow.
I don't know why.
Some envision greener pastures with these guys, but the only thing greener are these guys themselves.
It just doesn't make sense to cast off a proven veteran franchise QB in favor of an unproven rookie who's yet to throw one NFL pass.
Hasselbeck has been to the mountain top as well as the valley low. He's taken us to the Super Bowl and he's had his dog days with us. The resilience of this team starts with him because of that, and no rookie QB will immediately replace that. Replacing him with either one of those guys would be to literally set ourselves back four years and would be a huge slap in his face, to the franchise, and to the city of Seattle.
Let's not get carried away with Matt Ryan's success, folks. That kind of thing only happens once in a very blue moon.
First round QBs are dangerous game anyway and they are usually more miss than hit. Those three have achieved great college success but that doesn't mean it will translate to NFL success. Chances are they won't be as dominant here, not even close to the level of success Matt has created here, so why even consider them?
So it's no surprise I'm no proponent of first round QBs. It's the guys like Hasselbeck that are found in the depths of the draft who turn out to be your anchors, the guys who everyone overlooks. Even "gurus" like Kiper, Jr. get it wrong sometimes, as he did with Matt.
So more than likely Hasselbeck's future replacement will be someone unassuming, someone from the depths of the draft just like him.
Not the over-hyped kid out of Georgia.
Not some gunslinger down in Texas.
Nor the sensation down in Florida.
The polished Pro-ready rookie from Oklahoma, not quite.
No, not even the bright star from Southern California.
But probably someone like Mike Teel. Someone without all the glitz and glam, someone who's seen the highs and lows, someone who gives it all he's got. So let's start there, if anywhere.
But for right now, Seattle, we should be rallying around our starting quarterback, not trying to pawn him off.
We should have Hass's back instead of pointing to it.
So quit all that 2010 Denver draft pick talk and let's focus on our team and what we can do this year.
Let's get behind Hasselbeck 100 percent like we should because he deserves it from us. Because the success of this team starts with him. He's given nothing but his all to us for so many years, Seattle, so how about some reciprocity.
There's nothing wrong with searching for his future replacement, but the operable word there being future. Trying to replace him before his time, however, is the problem! Hasselbeck's tenure is nowhere near finished, guys. Expect him to be around a few more years. Until then, how dare we try to cast him off prematurely!
Besides, if there's anyone who we should be discussing to replace in next year's draft, it's Julius Jones in the run game. He's truly the main concern, not Matt!
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