Hasselbeck Doing All He Can
Matt Hasselbeck (Getty)

Posted Dec 10, 2009


They usually spend Tuesday afternoons together, formulating the beginnings of an offensive game plan involving the passing game for the team's next opponent.

Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp said he and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck have had the early-week, game-planning sessions since the season began. "I give him my general thoughts," Knapp said. "We'll watch some tape together. We'll usually pick some part of the game plan or some part of their defense that we need to watch together to formulate the thought process of what you're comfortable with, what I'm comfortable with."

It's the first time Knapp has had those weekly meeting with his quarterback since he's been an offensive coordinator, which dates back to his time with Steve Young in San Francisco. "This has been really good for both of us, because it's helped us get on the same page faster, and I get a feel for what he's really comfortable with," Knapp said.

And it's just another example of Hasselbeck's commitment to helping the Seahawks improve. The 34-year-old quarterback has endured his fair share of injuries this season, missing two games because of a rib injury and playing through a shoulder injury for the last four games. And he's struggled with the lack of pass protection from a patchwork offensive line in the early part of the season, although even with Seattle starting the same five players up front for the past four weeks the pass protection hasn't improved.

Even against San Francisco last week, Hasselbeck was sacked five times and under pressure most of the contest. But he managed to complete 11 of 12 pass attempts in the fourth quarter, including a 32-yard pass to rookie receiver Deon Butler on the final drive of the game that set up the game-winning field goal by Olindo Mare.

Hasselbeck finished with a 107.2 passer rating, but felt like he still should have played better under the circumstances. The Seattle quarterback did not participate in practice on Wednesday after taking a hit while scrambling for a first down on a third-quarter run against San Francisco. Even though he got dinged up on the play, Seattle head coach Jim Mora said that's why he likes having Hasselbeck under center.

"One side of me said, "Gosh, I wish he wouldn't do that,'" Mora said. "But one side of me says, 'Dang, I respect him for doing that.' ... I mean you love the attitude, but you don't necessarily like to see your quarterback get hit like that."

Mora and Knapp also talked on Wednesday about how the poor pass protection has not allowed Hasselbeck to get to his third and fourth progression in his reads downfield. "We've got to find a way offensively to give him a little more time," Mora said. "To give him a little better pocket to step up into and throw the ball down field, and that's a point of emphasis for us."

SERIES HISTORY: 2nd meeting. Seattle leads the series 1-0. The Seahawks won the game at Qwest Field in 2005, 42-10.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Seattle head coach Jim Mora addressed the lack of production from second-year tight end John Carlson while talking to reporters on Wednesday. Carlson led the team in receptions last season with 55, but currently is third on the team in receptions with 37, and only has three catches in his last, three games.

"What I kind of concluded is that John, quite frankly, needs to improve his second level releases," Mora said. "And that's after he gets off the line of scrimmage clearing the linebackers. He gets bumped around a little bit. He's kind of a linear-built guy and people have bumped him around a little bit. And so John as he develops will learn how to play with his pads lower as he gets to the second level and that will create some separation for him."

--Mora went into some detail talking about the team's uniforms this week. Seattle's head coach said the lime green uniforms the team debuted against Chicago earlier this season were being retired, mainly because the team lost to the Bears 26-19. "What I like is the Seahawk blue," Mora said. "I won't say I don't like those, but I like our Seahawk blue with the accent of the lime green. And I can't believe we're talking about uniforms. But I brought it up, it's my fault."

Mora also talked about a different color blue pants the team wore last week against San Francisco with the lime green accent, saying the players felt more comfortable wearing the pants because of the fabric, compared to the other pants. The Seahawks also have changed to wearing blue pants with their road, white uniforms instead of going with an all-white uniform with blue helmets on the road.

"It's a little thing, but it does matter," Mora said about the blue pants.

--Mora said he has a good relationship with interim general manager Ruston Webster, who replaced Tim Ruskell last week when he stepped down. "He's a good football man, a good personnel man," Mora said about Webster, stating the transition has been pretty seamless.

BY THE NUMBERS: 576 -- The number of passing yards Matt Hasselbeck needs in the final four games to move past Dave Krieg for the top spot on the franchise's all-time list. Krieg passed for 26,132 yards from 1980-91. Hasselbeck has 25,557 since joining the Seahawks in 2001.

9 -- The number of sacks Seattle's improving defense has in the last two games.

4 -- The number of turnovers Seattle's defense has created in the last two games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Yeah, I like the throwbacks. The silver on those uniforms, it's sharp." -- Seahawks rookie receiver Deon Butler saying he'd like Seattle to wear the throwback uniforms at some point during his career with the team.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Seattle placed offensive tackle Kyle Williams on the practice squad/injured reserve with a knee issue on Tuesday, and then used the vacant spot on the practice squad to add defensive tackle Marlon Favorite. The Carolina Panthers signed the 6-foot-1, 317-pounder out of LSU as a free agent after April's draft. Favorite also spent time on the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs practice squads.

PLAYER NOTES

--DL Cory Redding (concussion) practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday and should be ready to play on Sunday.

--C Chris Spencer (thumb) was a full participant in practice but is still snapping with his left hand because of the thumb injury.

--LB D.D. Lewis (knee) did not practice and had his right knee drained with the hopes of being ready to play on Sunday.

--RB Julius Jones fully participated in practice and was not listed on the injured report, after playing in his first game after missing two contests with a bruised lung.

GAME PLAN: The Texans are 22nd against the run, giving up an average of 119 yards a contest, so look for Seattle to try and get the ground game going against Houston. Defensively, Seattle has to figure out a way to shut down Houston's big receiver Andre Johnson, so expect the Seahawks to use several different players on Johnson and to continue to try and put pressure on dinged up Houston quarterback Matt Schaub.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Texans WR Andre Johnson, who has ran for 70 catches for 1,044 yards and six TDs, vs. Seahawks CB Marcus Trufant. Seattle's top corner has eight defensive penalties on him in just six games, but still will provide the most resistance to Houston's big-play receiver Johnson. Even so, expect Trufant to get a lot of help.

Texans DE Mario Williams vs. Seattle OT Sean Locklear. Williams has a groin injury, but still has six sacks on the season. Locklear has continued to struggle since returning from a high-ankle sprain, as the Seahawks gave up five sacks to San Francisco last week.

INJURY IMPACT: If linebacker D.D. Lewis and defensive end Cory Redding return, Seattle should have all 53 players available on Sunday.


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