Matt Hasselbeck Thinks It Would Be ‘Unfortunate’ If There Was Any Changes Made With The Seahawks Coaching StaffJanuary 6, 2010 – 7:45 am by Michael Bean
Well, year one of the Jim Mora Jr. era sure wasn’t much to write home about. The Seattle Seahawks finished the 2009 season 5-11 after losing their season finale against the Tennessee Titans 17-13 this past Sunday. The Seahawks finished with double digit losses for the second time in as many years following a string of successful – some might say dominant – years out West in the NFC. It’s not like there were overly lofty expectations for this year’s Seahawks team, but I don’t care who you are or what stage of the rebuilding process you may be in, nobody’s content with a 5-11 season in the National Football League. Now the offseason begins for the Seahawks, and it’s an important one for the future of this recently very proud and competitive franchise.
Seattle holds the 6th and 14th pick in the 2010 Draft and they have a slew of important personnel decisions to make then, as well as during free agency leading up the Draft. That includes whether or not they’re confident in proceeding forward with head coach Jim Mora Jr. and veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck joined Brock & Salk on ESPN 710 in Seattle to talk about his remarks made in the heat of the moment about the lack of togetherness of this Seahawks team, how he thinks it would be a mistake if there were changes made to the coaching staff, how he thinks he can improve individually, and how he believes in this team if they can all buy in to what they’re trying to accomplish collectively.
On his comments following the final loss of the season where he said that the team failed to buy in 100% to the new system and regime in Seattle this year:
“Yeah, I think you’re right. Sometimes, I mean, here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter what you did on another team. It doesn’t matter what I did on another team. It doesn’t even matter what you think is right. All that matters is what we’re doing on this team, and how we’re doing it this year, on this play. You know, that’s how we have to treat every play, every game, every situation, every practice, every meeting. You know, we all got to be together. And I don’t know the answer to that. It’s more of a question than me saying this is our problem. But you know, that’s one of the things that you need to do. Teams change their offense all the time, or their defense, new schemes. The ones that work though are the ones that players buy in and do what they’re supposed to do. Do what they’re told to do. They don’t question the authority above them. And that’s partly what I meant by that. Is that a problem? I don’t know. Is that something that’s important? Absolutely.”
On if it’s just a ‘matter of time’ in Seattle or if there’s simply not enough talented and committed team players on this particular Seattle roster:
“I just know this – when Mike Holmgren would talk about how the team in San Francisco that he was one of the coaches with, how they turned the corner…and I remember him giving us this speech here in Seattle when we had not yet turned the corner, and he talked about what – all of a sudden we had Ronnie Lott came on board, and Jerry Rice came on board and Joe Montana came on board, and he started naming all these guys that came on board and they were a coach’s dream. The kind of guy that a coach would just love to have, and you know, we eventually got those kinds of guys here. I think it was that year that we kind of got rid of some guys that had a lot of talent but weren’t necessarily a coach’s dream. Then all of a sudden, we replaced a 1st round pick a really fast receiver, with a Joe Jurevicius, or on defense at linebacker, there was a 1st round pick, a bigtime name linebacker that we were replacing with Lofa Tatupu. Guys that were just a coach’s dream. And I think we have guys in our locker room that are that. You know, that are fun to coach, fun to be around but as a player, you’re still human. You’ve got to make a conscious decision to really commit and buy in to what you’re coach is telling you to do, and to some extent trust him. This guy knows what he’s doing, he’s not an idiot. You know, we’ve got to have trust here. And I think that’s something that I didn’t do initially when I got here. It’s really easy to do it your own way when you’ve had success somewhere else. And you know, that’s just an example and again, I don’t know that’s an issue, I just know that’s something that each of us has to look at.”
On what he thinks he can do individually to improve upon from this past season:
“Well, you know, I think I had two games 14 and 15, the turnover issue was huge. I’m not necessarily saying we would have won those games, but I gave us no chance to with 4 turnovers in each of those games. And that’s just critical. As a quarterback, that’s just absolutely critical. Another area that I don’t know what I would do differently or what I could do differently, but it’s something that I got to study this offseason – is our red zone production. I just felt like Olindo Mare had a great year this year, again, but we walked away with 3 points instead of touchdowns way too often. And then something that I’ve really prided myself on is turnovers in the red zone. I think that’s been a strength of mine and then this year, it was not a strength of mine at all. So you know, those are some things right off the bat that really as a quarterback are absolutely crucial no matter what going on; those things are non-negotiables.”
On what he thinks of the current Seahawks coaching staff:
“I do like our coaching staff, I like them a lot. I don’t think that…they’re human, I’m sure there are some things that they will be hard on themselves about; critique themselves; self-scout as they call it. But for me, I really don;t think that that was our problem at all. I think we’ve got a great group of guys, an experienced group of guys that yet at the same time, have got energy and all that kind of stuff. And I really think each guy in the locker room would say, if asked, hey, do you respect your coach? Yes, I respect my coach. Was it easy or fun to play for your coach this year? Well, not really, he rode me pretty hard and made it uncomfortable for me. And that’s okay. As long as you respect your coach and are learning from your coach, and he makes it uncomfortable, then that’s okay. And I see all of those things and also I think we’re starting to get it. We’re starting to get it and really grow with them, so it would be unfortunate if anything changed.”
Listen here to Hasselbeck with Brock and Salk on ESPN 710 in Seattle (36:55 into podcast)