Matt Hasselbeck: “If you’re not winning games, if you’re not successful, if you’re not playing at a high level – then they’re looking to replace you.”

June 2, 2010 – 9:00 am by Michael Bean

It’s an interesting time for the Seattle Seahawks organization. New coach, new upper management, and maybe even a new quarterback. Matt Hasselbeck will have something to say about that last bit, but the Seahawks suggested they’re starting to think about their quarterback of the future when they traded for San Diego Chargers third string quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and signed him to a healthy contract. Hasselbeck, who of course guided the Seahawks to prolonged success in the NFC earlier in the decade, has been roughed up and unable to regain his form the past several years. He started 14 games last year after missing half of the ’08 season, but he threw 17 INTs to just 17 TDs while leading his to an unacceptable 5-9 record.

Hasselbeck joined KJR in Seattle to talk about his hometown team the Celtics making the Finals, Seahawks OTAs, the signing of Charlie Whitehurst and how that has put him on ‘call’ that no job is safe, the recent time off that Pete Carroll gave the team, his frequent use of Twitter, and how rookie wide receiver Golden Tate has looked good thus far this spring.

On if he’s a Celtics fan and if he’s excited about the Finals:

“Oh absolutely. I think for the last week all the Celtics fans and all the Lakers fans were like, shoot, let’s just get this over with, we know what’s going to happen. So it’s very exciting, there’s a lot of history there, and mutual respect, but also probably a little bit of mutual hate when it comes to the rivalry and that kind of thing. But it’s really exciting.”

On why practices this time of year in the NFL are called OTAs rather than what they are – practices:

“That’s a great question. Again, it’s an intelligence thing. For awhile they said we’re going to do 14 OTAs and everybody was like, hey, sounds good. But actually it’s been great. It’s been really good. We had a scrimmage, a spring game type of set up – blue vs. white. We elected captains. Steve Vallos on one side, Chris Spencer on the other; had a coin toss; had refs. We’re not in pads so we’re taking care of each other, you know, protecting each other, but we kind of had a big spring game type thing. And then he actually, Pete gave us the whole week off. So a lot of guys kind of just took the week off and then Memorial Day, and then this week some guys are still around. But we’ve been busting our butts, working really hard and it was time for a break. He was like hey you guys have earned it, get away, you’ve done everything we’ve asked you to do, just keep doing what we’re asking you to do and you’re going to see results. So I think we all believe in it, and that’s a huge part of the puzzle, just believing you can do it, believing in the guys in charge and that’s where we’re at right now.”

On if the signing of Charlie Whitehurst has him extra focused this spring:

“Well definitely. I think everything that’s happened from the shock that we got when they made the head coaching change – it was sort of like whoa, everybody be on alert, the last two years have not been good enough. It was probably unfair to put it on one guy like that, but it was basically like everybody should be on notice. And that’s what it’s been. We’ve had more roster turnover this offseason than I can ever remember. Ever remember hearing about on any team, never mind just our team. I think it’s one of those things. Guess what guys? We’re trying to make changes. We’re trying to make changes, trying to change the atmosphere around here, change how you guys have been going, you guys have been going downhill, we’re trying to make a 180 degree and go uphill and get back on top. So I think everybody’s been on notice, myself, it’s just one of those things where if you’re not winning games, if you’re not successful, if you’re not playing at a high level – then they’re looking to replace you. Now hopefully, everybody just answers the call and has the best year they’ve ever had and all that. And I think that’s Pete’s job. Pete’s job is to sort of change the culture, sort of get guys in the right direction, and if you want to be with us cool, and if not then we’ll find somebody to replace you.”

On his frequent use of Twitter:

“It’s kind of fun to get a one-on-one conversation going with some guys you’ve played against; some guys you like or you don’t know, or even in other sports. Ryan Rowland-Smith would be an example. I didn’t really know him, we had some mutual friends, we hooked up on Twitter a little bit, hung out once or twice. He’s a great guy, I root for him right now, hopefully the Mariners can get things going again. It’s just a great opportunity to talk to other people and just be friends on a short-term, quick basis.”

On if it’s crazy to think that Golden Tate’s big game moxie will translate to the NFL level:

“Well no it’s not crazy. They drafted him high for a reason. They’re going to give him every opportunity. It’s just a matter of is he…it just depends on if he’s going to take advantage of those opportunities. So far in the OTAs, he has taken advantage of those opportunities. He’s made some big plays. And that’s one thing every team in the NFL is looking for. They’re looking for playmakers. They’re looking for not only guys who can play at this level, but they’re looking for guys who can be the difference maker and can win you games. And I think we’ve seen pieces of that from him so far.”

Listen here to Hasselbeck with The Gas Man on KJR in Seattle

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