Hasselbeck: The quarterback leads the way

The quarterback is the leader of the offense and the great ones are considered coaches on the field. The Seahawks are blessed to have one of the best in the league in Matt Hasselbeck, who is entering his eighth training camp, and he shared his thoughts about how the team is coming along, some of the new faces on the team and the things he's focusing on almost a week into training camp.

"There's so much I can improve on," Hasselbeck told the media following the team's morning session. "If you look at a typical game, there is always plays that you can be better at and sometimes it's something small that you may think doesn't really affect your game. Just a little thing like where your pitch hits the running back every time, its just one less thing you have to worry about if your pitch is always perfect he can have his eyes down field watching something he needs to watch and not worrying if your pitch is going to be ok.

"Jim Zorn makes sure that as a quarterback group, we take a lot of pride in those kinds of things, carrying out your fakes and obviously the decision making that comes with the quarterback position."

With Hasselbeck and backup Seneca Wallace getting most of the reps in camp, second-year QB David Greene and NFL Europe QB Gibran Hamdan have to make the most of the chances they get.

"It's tough for the younger quarterbacks because they don't get the snaps and they're being evaluated just as closely as everybody else," Hasselbeck lamented. "They have to get their work done and the drill work and the individual stuff. Unfortunately when we go to the team drills, the competitive drills, most of the time they're standing on the sideline and they'll get a chance to show us what they can do, but it probably won't be until our scrimmage on Saturday. They're going to have to play as well as they can without getting the reps during the week."

Another tough thing for the quarterback is that he is expected to know every position on the field at the same time. One might think that would cause the quarterback's play to suffer, but Hasselbeck claimed everything starts with knowing what everyone else is doing.

"I can't do my job if I don't know (where everyone is supposed to be)," Hasselbeck said matter-of-factly. "It's more difficult during training camp, when you have a lot of new faces and people are shuffling at different positions, you have a new center, new guard, new wide receiver, they're flip-flopping, and different running backs. It's just the nature of training camp and you have to work through it.

"Our coaches are installing so many plays and so many formations every night, to stay on top of the studying part of it, I know, has been tough for me. It's got to be tough for the younger guys and the new guys."

To the casual fan, the intricacies of the quarterback position aren't as noticeable as they are to those who have either played the position or coached it. Hasselbeck said that his cadence is a big concern as he eases his way back into playing shape – both physically and mentally.

"I have no voice right now, so it's very important," Hasselbeck said. "It's a weapon. I think in my first meeting here with Jim he said ‘alright, cadence is a weapon, and we're going to use it as a weapon.'

"We have different cadences that we use, we audible quite a bit, we pretend to audible quite a bit and it gives you such an advantage as an offense when a guy jumps offsides, or even just nudges as an offensive lineman. Walter Jones will say when a guy gives away where his first move is going, it's over. I know what he's going to do I know how to get him.

"It's up to us as a quarterback group to use that cadence, get in and out of the huddle, go on a quick count, go on a long count, and go on a hard count, all those things. We have to change that up to give our guys a chance."

One player that is getting lots of reps with Hasselbeck is WR Nate Burleson and the two have formed a nice bond that should help them during the season.

"It's good," Hasselbeck said, also mentioning Burleson's move from split end to flanker because of the absence of Darrell Jackson. "He's playing a new position than he played all summer. All summer long we were working out and he was playing a certain position and now he's playing a new one, so we just have to get on the same page that way and we're working through that. He's trying to stay up on the playbook as much as possible."

Another player making his presence felt is WR Peter Warrick who Hasselbeck said is way ahead of where he was last year.

"I think the biggest thing with him being full speed is that he knows what we're doing now," Hasselbeck said. "When he first got here, he got here midseason and it's a totally different offense than anything he's been in before. A lot of times when you're thinking you're not playing real fast and now he is not thinking so much and he's playing fast.

"He's a great competitor whenever we go offense versus defense, he has something to him, an intimidation factor, and he is a great player. We just haven't found ways to get him on the field quite yet, but I think it will happen."

One player that Hasselbeck said he missed is TE Jerramy Stevens who will be out until the third preseason game as he heals from offseason surgery on his knee. Two players who have benefited from Stevens' absence are Will Heller and Mike Gomez.

"Gomez made a real nice catch yesterday and Heller had a nice play today," Hasselbeck said. "Those guys are coming along; it's a tough job for those guys, getting all these snaps and not having been here, but it's also a great opportunity for them. Most of the new guys on the team are standing around watching most of the time and these guys are getting to learn by doing it.

"(Gomez) is a fast guy and Gibran Hamdan has been talking up all his Amsterdam Admirals teammates. I saw him play in Europe a little bit because I'd watch Gibran's games and he's definitely got some speed. I think the key for him and for everybody that's new is just to learn the nuances of what we do. It's a tough offense to learn because so much of it is predicated on the past and if you weren't here in the past you have no way to know it.

"Tight end is a tough position to learn because you have to learn all the blocking schemes for the running game, all the pass protection schemes because we ask you to do that too and you have to learn all the routes. Quarterback is tough to learn, but I would say tight end is right up there. You have just as much to think about and do and work in unison with the line, the quarterback, everybody and those are all new guys. Not one of them has been with us before, it is important that they keep playing the way they've been playing."

Hasselbeck and his teammates will continue their workouts tomorrow morning at 8:45 a.m. and are scheduled to take part in a full-team scrimmage on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Linebackers make impression: Hasselbeck shared his thoughts on the two linebackers who are expected to lead the defense this fall.

"(Lofa Tatupu) is a smart player," Hasselbeck noted. "He's got great instincts and he makes us better. It's hard because as an offensive player, I don't want to talk any trash; we get to go back at it tomorrow. They're playing well; they're making a lot of plays and it's just making us better and I think we're making them better too."

And on veteran free agent signee Julian Peterson, Hasselbeck said he's anxious to see how the defensive coaches are going to use the playmaking linebacker's skills.

"I don't know how specifically they're going to use him," Hasselbeck said. "He can do so many different things and it's kind of hard for me to say at this point, he's a good player. I know from going against him and having to prepare for him and study for him, the headache was always how are they going to decide to use him this week and it makes it tough to recognize him as an offensive line, also as a running back, quarterback. His versatility is pretty good."

SeahawkFootball.com Top Stories