Hasselbeck getting back in the groove

He missed four games with a sprained knee and the two games he's played since coming back haven't been the prettiest pieces of work, but Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck has led his team to two wins and they face a struggling Arizona Cardinals team on Sunday. Hasselbeck spoke with the media on Wednesday and touched on a myriad of topics including the defense he'll face in Phoenix.

"What they did against St. Louis, against Detroit, against some of the teams they've played this year, they confuse their opponent," Hasselbeck told the assembled media. "I think we have the advantage that we've played these guys a bunch, and we know them a lot better than we would know someone that's outside of our division.

"At the same time, they get creative on defense and we have to play our best football. Now I think we have a great plan and I feel good about what we're doing that way. I think we have some things that are going to work. But we have to go out and do that. And not think about it, just go out and play, and play hard, and play fast and execute well. That is a factor when you're going on the road."

One player on Hasselbeck's mind this weekend will be Cardinals S Adrian Wilson.

"He's their playmaker," Hasselbeck said matter-of-factly. "You can tell that he's the guy they want to make the plays. He's the guy around the ball. He's a very tall guy, very fast, very athletic. He's having a great year. But at the same time, we have some guys that can make plays too. So it should be a good matchup that way. But he's definitely a guy that we have to be aware of."

Another player that the Seahawks have to be aware of, even though he's a rookie, is QB Matt Leinart who seems to have found a bit of a comfort level in the Cardinals' offense. Last Sunday, in a win over the St. Louis Rams, Leinart passed for only 184 yards and a touchdown, but he got his first win by managing the game well, something he did almost to perfection in college.

"He's very confident in the pocket," Hasselbeck said. "For a young guy, for a rookie coming in and stepping in the way that he has he's been pretty good. He's a guy that has a presence about him. You can tell that he's comfortable being out there. He's comfortable playing quarterback in big games, stuff like that. I think he'll just continue to improve."

One of the players Hasselbeck may have back this week is WR Bobby Engram – head coach Mike Holmgren said he probably won't play this week – who has missed the past eight games while dealing with a Thyroid problem and the treatments that have been involved.

"I think, to me, he looks like himself," Hasselbeck noted. "He looks a lot stronger. He's put some muscle back on. He looks quicker. For me, you can throw Bobby out there at any point and I'd have a comfort level with him better than I have with anybody. It's just a matter of him getting out there.

"The sooner he can get back for me the better. I'm hopeful that his situation continues to improve and that we'll get him back."

A player the Seahawks could be without this weekend is FB Mack Strong who the team listed as questionable on this week's injury report and Hasselbeck said he hopes the 13-year veteran can come back sooner rather than later.

"You saw what happened in our game against Denver when Mack Strong went out," Hasselbeck said. "He does so much for us, and really he has no backup in (some) situations – it's him.

"He's been here forever. It makes it hard, but we have some guys that are filling in and doing a nice job. It's kind of a committee taking his place so to speak. That committee has to be ready to go."

One reason that Hasselbeck will miss strong is as an outlet receiver when the pass-protection breaks down.

"I think probably the coaching staff has to think about things differently," Hasselbeck said. "I'm going to go out and try to not think about things differently and execute the plays that are called. But there are certain things that Mack does really well, and a lot that we put on his plate, a lot of things that he has to adjust to on the fly – recognition, those kinds of things.

"Then also just being a great pass blocker. He's a guy that we put him up against anybody – D-lineman, safeties, linebackers, whoever, and that's not normal. We think a lot of him as a blocker that way."

Hasselbeck and the team will continue to prepare for their division showdown tomorrow and Friday before heading to Arizona on Saturday morning.

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