Clayton: Starting Hasselbeck is the right move

Dec 20, 2010, 6:43 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:54 pm

Matt Hasselbeck

By Michael Simeona, intern

After suffering through one of the worst performances of his 12-year career, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck may have finally caught a break.

Head coach Pete Carroll announced in his press conference Monday that Hasselbeck (above) will remain the starter against Tampa Bay next week despite eight turnovers in the past two games. Hasselbeck’s 10-of-17 passing for 71 yards and two interceptions was maybe his worst performance of the season. He was benched late in the third quarter in favor of the backup, Charlie Whitehurst.

While the decision to keep Hasselbeck as starter may inhibit the organization’s future plans to give Whitehurst more reps, it gives the team the best opportunity to win right now with only two games left in the regular season. Considering the Seahawks only need to win one out of their next two games to make the playoffs – granted they must defeat St. Louis in Week 17 – ESPN senior NFL analyst John Clayton thinks that Carroll made the right decision.

“I think that Matt has put himself in a position where he’s pretty much at the crossroads of where he is going to be as far as (the) Seattle quarterback for now and in the future,” said Clayton. “He can’t continue to make the mistakes. But, when you really look at it, I think what you can see is the decision to go to him is not one of support necessarily for Matt Hasselbeck as it is maybe a little bit of an indictment on what they see of Charlie Whitehurst, because I think if there was a glimmer of thought that Whitehurst could outperform Hasselbeck, you’d see Whitehurst out there.”

Hasselbeck’s 28.9 quarterback rating against Atlanta was the second worst of his career, and his 17 interceptions through 13 games matches his total from last season. At 35 years old Hasselbeck isn’t getting any younger, and with free agency impending, his future in Seattle may not last very long. Making a change at quarterback this late in the season – with a playoff berth on the line no less – doesn’t make much sense to Clayton.

“Certainly Matt has put himself in a position to be benched, there’s no question. I mean he’s been making too many mistakes, and if a veteran quarterback can’t pull you out of these things and causes more mistakes than good plays, then you put yourself (in a position) where you’re going to get benched. But, when you look at it in the long run, making the playoffs is so vital.

“I don’t care if it’s a (record of) 7-9, 6-10, 6-9-1, you want to at least have that playoff game under your record just for the organizational standpoint. So if Matt can do it against a very vulnerable Tampa Bay team and a St. Louis team that has trouble winning on the road, I think this is the right decision as controversial as it is.”

With two upcoming games against Tampa Bay and St. Louis, respectively, the Seahawks’ playoff fate lies in their own hands. The Buccaneers have lost six starters to season-ending injuries, while the Rams have been outscored 125-171 in road games this season. Knowing the Seahawks have as good a shot at making the playoffs then anybody else in the division, the decision to start Hasselbeck was a no-brainer in Clayton’s mind.

“There’s two wins hanging out there. If you thought Charlie could win you those two games, you go for it. They doubt it. That’s why they are going for Hasselbeck.”

Wyman & Bob

Wyman and Bob

Seattle Mariners trade deadline Jonathan India...

Brent Stecker

MLB Network’s Morosi: Mariners trade fits for the bat they need

A few potential trade targets came to MLB Network's Jon Morosi mind after hearing what Jerry Dipoto said about the Seattle Mariners' trade deadline plans.

15 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Jarred Kelenic...

Mike Lefko

Lefko: The Mariners are looking at a season-defining stretch

If the Seattle Mariners are going to make a move in the standings, five series coming up in the next month will be of utmost importance.

2 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith...

Brent Stecker’s Edholm: Seahawks one of league’s most complete teams's Eric Edholm ranks the Seattle Seahawks as the NFL's ninth most complete team. He explained why to Wyman and Bob.

4 days ago

Seattle Mariners Bryce Miller...

Brandon Gustafson

Mariners rookie Bryce Miller chats about historic start, fastball, more

Seattle Mariners rookie Bryce Miller joined Wyman and Bob to discuss his great start to his MLB career, his fastball usage and more.

8 days ago

Seattle Mariners Teoscar Hernandez...

Brandon Gustafson

Morosi: Why Mariners can start to shoot up the standings

During his weekly chat with Wyman and Bob, Jon Morosi shared a few reasons he can see the Seattle Mariners making a run up the standings.

9 days ago

Seattle Kraken Shane Wright...

Brandon Gustafson

Morosi: ‘The big question’ with the Kraken focuses on Shane Wright

The biggest question surrounding the Seattle Kraken right now has to do with center prospect Shane Wright, last year's No. 4 pick.

15 days ago

Clayton: Starting Hasselbeck is the right move