Jim Mora spoke about Matt Hasselbeck’s injury at the beginning of Moday afternoon’s press conference:
“You assume that Seneca will be playing on Sunday,” Mora said. “I’m not ready to make that assumption yet.”
All Seahawk fans are glad to hear the good news about their starting QB, but this is nonsense. There is no way that Matt Hasselbeck should start next Sunday’s game against the Bears. It would be extremely foolish to start him one week after sustaining a broken rib, especially judging by his reactions on the field last Sunday. Most of the news appears to be good.
The immediate worry was that there could be internal organ damage and that appears not to be the case. Though I am extremely annoyed at Hasselbeck I am also grateful that he is OK. It seems that the hit he took from Patrick Willis did NOT aggravate his back injury from last year. He does have the aforementioned broken rib, similar to an injury suffered this year by Donovan McNabb.
Actually these injuries are similar in many respects, most notably that they were the result of very dumb plays by veteran QB’s near the goal line. When Hasselbeck decided to run on that particular play (2nd down), the score was 13-3 and the Seahawks were driving inside the 20 yard line. The game was very much in reach with halftime looming. They scored a touchdown on the very next play. There is no reason for veteran QB’s to risk their bodies in a situation like this.
Hass can make a difference with his legs when he sees man coverage, but he needs to get down or out of bounds. Neither McNabb or Hasselbeck is 26 anymore and have to play as if they have actually been in the league all this time instead of making bonehead rookie mistakes like putting their bodies on the line without good reason. All offseason, all presseason the question was the health of the QB. The Seahawks played like they were shocked and deflated after Hass left the game, and the question now is whether Seneca Wallace can right the ship against Chicago. Frankly I think Mora’s comments on Hasselbeck’s availability for next week are a fairly obvious smokescreen.
I happen to think a great deal of Wallace. If I told you that my team’s backup QB had a 3-5 record while throwing for 1,532 yards and 11 touchdowns with three interceptions last year, you might think I was in pretty good shape for a few games here and there. Wallace is consistently underrated because of his height (5’11”). He has generally been squarely in Matt Hasselbeck’s shadow for his entire career in Seattle, and is known mostly for his foot speed.
There are huge problems with Wallace as the starter, most notably that the backup QB is now Mike Teel, a 6th round draft choice who has never started a regular season game. Wallace is not especially durable, and that is partly due to his size. The Seahawks had used some “wildcat” formations, but those will probably have to be shelved for now. He does not have the accuracy and timing on short throws that Hasselbeck does, and the playbook is different when Wallace is the starter.
Seneca does have good quickness and a very good arm on medium/deep throws, especially considering his overall size. He has shown real leadership for this team for several years in his role as the backup QB. He has accepted a backup role and worked hard to be valuable to the team even if he is not on the field. He’s athletic, in his prime, and he has shown real leadership. If he was 6’3” and 220 pounds he would probably be starting somewhere.
It would be extremely foolish to start Hasselbeck with a broken rib next week, and Seneca has to make the most of these opportunities. If Hasselbeck is fighting injury all season and Wallace does not win games, the team may be looking in very different direction at both starter and backup QB next year.