Hasselbeck has Titans in winning mode

FRIDAY, NOV. 18, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Peyton Manning has yet to do more than watch from the sideline for Indianapolis. Rookie Blaine Gabbert is the starter in Jacksonville.

And now Matt Schaub is out, possibly for the season, in Houston.

That leaves veteran Matt Hasselbeck in Tennessee the last veteran starting at quarterback in the AFC South. Could that be the difference for the Titans in a division they have won only twice, last time in 2008?

Coach Mike Munchak will only say the Titans are happy that Hasselbeck is playing well.

The Titans made signing the veteran for his 13th season their first priority after the NFL lockout ended in July.

Now former Seattle Seahawk Hasselbeck is having one of his best seasons yet with the Titans (5-4), a game and a half behind the Houston Texans in the AFC South.

The Titans visit Atlanta (5-4) on Sunday with a win closing the gap on idle Houston, and Hasselbeck needs 188 yards to reach 32,000 yards passing for his career.

The man who doesn’t get credit for the year he spent on the Green Bay practice squad in 1998 has thrown for 2,233 yards with 14 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.

“He knows what to do and he comes in every day and works hard so he’s a good leader,” the Titans’ Chris Johnson said. “He shows other people how to be a pro.”

Teaching rookie Jake Locker, the eighth pick overall out of Washington, how to be an NFL quarterback was part of the reason Tennessee signed Hasselbeck.

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