RENTON, Wash. – Matt Hasselbeck will return to the city where his NFL career started this weekend, and while he’s there he will almost assuredly become the Seahawks’ all-time leader in passing yards.
But priority No. 1 for Hasselbeck – over the nostalgia of Lambeau Field and the possibility of breaking another franchise record – is bouncing back from one of the worst games of his NFL career.
Hasselbeck threw four interceptions and had a head-scratching fumble in last week’s loss to Tampa Bay, and after the game tried to shoulder the blame for Seattle’s loss to the one-win Buccaneers.
On Monday, Hasselbeck was at the team’s practice facility ahead of Seahawks coach Jim Mora – not exactly a guy prone to sleeping in – to get to work on correcting the mistakes from the previous day.
“Matt Hasselbeck beat me here today,” Jim Mora said Monday. “That just kind of shows you what Matt’s all about. … He came in this morning and he told me, ‘Jim, I’m sorry.’ I said, ‘Matt, you never need to apologize to me. I apologize to you.’ I’m the head coach here, OK? So anything that goes on on that field or in this building with regards to the football team ultimately is my responsibility. I accept that responsibility. We’re all at fault here. There’s a good saying: Everyone’s at fault, no one’s to blame.”
A day later he locked himself in a film room to continue his studies. And by the time the Seahawks finished practice that afternoon, his offensive coordinator was convinced that Hasselbeck will be just fine when he returns to Green Bay.
“He bounced back,” Gregg Knapp said. “He was outstanding. He came in and watched the tape on his own while we were game planning. He came in, shut the door and said, ‘I’m sorry.’ He has showed me enough already this year that I know he’ll bounce back quickly.”
By the time Wednesday rolled around, Hasselbeck seemed like his old self, cracking jokes with the media and playing with so much enthusiasm in practice that he tried to tackle Lawrence Jackson when the defensive end intercepted a deflected pass.
“Well, you know, you just do,” Hasselbeck said when asked how he bounces back from a tough loss. “That’s just what you do. As a player in the NFL, you have another opponent coming up. Win or lose, that Sunday night, you enjoy it or lament over it a little bit, and then the next day, you get to work for the next opponent.”
Hasselbeck’s coaches said some of the quarterback’s struggles were the result of him trying to do too much to help an offense that has been ineffective of late.
It’s an excuse Hasselbeck wouldn’t lean on himself, especially when he was playing behind an offensive line that played better than it had in weeks.
“They played great,” he said. “I think that’s partly what made Sunday so disappointing for me, because they played so well, you know? And I didn’t. That didn’t help.”
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