Did Matt Hasselbeck Suffer a Leadership Vacuum?

Nick Reed ran away with our last poll, ending with 50% of votes. That means either a sizable portion of Field Gulls readership is here to troll me, a sizable portion of Field Gulls readership does not understand satire or farce, or a sizable portion of Field Gulls readership is mortally afraid of a scorned Nick Reed. Reed, in all actuality, is fighting for a roster spot. He might be the only name among the bunch that could somehow turn into a star, but he is also the mostly likely to never find a home in the NFL at any position.

Moving on, I present another question that I have been pondering for a while.

Matt Hasselbeck had perhaps his worst season as a pro last year, though the bad seasons are starting to stack up. Unlike seasons past, Hasselbeck was not a victim of injuries and injury-related decline. Hasselbeck actively injured himself. He made a poor decision, threw himself at Patrick Willis's feet and struggled up after a crunching tackle minus two intact ribs. He purportedly injured himself again attempting to tackle Louis Delmas after Delmas intercepted his pass, though I think that story was eventually rescinded or changed.

As best as I can tell, people fiercely defend Hasselbeck because he is the only quarterback to ever lead Seattle to the Super Bowl, and is the only Seahawks quarterback in many of our lifetimes, or at least the lifetime of our fanhood, that is or has been capable of leading the Seahawks to a Super Bowl. When Matt Hasselbeck is benched, cut, traded or retires, Seattle will again be in the position it has spent most of its existence: A great quarterback away from any kind of realistic title hopes. Even the dim and farfetched belief that Hasselbeck will recover and surge into a late-career prime somehow seems more realistic and tangible than rooting for a player that lacks a name or face.

Returning to the original premise here, I wonder: Did Matt Hasselbeck suffer from a leadership vacuum? Did he attempt too much? The scramble into Willis's elbow, would Hasselbeck have attempted something so high-risk, low-reward with Mike Holmgren on the sidelines? Matt's all-too frequent fool-brave scrambles that contributed to his career-high 11 fumbles, his lapse in decision making in general, his rush to return though he clearly wasn't healthy, was it all symptomatic of Hasselbeck attempting to put the team on his shoulders?

When Matt Hasselbeck made the terrible decision to attempt to scramble for a touchdown, a decision that did more to sink the Seahawks' season than any other minus maybe the hiring of Jim Mora, Mora was not critical. He wasn't critical when Hasselbeck tossed himself at Delmas's feet. I can not remember Mora ever criticizing Hasselbeck. It is as if he feared the backlash.

I am not sure that Pete Carroll will rectify the Seahawks leadership vacuum. He certainly has the charisma and name recognition. Whether Charlie Whitehurst has an ounce of meaningful potential or not, it was a bold and welcome move by Carroll to challenge Hasselbeck to earn his position as starting quarterback. It says "I'm in charge." I can't help but wonder if Matt doesn't welcome the change.

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