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On Matt and on without Matt

Matt is playing better this season than he has in seasons past, but it's the overall improvement of the offense that is most exciting.
Matt is playing better this season than he has in seasons past, but it's the overall improvement of the offense that is most exciting.

My next post will wrap up the second quarter, which was packed, and then the next two posts will cover the third quarter. Tomorrow I'll cover the fourth quarter and special teams.

Before I get to that, let's talk Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks offense.

In the rush to point out that Hasselbeck is reaching the end of his contract and how that sort of settles whether Hasselbeck is a part of the Seahawks future or not, I want to step back and point out: Matt Hasselbeck through three games has played much better than he ever did in 2008 or 2009. He might not be a great quarterback and when he bombs out like he did in Denver, he might not seem like even a serviceable quarterback, but that's exactly what he is, a serviceable quarterback. Hasselbeck is mediocre to just a bit better than. Though his arm strength is well south of ideal, healthy Hasselbeck is hitting passes, like the thirty-yard zinger into the right flat that Deion Branch caught and fumbled into the end zone, that he has not been able to make in recent years. His arm strength is a weakness rather than a crippling weakness, he's hitting open receivers, mostly, and he is confidently executing the game plan. Matt has graduated from game manager in the pejorative to game manager in the complimentary.

Jeremy Bates deserves a lot of credit as does Pete Carroll and the Seahawks shift in how they handle camp and preseason. Matt is healthy and a healthy Hasselbeck is a completely different quarterback. Some of Matt's improved perceived performance is improved talent around him. Tyler Polumbus has performed better than any left tackle Seattle started last season. Bates has game planned and adjusted and protected his weakest links and emphasized his strongest. Hasselbeck is facing less interior pressure and that's allowing him to step into throws. Arm strength isn't a constant but a range, and Hasselbeck ranges towards adequate when he's healthy and he can step into throws. Mike Williams may not be producing like a number one receiver, but he seems to be drawing coverage and allowing players around him to have favorable matchups. It's a better offense, a better coached offense, Matt is healthy and he is playing fairly well, but, for the first time in as long as I can remember, the offense is growing up independent of Hasselbeck. Whether it's Whitehurst or someone else, Seattle's next franchise quarterback will inherit a young, talented, emerging unit with excellent potential.