For Matt Hasselbeck, a change of scenery has worked out amazingly so far. The veteran quarterback signed with Tennessee after Seattle decided they want to go in a different direction. It appeared that his best days were behind him. Since his 28 touchdown season in 2007, Hasselbeck battled injuries and the decay of the Seahawks’ roster, completing only 58.5% of his passes for 6.35 yards per attempt, while throwing 10 more interceptions than touchdowns.
When he went to Tennessee, Hasselbeck, who just turned 36, was seen as a placeholder for Jake Locker, the Titans’ first round pick. The Titans had Kenny Britt, but no one was going to compare the offensive unit in Tennessee to the best teams in the league. Maybe we missed the cues that the seeds for good passing production were there with an upgrade at quarterback. Vince Young averaged 8.0 yards per attempt last year, while Kerry Collins managed 6.6 yards per attempt, and we’ve seen what happened to Collins when he changed teams.
Hasselbeck didn’t look very good in a season opening loss at Jacksonville, with numbers boosted by the one long touchdown pass to Britt. The next game, though, he came out and put up a huge performance against the Ravens, throwing for 358 yards (the other three QB’s to face Baltimore have thrown for a combined 490 yards on 4.5 yards per attempt). Hasselbeck has played well for three straight games and the Titans are now 3-1.
How good has Hasselbeck been? Among quarterbacks 35 or older, it ranks among the best 4 game starts in history, with names like Y.A. Tittle, Rich Gannon, Brett Favre, John Brodie, Steve Young, and John Elway.
He’s certainly not the only reason the Titans are off to a good start. The defense has allowed the fewest points in the league, holding opponents to 5.1 net yards per pass and 3.2 yards per rush. With Hasselbeck, though, finding the fountain of youth on his way to Nashville, the Titans are legitimate contenders to play with the Texans all year in the AFC South. They will have to overcome the loss of Kenny Britt, but Matt Hasselbeck sure looks to be playing much better and providing a stability at the quarterback position that was sorely lacking.
[photo via Getty]
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