Losses are never good in a bottom line business like the NFL. But even though the Seahawks lost convincingly at New Orleans on Sunday they still left the Big Easy feeling confident that this team is starting to play their best football at the right time – down the final stretch of the season.
Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck expressed those sentiments during his post-game comments.
Hasselbeck said he’s excited that the offense is beginning to click, after weeks of sputtering during the early stages of the season as Seattle attempted to find its identity on that side of the ball.
The return of Russell Okung certainly helped stabilize the offensive line up front in terms of pass protection. Seattle still can’t effectively run the ball up front, which is one of the main reasons for their struggles inside the red zone, but Hasselbeck is playing with the most confidence I’ve seen since the 2007 season. And he’s showing that if given time, a good game plan and trust from his coaches to deliver the ball to the right spot, he can still be an effective signal caller in the league.
With six games left in the season and Hasselbeck in the final season of his contract. I think Seattle needs to seriously consider extending the 35-year-old quarterback a two-or-three-year deal to hang around while they continue their search for a quarterback of the future, even with the murky future of the 2011 season still undecided.
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll understands that despite two fumbles, eight penalties for 79 yards and a defense that did not play up to their usual performance, that they still competed with one of the best teams in the league.
“When you look at it, we only have a couple road games left on the season,” Carroll said. “So we do have a big opportunity here to go home and rally for a big finish. We need everybody involved. We need the crowd. We need our players and every factor working positively for us. Every game is going to be a dogfight. You can look at it any way you want – they’re all going to be ridiculously challenging for us, and it starts up next week.
“We walk out of here really disappointed because we wanted to get this done today. But I really like our team. I like the way they’re fighting. I like the way their mindset is, and we’ve just got to work to play better, and not give guys easy stuff.”
You can call Carroll’s rah-rah attitude and positive approach fake or contrived, but there’s one thing you can argue with – the results. Each week Carroll uses a fresh and different way to motivate his players, and so far it’s worked. No one in their wildest dreams imagined this team to be where they are at right now at the beginning of the season, sitting atop the NFC West – except for Carroll.
He has gotten his players to “buy-in” into his philosophy, starting at the top with players like Hasselbeck, Lawyer Milloy and Lofa Tatupu, and those veteran players set the tone for the rest of the team.
“I love Pete as a coach,” Hasselbeck said. “He’s just awesome – our meetings our great. There’s just such purpose in what he talks about. He’s not just up there talking to talk. If he’s got nothing to say, he’ll hand the mic over to someone else, or we’ll watch highlights – football or basketball or whatever. If he’s got something to say it matters, and he really has a vision that he unpacks week to week as we go.
“I think that matters. Even though we didn’t win today (Sunday), we grew in some way, shape or form here in this game. And even last night, what he taught, or what he unveiled as the vision for this team and where we’re going to go, it was important. And sometimes you learn more when you lose. You still want to win.
“I think the X’s and O’s, we are communicating well. You still want to win, but we’re growing. But probably more importantly, just the vision for the team that he’s set out, I think everyone for the most, I think guys are getting it.”
And what’s that vision?
“Just being uncommon,” Hasselbeck said. “Being uncommon with how things are done in the NFL. Things are done a certain way, and that’s fine, but we want to be uncommon.”
“There’s definitely positives there,” added Forsett about where his team sits. “We’re moving in the right direction. We’ve just got to put it all together. When we play smart football – without penalties and turnovers and things like that – we win games. And when we don’t do those things, we don’t end up on top.”
Milloy understands that his team still has not reached its full potential yet.
“Our challenge as a team is how can we get all three phases working at the same time?” Milloy said. “We really haven’t done that yet this year. And that’s the one positive going into the end of the year, still being at the top of our division and having four out of the last six games at home. If we can figure that out before the season’s end, then we’ll be a very dangerous team. Until that, then we’ll just be .500.”