With WR Darrell Jackson probably out Thursday night, Nate Burleson moves into the starting lineup opposite Deion Branch, coach Mike Holmgren said today. The obvious question would be: “Why not put D.J. Hackett in the starting lineup? After all, he has outplayed Burleson.”
Possible answers: Hackett has become very effective as the inside receiver in three-wide sets. As long as the Hawks are going to play with three or more receivers two-thirds of the time, Hackett will be out there plenty. Of course, Hackett has only been in there with the two-back, three-wide group. Burleson has been in with the one-back, three-wide group. We’ll have to see who plays where in what. There is a school of thought that you don’t weaken two positions with a change. They have to replace Jackson, but if they move Hackett into his spot, they have to replace Hackett in some personnel groupings. Then you have basically replaced Jackson and Hackett. By leaving Hackett alone, you only replace Jackson. In theory, Hackett should still give you what he is giving you. Finally, they have been managing Burleson’s playing time in a manner designed to help his confidence. Putting him in the starting lineup would have to be considered an endorsement.