Thesis: Matthew Hasselbeck is not a starting caliber NFL quarterback at this point in his career.
- Football Outsiders ranked every quarterback with at least 100 passes thrown in 2010 by DYAR – Defense-adjusted Yards Above a Replacement level player. FO sums the stat up simply as higher DYAR means higher value. Matt Hasselbeck’s DYAR? 32. Hey, not bad! Tom Brady’s DYAR: 2,137 (1st). Hotly discussed QB trade prospect Carson Palmer: 1,009 (10th). Kyle Orton was 12th with 869. Hasselbeck was sandwiched between two NFC West quarterbacks – Sam Bradford, ranked 34th with 72, and Troy Smith 36th with –18 DYAR.
- To reiterate that last point: Hasselbeck was #35 despite there being only 32 teams. He was below Kevin Kolb, Seneca Wallace, Drew Stanton, and Colt McCoy. To be fair, he was above Charlie Whitehurst, who was ranked 39th with –95 points. For those now hating on me, keep in mind that Hasselbeck was as much better than Whitehurst, as Alex *expletive here* Smith was than Hasselbeck.
- Let’s continue with the stats, eh? Taking a look at DVOA – Defense-adjusted Yards Over Average – means, essentially, the value of that quarterback on a given play over an average quarterback. Matt Hasselbeck’s DVOA for 2010 was –10.1%, again ranking him #35. DVOA is not as valuable in looking at QB play and when you look through the rankings you see that – Vince Young had the 5th highest DVOA despite being 20th in DYAR, for example.
- Still, according to the well-trusted Football Outsiders, Hasselbeck performs on any given play approximately 10% poorer than an average NFL quarterback. That is to say, he is a below average quarterback. His stat line supports that: 6-8 record as a starter, 12 touchdowns, 17 interceptions (3.8% interception percentage), 5 fumbles lost, 73.2 QB rating.
- Not only was 2010 a poor year, but Hasselbeck has been “off” for three years. His per season averages from 2008 to 2010:
Okay, so I think I’ve made my point. Statistically Matt Hasselbeck is no longer up to par with an average NFL quarterback, which is what I content the Seahawks require to compete in Pete Carroll & Darrell Bevell’s system.
Point / Counterpoint:
- Point: No one could have succeeded with the Seahawks’ offensive line over the last three years.
Counterpoint: The Seahawks actually had an average pass pro line last year (14th in the league). Quarterbacks in 2010 who had poorer pass protection included: Kyle Orton (16th), Phil Rivers (19th), Aaron Rodgers (21st), Joe Flacco (25th), Pittsburgh (30th), and Chicago (32nd). In 2009, we were worse – 21st in the league – but still better than the OL’s blocking for Sanchez (23rd), Roethlisberger (29th) and Rodgers (30th). In 2008, we were 22nd, better than Brady’s Patriots (26), Palmer’s Bengals (27th), or… Roethlisberger’s Steelers (29th). Flacco, Rivers, and Rodgers are also all QBs who have dealt with bottom-half OL’s their entire career.
- Point: No one could have succeeded with the Seahawks’ wide receivers over the last three years.
Counterpoint: It’s hard to argue that the Seahawks have had anything but sub-par WR play. They have. But every quarterback deals with that at times (ask Peyton Manning last year, or Tom Brady… any year other than 2007). Injuries, age, and inexperience catch up to pass catchers on every team. Not much of a counterpoint, arguably, but the best quarterbacks elevate those around them, like Hasselbeck did earlier in his career (Koren Robinson, Darrell Jackson, Bobby Engram, Joe Jurevicius, etc).
- Point: He’s been injured, when healthy, he’s one of the best in the game.
Counterpoint: He hasn’t been healthy, and it’s impossible to look forward and anticipate he will stay healthy for a full season. Even when he’s playing, there is always something nagging (which is probably true of all football players). Hasselbeck has not aged gracefully through three years of losses – which, for the record, are not entirely or even principally his fault.
- Point: You just hate Hasselbeck.
Counterpoint: No I don’t. Hasselbeck is easily one of my favorite Seahawks of all time, probably number three behind Tez and Big Walt. I love him, and if he’s our quarterback in 2011 as I expect him to be, I will root for him and live and die by him. When I’m allowed to think objectively prior to the season, I deeply feel that he lacks the in-game skills at this point in his career to lead my team to sustained success.
So, how right or wrong do I have this situation?