Renton – He’s having one of his worst seasons statistically, yet the Seattle Seahawks rewarded Matt Hasselbeck with one of the most important awards given to a player for the first time in his career.
The team announced Thursday that Hasselbeck earned the Steve Largent Award, an honor voted on by the players and given to the player or coach who best exemplifies the spirit, dedication, and integrity of the former Seahawks receiver and Hall of Famer.
Hasselbeck, in his ninth year with Seattle, understands there’s a certain irony in winning the award in a season when he has thrown the most interceptions of any season in his career.
“I thought there were more deserving people this year,” Hasselbeck said. “But it’s a very cool trophy and I’ll find a place for it.
“It’s a special honor. And they opened it up to coaches as well, so it’s more competition. And it’s voted on by your teammates, so that’s very important.”
Offensive tackle Rob Sims said the award is about more than statistics.
“Matt has always been the backbone of this team,” Sims said. “We still support him. I hope he trusts in us the way we trust in him. He deserved to win it.”
Hasselbeck has struggled through perhaps the worst two-year stretch of his career.
In his last 20 games, Hasselbeck has thrown for 21 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. Seattle is 6-15 during that stretch. That’s the worst record for the Seahawks over two seasons since they won eight games over the 1992 (2-14) and 1993 (6-10) seasons.
This year, Hasselbeck shares some of the blame for Seattle’s inability to score points, along with an offensive line and running backs who have failed to consistently provide adequate protection for him to get the ball down field, and a group of receivers unable to consistently create separation.
“At times we move the ball really well, we run the ball and we complete passes at a high rate of efficiency,” said tight end John Carlson. “But we don’t string enough together to score points. And if we’re not scoring points, were hanging the defense out to dry.
“Everyone has to do their job for a team to succeed, and that’s every position group. And because of that, that means all of us as a group are not executing well enough. And I’m not going to blame one person or one position group – it’s all of us.”
Still, Hasselbeck understands it all starts with him. He’s personally responsible for nine turnovers over the last two games.
“There’s some common themes,” Hasselbeck said, when asked to pinpoint reasons for Seattle’s recent struggles offensively. “One would be lack of focus or just forcing things. Maybe just trying to do too much and not just focusing in on the play. And just realizing, despite what it feels like, it’s OK to punt. You know, punting is not a terrible thing.”
Hawks stick together
Even with the Seahawks playing their worst football of the season and experiencing harsh scrutiny from folks outside the organization, Sims said the team is sticking together.
“The only silver lining that we take out of this right now is we stayed a team and it didn’t become a zoo in here,” Sims said. “Outside it might have. In the papers it might have. And on the TV and on the radio it got a little bonkers for sure. But we stayed as a team.”
Sims pointed to veteran receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh coming to the defense of his teammates on the radio Tuesday as an important event that helped bring the team together. Houshmandzadeh and KJR-AM analyst Hugh Millen debated on the radio, and later at practice on Wednesday, about some comments Millen had directed toward certain Seahawks players over the past weeks.
“The media is always going to win in that situation,” Sims said. “They have the voice. I think messing with T.J. Houshmandzadeh was the worst thing they could’ve done, though.
“He’s a guy, I mean we get into an argument playing Hacky Sack with him and you just can’t win. You can’t win against that guy. And he’s very articulate, very smart. And if there was anybody to talk for this team and represent this team, I think he was the right guy to do it.
“I think he got our point across, and I think that really brought us together as a team, because to tell you the truth the fans don’t know exactly what’s going on in here. There’s a lot of smart fans out there, a lot of fans that know a lot about the game. But to be honest, they don’t know exactly what’s going on in here.
“So outside there’s a lot of people pointing fingers, and that’s fine. But sometimes, some people attack the wrong people.”
Linebacker Aaron Curry (shoulder), cornerback Josh Wilson (hip) and running back Julius Jones (rib) missed practice for the second straight day. Seahawks coach Jim Mora said Nate Burleson (ankle) will likely miss his third straight game this week. ... The Seahawks also made a roster move Thursday, adding tight end Jason Pociask to their practice squad. The 6-foot-3, 259-pounder out of Wisconsin originally was a fifth-round pick (150th overall) by the Jets in the 2006 draft. He also spent time with Tampa Bay and Carolina.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437