Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said his team is approaching this weekend’s contest like the postseason starts on Sunday.
“Right now if you look at our schedule, the playoffs kind of start now for us,” Hasselbeck said. “We’re playing playoff teams. Atlanta’s a playoff team. Tampa’s a playoff team. The Rams, that’s a playoff game. So one way or the other, you’re going to have to play Atlanta. … So the playoffs start now for us. They’re the best team in our conference. And so it’s good football. It’s a good challenge – a huge challenge – so I think it’s exciting.”
Hasselbeck said he’s talked to fellow Boston College alum Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan in the past while he was playing for the Eagles.
“He played with my youngest brother (Nathanael) at BC,” Hasselbeck said. “He’s a great player. He started out slow there then came on light out, really on fire and took the program to places they hadn’t been. He’s a great player. He’s done a great job for Atlanta. You can tell he’s a great leader. He obviously very talented, and it’s just cool to see.”
On getting past last week’s poor performance and trying to avoid throwing that many picks again, Hasselbeck had this to say.
“You can’t play one way when the game’s tight and the score’s close, and play another way when the game’s out of reach,” Hasselbeck said. “I mean I know that lesson. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way a few other times. But it’s like Pete (Carroll) told me, no matter how many times we say it or do it, unfortunately sometimes you’ve got to learn the hard way to actually get the lesson for real. And to really stamp it in there, tattoo it on the brain so to speak. So lesson learned, and we just learn from it and keep going.”
Hasselbeck said his left wrist is doing okay. It’s been five weeks since he injured his wrist against Arizona, and he said it the prognosis was it would take six weeks to heal. Hasselbeck does not know if he’ll continue to wear protection for the injury beyond that.
“It depends on how good these guys block for me this week,” joked Hasselbeck. “So we’ll see. You never know. I’m very hopeful.”
Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates talked about his play selection on fourth down.
Three times this year the Seahawks have thrown fade balls on fourth down, and none have been completed.
The first occurred against Denver, with Hasselbeck overthrowing Deion Branch on fourth and 1 from Denver’s 20-yard line with Seattle down 24-7 in the third quarter.
The second one happened against Kansas City, with Seattle down 7-0 in the opening quarter, and Golden Tate couldn’t come down with a one-handed grab on fourth and 1 from Kansas City’s 39-yard line.
And the third one of course occurred last week against San Francisco, with Seattle down 20-7 in the second quarter and Ruvell Martin could not come up with the grab on fourth and four from San Francisco’s 32-yard line.
Bates was unwavering in those decision and said ultimately guys in those situations when it’s man coverage guys have to win and make a play.
“There’s a lot that goes down on fourth down plays as far as what the progression is, what the read is,” Bates said. “I’m not going to talk specifically about this last game and where we were supposed to go, and was it covered or not.
“But at the same time, you watch around the league. Green Bay comes to mind, one against Atlanta and another against San Francisco, on third and 1 they hit a go shot for 50 or 60 yards. It’s one-on-one football. And go’s are one-on-one football. And you either beat the guy in front of you, or we need to find someone that can. And that’s kind of my philosophy.
“We try to find matchups where we can get one-on-one matchups, and you take advantage of that. And we’re going to be aggressive. It’s tough in the NFL to have 15-play drives and nickel and dime. There’s so many different defensive fronts and coverages and stuff, if you have the opportunity to take a shot, you take the shot, and the good teams win. We’re still going to be aggressive. We’re going to try and convert on third-and-one, fourth-and-one, third-and-10, but whatever the best matchup is, that’s how we’re going to play it.”
Here's the injury report:
Seattle: K Olindo Mare (left hamstring), WR Brandon Stokley (hamstring), CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring), and CB Roy Lewis (knee) did not practice. C Chris Spencer (shoulder) and CB Roy Lewis (knee) were limited. QB Matt Hasselbeck, WR Ben Obomanu (hand) and DE Chris Clemons (ankle) fully participated in practice.
Atlanta: LB Curtis Lofton (knee) and RB Jason Snelling (hamstring) were limited. DE John Abraham (groin), DT Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder), OT Tyson Clabo (ankle), LB Stephen Nickolas (knee), WR Roddy White (knee) and LB Coy Wire (head) fully participated in practice.