Was Matt's performance in Seattle enough for him to win this division? Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

History Lessons: Static Player Evaluation

Let me ask you this question: How good was Matt Hasselbeck when he was in a Seahawks uniform?

Most people with answer either A) a truly elite QB who was one of the best in the league, or B) a slightly above average QB who turned the ball over too much.

The thing is, both of those answers are correct.

Matt was a great player. One of the very top tier NFL QBs from 04-07. Unfortunately, the beating he took behind Seattle’s Offensive line took it’s toll. I did some calculations from the film, and his release speed and ball velocity both dropped considerably starting in 2008. This attributed to his increased turnover rate, and generally lower performance.

I believe this is why where are some disperate views on Matt. People like to create a single evaluation of a player. There was a 4 year stretch where Matt was amazing. It was followed by a 3 year decline where he was fairly average. If you’re going to place a value on him, which do you use? or do you average the 2?

Unfortunately, most of the time we don’t realize that players change over time. Hasselbeck’s biggest fans look at his decreased performance, and blame the offensive line and receivers. His biggest critics site those last couple years as his “true skill level” and claim that the offensive line and receivers in those earlier years made him look better than he really was.

The thing is, both sides are wrong. Matt was very much was a top tier QB in his prime. He made all of the players around him better. He was also a good part of the problem later in his Seattle tenure. It was almost like he was 2 different players.

I simply do not understand why we need to create a single, static evaluation for players who play for long time.

It’s not just Hasselbeck either. Marcus Trufant was a great corner until his back injury, then he wasn’t. There’s no reason for the revisionist history attempt to claim that he was always the “meh” player he’s been the last couple years.

It works in the other direction as well. Max Unger has been so good the last couple of seasons, that fans have forgotten how much he struggled early in his career. He hasn’t always been the dominant player he was in 2012. Unger struggled so badly in 2009, that one of the first things that Pete Carroll’s did after being hired was reinstate Chris Spenser as the team’s starting center.

It’s time for us as fans to accept that players change over time. Some (most) players get better with coaching and experience. Some players decline after injuries, others (most) decline with age if they are lucky enough to last long enough in this league for that happen.

The need for a static evaluation of a player just makes no sense. We (and yes, I am including myself in this) need to be willing to accept that players change. There is simply no reason to deny it.

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Tags: Matt Hasselbeck Seattle Seahawks

  • jimpassi

    Matt was almost great QB served the hawks well for about 10 years
    we did’ent have a great off line so he got beat up a bit
    this is the first time the hawks has got a good line not great but v.good
    maybe next year a upgrade we most all the great players in place
    next year some will leave & we will need some upgrades its never ending
    players get older / go-to other teams / retire its the name of the game
    we all thank matt for all he did for our / his team he will go down as one of the best hawks in my book however good that is hahahahaa

    • skeletony

      There is no ‘e’ in the word “didn’t” moron. And we DID have a great Offensive Line. Consistently rated #1 or #2 for several years back then.

      Seriously fella’, go back to school. Community colleges offer High School completion programs for dirt cheap. If you can’t be bothered to learn to read and write then why should anyone try to figure out what you are trying to write?

      • hawkman54

        Three years we had a great O-line 03, 04, 05 then Ruskell started the destruction of the Hawks and the O-line went downhill FAST with injury and retirements!

  • NGS4509

    @jimpassi I don’t know what you just said but it hurt my brain.

    • skeletony

      I keep telling him how important it is to learn to read and spell and use proper grammar but…’Hes doesnet belief me.’ (SIC)

  • skeletony

    1) We had the best O-line in the NFL (arguable as KC could easily make the same case back then) for most of Matt’s time here. Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson etc. Remember them?

    2) Matt had ‘average’ or worse seasons for pretty much every year with the exception of the Super Bowl run where he was somewhat above average. At least pro bowl worthy that one year.

    3) Matt did not just start turning the ball over in critical moments (and all too often) beginning in 2006 or ’07. He did this throughout his career beginning in 2002 or so when he got the starting nod over Trent Dilfer (who was a better QB easily). Remember our playoff game in Green Bay in 2004 or so? Matt’s “We’re gonna receive the ball and we’re gonna SCORE!” after the coin toss in OT? Followed by Matt throwing the game losing INT? That was not a one time thing. Matt did that all the freaking time! I got to where I could no longer keep track of how many games he personally lost for us by throwing a pick 6 or some other disaster.

    He just sucked. Was there worse? Of course there was but that does not excuse this revisionist history of many Hawks fans claiming he was an upper tier QB or even “elite”.

    • 12thMan_Rising

      you need to go back and watch the tape. You’re focussing a few examples to justify your confirmation bias, even though those are the outliers, and not what was normal.

      As for the O-line, the right side was very poor. Tobeck left after 05, hutch after 06, and Matt continued to play well though 07. He also did it without any worthwhile receivers during his entire tenture. There was also no running game to speak of starting 06.

      Claiming that Hasselbeck “sucked” is simply incorrect.

    • hawkman54

      You don’t know what your talking about!

  • jimpassi

    drop the name calling ok were on the same side
    i did’ent remember our team #1 or 2 that’s a few years ago
    i have been a fan from the start i am sure theres lot’s of things i dont remember

  • jimpassi

    ooh do you think the backup’s we have now are better than matt
    is all i was saying

    • hawkman54

      NO WAY !

  • hawkman54

    1st off we never had GREAT WR’s or a really quality TE either for that matter! When Tim Ruskell came and started the destruction of the Seahawks this team offensively was playing very well! But from 07 and on at an alarmingly fast rate the O-line play became dismal at best! MH had on average in the 08 and 09 seasons about 1.89 seconds to get rid of the ball with mediocre receivers and by then not much of a running game either! Anyone that bashes MH simply doesn’t know what they are talking about nor for that matter much about Football!

  • jimpassi

    i think steve larget was one of the best ever
    he held almost all records so how can you say we never had any good WR
    yes we did

  • BBJ

    Matt was hit-or-miss his whole tenure in Seattle. When he was in his rhythm he was elite and almost unstoppable. If he got off his rhythm at all he couldn’t win to save his life. That huge dichotomy is why he has the reputation he has. The combination of Matt’s hit-or-miss play and Holmgren’s staid play calling made it hard to watch the ‘Hawks through those years even with the division wins.