Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck joined the local Tampa Bay media on a conference call earlier this week and he talked about a number of subjects, including his relationship with Bucs offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. Below is a transcript of the call.
(On the difference between a long-time veteran in the league and a rookie when it comes to decision-making and handling situations during a game)
“I think there are some pretty smart 25-year-old quarterbacks out there. I started playing football when I was 12 and I think by the time I was 25, I had a pretty good grasp of situations. I think it’s just a matter of making those decisions quickly and communicating that stuff to the guys you’re on the field with. But I would like to think when I was 25 [that] I was pretty good at it also. I know Andrew Luck is good at it, and I know a handful of other guys that are 25 that are playing good football right now.”
(On what he has come to expect from a Lovie Smith defense)
“It’s true – I have tons and tons of respect for Lovie Smith and his defenses. Some just brutal, brutal games down there in St. Louis with some great players and with the crowd noise that they had there. His coaching tree is pretty impressive. Even when you’re not playing against Lovie, you’re playing against guys who studied under him and they have those attributes of his defense: fast, flying around, great pursuit, do an amazing job of causing turnovers. Whether he was at St. Louis or Chicago, even. A lot of times in Seattle we would end up in the playoffs against Chicago in Chicago and just a ton of respect for his teams, for his defenses. I’ve even had teammates that have had him as a coach and they love him to death also. So, for sure, not an easy guy to go up against. They don’t necessarily try to junk ball you or trick you, but they’re just so, so good at what they do, and that’s what makes them a great defense.”
(On being ill when playing against Houston and how he feels physically in general)
“I was really, really sick for that Houston game and I really didn’t know if I could handle it. But, aside from that, I really hadn’t played football in a while. Andrew Luck is a little Favre-ish, where he’s able to play through injuries and start all 16 games some way, somehow. So I didn’t play in 2013, I didn’t play in 2014, so I was curious how, physically, I would feel, but I feel great. I feel great. I haven’t necessarily been very sore at all on a Monday. I’ve trained hard while I haven’t been getting reps. In fact, I probably feel better now than I felt in 2008, 2009. Probably just, again, from training better, training different and just being smarter about how I take care of my body in between things.”
(On Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston’s comment that Hasselbeck looks better at 40 than some 20-year-old players)
“That’s very kind of him. I did not look good as a young player. I was balding – I’m bald now, but I was balding when I was like a second and third-year player in Green Bay and balding in Seattle, and it was just a really bad look (laughing). A good friend should have come to me and said, ‘Hey, let it go, man. Shave the head or something.’ I had a bad look going when I was younger. I set the bar low. I don’t know what else to tell you.”
(On Indianapolis running back Frank Gore and the team’s running game)
“Frank is a guy we went up against a bunch when I was in Seattle. I have tons of respect for him as teammate. He’s come in and has been everything we thought he [would be]. He’s been as-advertised. A great runner, kind of a good north-south guy. Him and Ahmad Bradshaw are both good north-south guys. The thing I didn’t know that I’ve been just really, really impressed with is just their knowledge in pass pro[tection] and their ability to just be real physical in pass protection. They’re just great at picking up games and twists and stunts and blitzes and just recognizing when it’s a blitz, when it’s not a blitz. That’s just something that’s learned through experience and through great coaching and those guys have had both in their pasts. We’re really lucky to have them.”
(On the influence of Tampa Bay Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter, who coached Hasselbeck at Boston College)
“He came in, he got hired by Tom Coughlin and I believe Tom Coughlin left the next day or something like that. So my first meeting, I was a freshman and I met with Dirk. He was coming in as quarterbacks coach and he was like, ‘Hey, I don’t know what the future holds, but I watched you throw today and here’s my honest assessment of where you’re at.’ And he gave me just a great honest [opinion]. He was a great coach. He ended up staying on as quarterbacks coach with Dan Henning. He was just a really, really good football coach, a great quarterbacks coach. I feel really lucky that in college I had such good coaching. I didn’t know it, but later on I got drafted by the Green Bay Packers and Andy Reid was the quarterbacks coach and I guess Dirk had put in kind of a helpful assessment of me when really no one else in the world thought I could make it at next level. So thanks to Dirk and to Andy Reid for seeing something that I didn’t even see myself, for helping me get to the NFL. He was a really good coach and I learned a lot from him.”
(On the possibility of playing without tackle Anthony Castonzo)
“He’s a great player for us. He’s a leader in our locker room, a smart guy, very talented guy. I don’t know how many good things I can say about him. He went to Boston College – he’s a little younger than me, we were not teammates there. He’s one of the best players on our team, so if we didn’t have him, that would be tough.”
(On the experience of starting while quarterback Andrew Luck has been injured)
“First and foremost, I obviously wish Andrew wasn’t hurt, like everybody in the State of Indiana. Everyone wishes he was 100 percent and that he was the guy under center. But that’s part of my job. I have to be ready to go and to help carry his team while he’s out. That’s just the nature of the game. It’s very rare for a quarterback to start all 16 games of the regular season. He’s done it his entire career. But I can never take that for granted, so I’ve prepared each and every week, each and every year, to be ready to go. When you’re driving home after the game and you’ve prepared all week and you’ve put the work in, it is a funny feeling driving home knowing that you never even stepped onto the field. But that’s the job description. It’s not always easy, but that’s the job. You’ve got to be ready to go in and play well if your team needs you.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
koeThere is a lot of concern now among Buc fans that other teams will reach out to Koetter and make him their head coach.
The problem with that scenario is not every OC wants to be a head coach.
For one thing being a head coach is a very grueling time consuming job. Steve Spurrier found that out much to his chagrin.
The other is I don’t think Koetter has ever even interviewed for a head coaching position.
Koetter’s has a well paying job with a head ooach who is known for hiring the best people he can and letting them do their jobs. He also has a very talented player at QB who is willing to put in a lot of work to improve himself.
Would be strange to walk away from that.
I agree, while Koetter is doing wonders, he just never seemed like he wanted to be a head coach. If he did, why didn’t Atlanta give him a shot? He’s got a great young QB that he can grow with and I think and hope this is a good thing for many years. People always ask why Brady is so damn successful and I say not only because of his skill, but because he’s been in the same offensive system his entire career.
Did everyone take note how easily the Lions beat the Eagles? I hope we come with our game face and focus on this being a close and rough game. We have to get this win. Make it three in a role1 Go Bucs!
The Eagles team we beat played hard but got exposed. The team the Lions played quit and didn’t play. Not the same game. This point was covered in the Eagles after game presser.
And you’re right, we always have to bring our game face to win. But that’s not to say we win at the Colts, but that it is a winnable game!
That’s how I observed the two games too macabee. Eagles looked totally in a fog playing the Lions.
My greatest hope, has become my fear. Dirk’s doing such a great job, he’ll have to be considered for openings next year. So is he like most others who want to become head coaches, or can he be our Tom Moore?
I hope our backup QB, Mike Glennon was listening to Hasselbeck.
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