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November 24, 2011 @ 1:02 pm
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Hasselbeck: "Talib and Barber Are Two Of The Best"

Written by Victoria
Victoria Horchak 


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Tennessee Titans' QB Matt Hasselbeck joined the Tampa Bay media for a conference call this week to discuss the his first season in Nashville, LeGarrette Blount and the upcoming game Sunday versus the Buccaneers.

Just tell us what your situation is because I know you got a little banged up last week. Are you expected to play this week?
“Yes, I am expecting to. Yes.”

How have things gone for you this year for you in Tennessee?
“I think when you talk about Seattle and Tennessee, those are two teams on a national level [that] people don’t really know that much about. They know a little bit about both teams and I was guilty about not knowing much about Tennessee and their situation before I came here. Basically I got a call at the end of the lockout and talked to Mike Munchak. Again, [he] is a guy that I don’t think a lot of people know. He kind of laid out the situation here and what they had here and what they didn’t have here. He felt like it was a good fit for me here and I felt like it was a good fit for me. We came in with obviously no offseason [and] I wasn’t able to practice [at] the start of the training camp, but I think we did a pretty good job of coming together really quick. Our running back wasn’t in camp and I think we came together. We didn’t play very well in our first game of the season. I think from that point on we have made strides. We have been a little bit up and down this year. We are 5-5 and we have lost some games that we could have won, but we haven’t handled the injury situation probably as well as we could have. We haven’t played well on the road, but all and all I think we are a team that is getting better every week.

I think we've got a great group of guys [and] a good coaching staff. I think everyone that’s here is excited to be here and excited for the opportunity that we have. We are still in it and there is a lot of football to go. There are six games and I have been on teams where you win six in a row and you are hot at the right time. I have been on other teams where it is a struggle and you are trying to hold everybody together, but I think everyone feels pretty good about this team.”

What is your relationship like with Jake Locker and what do you think he is benefiting from this situation?
“He is awesome. He and I are good friends. Our whole quarterback room has been great this year. I think that was one of the positives for me coming here. Knowing that I would have a chance to work with a guy [like Locker]. Like you mentioned I was in Green Bay with Brett Favre and a bunch of other older guys and they were just really helpful to me. Even though it was competitive at times, they were just really helpful to me.  I think at this stage in my career I am definitely excited about the opportunity to kind of pay that forward just a little bit and work with a young guy that is hungry and talented. I think that’s the thing with Aaron Rodgers. He has had so much success so a lot of people want to do that [and] use that model, if you will, of the younger guy-older guy [relationship]. It only works if the younger guy has talent like Aaron Rodgers has. I think in this case Jake has a ton of ability. He came in and played the fourth quarter this past week and played really well. It's no secret why he was a first-rounder. He has tons of talent. He can run the ball. He can throw the ball. He is really smart. I'm excited. I think for him I am sure it's fun being in the NFL, but I am sure at the same time he's getting antsy and itching for his chance to play. I'm sure he will get his chance at some point and I'm sure he will have a long, very successful career.”

When you look at the tape of the Bucs and you hear about the Tampa-2, as a quarterback do you see a lot of opportunities the way they challenge you to try to beat them?
“If you look at just the coverages called, [then] sure you could say there are opportunities. But I think they're really, really good. I think the strength of their defense is their secondary. They are very, very talented.  They do play a lot of man coverage. For being Tampa, they don’t play a lot of Tampa-2, but they play a lot of man coverage. It looks like on film they are not afraid of anybody. They played Green Bay tight, bump-and-run, man coverage in your face the whole game and played really, really well. I think when you talk about [Aqib] Talib and Ronde [Barber], those are two of the better corners in the game and not just good corners in terms of skill and ability, but also just very talented and crafty. They are smart players and they know what they are doing. I would say the same for [Tanard] Jackson. He's a play maker on the back end and does a really nice job. I don’t know. I think they're a very talented defense [and] the secondary is very talented. You go to that Green Bay film and I know there were some big plays here and there, but you are talking about Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson or Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings. They challenge the best in the game at what they do best and I thought they looked really good on film.”

As a quarterback when you see those opportunities are you thinking if my guy doesn’t win maybe there is a pass interference?
“Tampa definitely is a physical, physical team and they are going to hold and grab at times. Similar to how Charles Woodson holds and grabs — he's very good at it. They do it, but they don’t get called doing it. There is a technique to it. You see it in wide receivers, also. There are some guys that are good at pushing off without ever getting called for pushing off. When we had Jerry Rice in Seattle he would push off with his elbows as he was running. You know it looks like he is just running and Michael Irvin used to do that as well. There's an art to it. There's a skill to doing that. Same things with guys up front with holding calls and stuff like that. In particular, I think with Talib, he's probably the best at bump-and-run coverage, but he's very physical. He will grab, he will hold you, he is long, he does a nice job and I don’t see a lot of flags getting called. I saw one in the Green Bay film that I have no idea why they threw the flag. It didn’t make sense, but I think that’s just something that our receivers need to expect. You expect man [and] you react to zone and then if you do get that chance one-on-one, we're counting on you.”

Have you had a chance to see LeGarrette Blount’s 54-yard run from last week and what your impressions were?
“Ah, just ten times on SportsCenter this week.”

What would it be like if the Titans still had that guy?
“There's been a lot of talk about the fact that he was here. It's been all positive. No one has had anything but really good things to say. ‘Oh this guy is great. He's a good runner.’ I'm not exactly sure what happened, [but] I know they liked him here a lot. I know in Seattle we had situations like that where we made a roster move thinking, 'Hey, we can sneak this guy by,' and then somebody else claims him. I know that happened with us with our running back in Seattle, Justin Forsett . We cut him and just tried to bring him back or whatever and then the Indianapolis Colts claimed him and then we lost him. They tried to do the exact same thing later in the year and we got him back. There's definitely some roster maneuvering that goes on throughout the season and a guy like LeGarrette, with the potential that he had to be great, I think that’s probably what happened. That would be my guess, but he's doing a great job. We saw him last year when Seattle played him and he made the highlight reel that game also. He's a good player.”

What can a runner like that do for an offense when he is so physical and I assume can boost morale of the team?
“For sure. It's an identity thing [when] talking about running the ball. You get an identity of just being the hard-nosed running team. Tampa has got a really good offensive line. That is something that is a strength of theirs offensively. You have a runner like that and it helps everything. It helps play action. It helps grinding it out in four-minute [situations] to finish off a game or win a game. It helps in goal line situations, so it’s really good for everything. You're always looking for guys that can sort of be a difference maker or dominator in any area of the game, but the running game is important, obviously.”

Last modified on Thursday, 24 November 2011 16:32

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  • avatar

    Iam glad we have that rb, if only Tampa in the first two or rd-3 get that RB like another Caddy Williams-Tampa would have at least two to three more wins if Caddy was still here, They should let him go out in style this year he always gave over 100%. Sometimes these coaches and GM's don't realize what they have untill they are gone. I hope the first three players are IMPACT AND STARTERS FOT THE BUCS> I WILL BE 67 SEPT 28,2012 GO BUCS
  • avatar

    K2 Did you read the part about the art of separation with your ELBOWS instead of your arms?
  • avatar

    "What would it be like if the Titans used to have that guy you know?" Nice one.
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