Seattle fans and media appear in near-panic over this weekends pre-season bout with the intimidating Minnesota Vikings. As you know, we will be without our starting left tackle, our backup left tackle and our starting left guard.
Despite the fact that Mansfield Wrotto played the entire game last week at LT without looking silly, most people are convinced Matt Hasselbeck’s life is in danger. It’s certainly hard to argue given the opponent, the location, and this is the pre-season game that most closely resembled a regular season match. What I’m here to tell you is that Matt’s health is not the most important thing on this football team anymore.
You read that correctly. Keeping our starting QB, and our best chance at winning games this season, healthy is not the most important thing for the Seahawks this year.
I won’t give away too much of my season preview, but suffice it to say, the Seahawks are not Super Bowl contenders this year. The most important thing to come out of this year will be player development, not wins. If wins were the most important, Hasselbeck’s health would be paramount.
Instead, I applaud Pete Carroll for sticking Matt out there with two new offensive lineman and seeing what comes of it. I don’t for a second believe Carroll wants Hasselbeck to get hurt. He will do everything in his power to prevent injury there. Everything, that is, short of pulling him from the lineup.
What happens if Mike Gibson and/or Mansfield Wrotto surprise us? What if we find a young guard of the future to displace Ben Hamilton? How else will we ever develop the depth at offensive line we so desperately need?
The reality is that the franchise is better off learning more about how their young lineman perform with the #1 unit than it is coddling Hasselbeck. After all, what is there really to lose?