Hasselbeck sees opening for Seahawks against Saints

Published on November 20, 2010 by     Tacoma News Tribune (Feed)

It’s a play that still sticks with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

New Orleans cornerback Tracy Porter’s Super Bowl-clinching 74-yard interception return for a touchdown against Indianapolis is a perfect example of how Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams likes his defenses to play – take game-changing, calculated risks based on preparation to put away your opponent.

The Saints have the top-rated pass defense in the league, giving up just 166 yards a game through the air, and rely on a mixture of exotic blitzes to keep their opponents off-balance.

Hasselbeck said because of the Saints’ willingness to blitz, that could open the door for big plays in the passing game – similar to last week against Arizona, when Seattle finished with five passing plays of 22 or more yards.

“(The Saints) ended the game basically with an interception for a touchdown,” Hasselbeck said. “So there’s going to be opportunities there because of their aggressive nature, and we’ll see.”

With seven new starters on offense, the Seahawks have taken longer to get into a rhythm, but Hasselbeck is hoping his team can build off last week’s performance of 490 total yards and 36 points.

“We’ve been talking about getting our athletes and getting our speed in space, stretching the field horizontally and vertically, and I think we’re starting to do that more,” Hasselbeck said. “Pass protection was great last week – that’s always a key when you’re trying to get your wide receivers open and get them to have big plays.

“Mike Williams has been huge for us all season – I think that’s probably the starting point for us. And then if they want to do things specifically to take Mike away, then we’ve got Ben Obomanu and Deon Butler, who we think can be big-play guys for us. If we sprinkle that in with some of the running back stuff that we’re able to do – we’ve got Justin (Forsett), who can catch the ball, all our running backs can catch the ball really well. … I think we’ve got the pieces there, it’s just a matter of executing it and getting the ball out to those guys.”

Hasselbeck, who suffered a cracked left wrist in last week’s Arizona game, made it through a second day of practice on Thursday without any issues, and says he’s ready to go.

“I can do everything,” Hasselbeck said.

“There’s no limitation. I didn’t take active snaps yesterday just to let the swelling go down, or whatever. But I’m really not in that much pain at all. Actually, I feel like I dodged a bullet.

“I’m not that concerned about it at all.”

EXTRA POINTS

Along with Hasselbeck, rookie offensive tackle Russell Okung (ankle) fully participated in practice for the second straight day. He, too, appeared on track to play Sunday but continues to share first-unit reps with Tyler Polumbus. … Seattle defensive tackle Colin Cole (ankle), offensive guard Mike Gibson (ankle), tight end Anthony McCoy (knee), running back Michael Robinson (hamstring), wide receiver Brandon Stokley (calf), wide receiver Golden Tate (ankle) and linebacker Lofa Tatupu (knee) did not practice for the second straight day. … Seattle players joined others around the league and voted unanimously to decertify the union in case there is a lockout. This allows individual players to pursue legal action against the league. Seahawks players also voted for a new union representative. T.J. Houshmandzadeh was Seattle’s union rep last season, with Deon Grant the alternate last year and Hasselbeck the second alternate. The players voted offensive lineman Chester Pitts as the team’s new rep, with safety Lawyer Milloy the alternate and Hasselbeck, again, as the second alternate.

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