A recap of the day’s activities:
Matt Hasselbeck. The question concerning the veteran quarterback has gone from will they re-sign him to when will they re-sign him?
That was the word today from coach Pete Carroll, who said during his season-ending news conference that he and general manager John Schneider already have met with Hasselbeck to discuss the return of the QB who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.
“It is a priority,” Carroll said. “The quarterback position is the most critical position on the football team. Matt finished beautifully for us. He did everything we asked of him. We’ve already talked. We’ve already met.
“And we’re going to move forward. We have to see what it all means. But we’re on it.”
So Carroll is proceeding as if Hasselbeck will be the starter next season?
“I don’t think there’s any other way to look at it,” Carroll said. “He’s our starting quarterback.”
Hasselbeck talked with reporters in the locker room on Monday, just after his meeting with Carroll and Schneider. He sounded like someone who was at home with the team he’s played for the past 10 seasons.
Asked if there was a part of him that wanted to test free agency, Hasselbeck said, “No, not really. Truthfully I haven’t really even thought about it much … I haven’t even let my mind go there.”
Hasselbeck was too busy taking care of other issues, like the stunning upset of the defending Super Bowl Saints in the wild-card playoff game and the disappointing loss to the Chicago Bears in the divisional round on Sunday. Hasselbeck threw seven touchdown passes and one interception in those games.
“I think all the hard work has been done here this year – going through all the change, going through all the drama at times and just going through all the adversity,” he said. “So it would be fun to be a part of the rest of it.”
That doesn’t mean the Seahawks won’t explore their options in adding a quarterback in the draft or through free agency.
“If the draft allows us an opportunity, we’ll look at it – just like you would want us to,” Carroll said. “If there’s a really good prospect right there, we’re going to go get the guy. If there isn’t, then we will move on to the next option.
“It’s obviously the most significant factor, is you’ve got to have big-time quarterback play to be a championship team. Matt got us there this year, and we think he can do that again for us.”
The lines. Both of them. Defense, as well as offense. Upgrading those units is the priority, Carroll said, as the Seahawks head into an uncertain offseason.
“I think it’s really important for us that we have to make sure that we elevate the play of our guys up front on both sides of the ball,” he said.
The problems on the offensive line have been well documented: 10 different starting combinations; four starters at left guard; three each at left tackle and right guard; and a running game that averaged 89.0 yards, next-to-last in the league and fourth lowest in franchise history.
But a run defense that ranked as high as second in the league at midseason tumbled to 21st by season’s end as end Red Bryant went down in the Week 8 game at Oakland and tackles Brandon Mebane (four games) and Colin Cole (five) also missed time with injuries.
“As we got banged up this year and faced the challenges of having to adjust the roster, we needed to maintain the level of play better than we did,” Carroll said. “When we got banged at the Raiders game … we didn’t respond very well to that. We tried and we did everything we could to do that, and the guys gave their best. But I didn’t feel like the depth was at the level that it allowed us to maintain the same level of play.
“And I think it showed up offensively, as well. So that’s really a main focus for us.”
Golden Tate. The team’s second-round draft choice did not have the impact anyone was expecting, as a receiver (21 receptions for 10.8-yard average) or returner (12.6-yard average on 16 punt returns). But he continues to figure into the team’s plans.
“He’s got a huge upside,” Carroll said. “I think he’s a fantastically natural football player. He’s got competitiveness about him. He’s got playmaking in him. I wish it would have come more to the front this year.
“That’s a big project for us: We need to bring him out. I know what kind of football player he is. I don’t think we were able to get it expressed in this season consistently enough. I think that’s just a matter of time.”
Tate did have a 63-yard punt return and a 52-yard reception among his limited contributions.
“I love his run-after-the-catch ability,” Carroll said. “He’s tough and physical and he’s got a real knack for taking the football away from guys. All of that needs to come to the front, so he can be a factor and help us win.”
STAT DU JOUR
Marshawn Lynch led the Seahawks in rushing with 573 yards during the regular season. It was the lowest total to lead the team since David Hughes ran for 327 yards in 1984.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The way I understand it, we will still have keys.” – Carroll, smiling, when asked about the coaches’ plight in the event of a lockout