July 29, 2011

Matt Hasselbeck v Dave Krieg: The Post-Seattle Years

Matt Hasselbeck is now a Tennessee Titan, so I thought it would be a good time to step back and look at the post-Seattle career of the 2nd best QB in Seahawks history: Dave Krieg. There a lot of superficial parallels (like the fact that Beck went to Tennessee and that Krieg eventually landed in Tennessee as well at the very end of his career), but some key differences as well.

The biggest differences lie in how each QB left Seattle. In 1992, the Behring family was itching to get recent draft picks Kelly Stouffer and Dan McGwire out on the field. Coach Chuck Knox, particularly after lobbying hard for the Seahawks to draft Brett Favre rather than McGwire, was perfectly happy to let McGwire watch and learn behind 9-year starter Dave Krieg. When push came to shove, Knox's refusal to bench Krieg led to both being run out of Kirkland, with immediately ruinous results. The team tumbled to 2-14 and never truly recovered until Mike Holmgren came to town and acquired his franchise QB: Matthew Hasselbeck.

Hasselbeck's situation is a bit different. A new regime has ALREADY taken over, and Hasselbeck wasn't "their" guy. We aren't sure of every detail about Hasselbeck's departure- Was it a disagreement over the length of the deal? The guaranteed money? Or did Pete Carroll want to move on at the QB position no matter what terms Hasselbeck might have agreed to? The key contrast? Hasselbeck is 36 and coming off three sub-par seasons, and in 1992 Dave Krieg was only 33. Mudbone wasn't exactly tearing up the league in his last three Seahawks seasons, but his performance was clearly better than Beck's final years in Seattle.

What happened to Dave Krieg after leaving Seattle? He signed with the Chiefs, and in 1992 he started all 16 games and led KC to the playoffs (while Seattle had the worst season in franchise history. Ouch). In 1993, the Chiefs traded for Joe Montana, so by '94 Krieg was off to Detroit.

1994 was Krieg's post-Seahawks peak- He took over at QB with the Lions at 4-5 and was scorching hot for the final seven games. 14 TDs, only 3 INTs, a 101.7 rating, and he led Detroit into the playoffs. Krieg parlayed that into a starting job in Arizona, and started all 16 games at age 37 in 1995- Unfortunately he threw a league-high 21 picks and the Cardinals only won 4 games. He rebounded a bit with the Bears in 1996, going 6-6 in 12 starts with 14 TDs v 12 picks; He ended his career backing up Steve McNair in Tennessee before finally retiring after the 1998 season at age 40.

Can we expect Matt Hasselbeck's post-Seahawks career to top Krieg's? He's got a tough challenge in the AFC South, where I see the Titans as, at best, the 3rd best team in the division. On top of that, unlike Krieg in KC, Detroit, Arizona, etc, Hasselbeck has the team's QB of the future sitting on the bench, waiting for an opportunity to get onto the field. If Matthew's level of play doesn't improve over last season, you'd have to think Titans fans will be chanting "LOCK-ER!"

Krieg played 7 more seasons after leaving Seattle, and led teams to the playoffs twice. I can't see Hasselbeck matching that, or even playing to age 40 like Krieg did. I'd love to see him play well in Tennessee, of course- I just don't see him making us rue the day we let him walk the way Dave Krieg did.

What do you think, sirs?

1 comment:

Bretticade said...

I've spent the last 3 years transitioning from Hasselbeck apologist, to vehemently wishing he was gone. The Saints game will always be the lasting memory of the last 3 years. Not all the INTs and fumbles, of which there was a lot, but that feeling of pure joy and seeing that loveable goofy ball head run off the field like a giant kid. That's what I'll always remember.