Hasselbeck at quarterback not etched in stone

  • Scott M. Johnson / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, October 24, 2001 9:00pm
  • Sports

By Scott M. Johnson

Herald Writer

KIRKLAND – After two months of harping on the fact that there will be no quarterback controversy in Seattle, Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren called an audible Wednesday.

Despite the fact that Holmgren believes quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is the future of the franchise, he didn’t rule out the possibility of turning to Trent Dilfer again this season.

“I do still believe in Matt, and I think he can come back in now … and get a little better support around him after the first couple games, and play well,” Holmgren said during his weekly press conference. “Having said that, he has to play well. I’m not going to sacrifice the season because I want to say I was right. I’m way, way beyond that in my life. So he has to play well. And we’re just fortunate to have a guy like Trent Dilfer here.”

While Hasselbeck has been anointed the No. 1 quarterback since he arrived in March, Dilfer has clearly outplayed him thus far. Still, Holmgren has said all along that he intends on continuing to play Hasselbeck as long as he is healthy.

Holmgren’s stance Wednesday took a slightly different turn.

“Believe me, the quarterback decision thing, I’m not going to be crazy about that,” Holmgren said. “I think I have a vision about the football team, and I think I know what will eventually happen and what needs to happen. I’m also well-aware that Trent played two fine games these last couple weeks.”

Holmgren wouldn’t get any more specific. It isn’t clear whether he would bench Hasselbeck in Sunday’s game against Miami if the Seahawks offense is stagnant. But Holmgren left no doubt that Dilfer could be summoned again at some point this season.

Hasselbeck will start this weekend, and Dilfer could be the No. 2 quarterback despite a groin injury. If or when Dilfer becomes No. 1 will still be solely Holmgren’s decision.

“The one thing you guys will have to trust me with is, I’ll know if (Hasselbeck) plays well,” Holmgren said. “I will know. I will know if things aren’t his fault. I’ll know. And then if he’s doing the job, he plays. And if it’s not working out the way I want it to, then we have a guy who can step in there and play.”

Hasselbeck said he doesn’t feel any extra pressure this week.

“That’s nothing new,” Hasselbeck said. “A lot of pressure plays into this business, especially with the position I play.”

Springs’ kryptonite: Holmgren is happy to have Shawn Springs back in the starting lineup, but he’s still looking for more out of the 26-year-old cornerback.

“He’s one of the fine cornerbacks in football, he really is,” Holmgren said. “And when he develops the type of discipline that I want him to develop, he could be the best cornerback in football. That’s up to him.”

Springs has been hobbled by two unrelated hamstring injuries since the beginning of the 2000 season, and hasn’t played at the level that made him a Pro Bowler in 1998. When Springs is 100 percent healthy, Holmgren expects him to be one of the elite corners in all of football.

“He’s such a fun-loving guy, and he’s so talented,” Holmgren said. “If he ever just bore down mentally, shoot, he’d be unbeatable. I’m trying to push him in that area.

“Everyone should have fun playing this game,” Holmgren added. “He has a lot of fun. And I want him to not have so much fun. Just bear down and do it right all the time.”

Springs understands the criticism, but said his injuries have been the biggest factor in his play recently.

“Potential means nothing,” he said. “I don’t care about that. I take it as a compliment, but until you make it happen, potential means nothing.

“The only thing stopping me is me being injured. If I’m not injured, I truly feel no one in the NFL has the physical tools to do what I do.”

Injury update: Despite the bye week, the Seahawks still have three players listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

Free safety Marcus Robertson (hamstring), kick returner Charlie Rogers (toe) and defensive Michael Sinclair (groin) all have a 50-50 chance of playing this weekend.

Holmgren said Robertson’s is the most serious injury of that group. He did not practice Wednesday, and could be replaced in the starting lineup by Maurice Kelly.

Sinclair also did not practice, while Rogers fielded punts outside the team’s practice bubble.

Running back Ricky Watters is the only other Seahawk on the injury report, and he will be out another three to five weeks because of a shoulder injury.

Miami will be without starting safety Brock Marion (calf) and No. 3 receiver Dedric Ward (foot).

Quick slants: Chris McIntosh is expected to be back in the starting lineup this week, which would mark the first time he starts at right tackle since Week 3. Todd Weiner has started in his place while McIntosh recovered from a neck stinger. The Seahawks are 3-0 this season when Weiner starts; 0-2 when McIntosh starts. … About 11,000 tickets still remain for Sunday’s game. None of the 3,000 free tickets given out to local police, firefighters and military and medical personnel are expected to be available.

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