Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks: Know Thy Enemy Edition

For the Arizona Cardinals, they've had different problems show up in each game that has worried not only the fans, but the coaches as well. These problems have consisted of the offensive line protection, the secondary allowing too many completed passes for big yardage, and not getting pressure on the opposing quarterback. The Cardinals have had other problems but those have been the most consistent in each of the games they have played to this point. The one that has been the worst the past two weeks, is the getting pressure on the opposing quarterback. The Cardinals haven't got one sack in the past two games, and have barely even hit the quarterbacks at that. In both games, you noticed this problem effect the games outcome. In the first game the Colts beat the Cards 31-10 and the Cards barely beat the Texans28-21 after that. They might havelost the game against the Texans if the opposing quarterback, Matt Schaub, had made all of his throws. The Cardinals will get another good opposing quarterback this week, as they play Matt Hasselbeck and the Seattle Seahawks.

Matt Hasselbeck started out his career by going to Boston College in hopes that it would lead to him going to the NFL. He was right. It would lead to him getting a shot in the NFL, but from how he played in college, he would be lucky to get anything but a backup role. In his first two seasons in college, he would play a total of 16 games, most of it being garbage time. He threw for around 280 yards and 2 touchdowns then, and in his last two seasons in college he would finally get a shot to start.

Hasselbeck would start his junior season on the bench, which obviously ticked him off. In that game he was heard shouting at his coach "You should wear big red shoes and a big red nose because your a clown". A few weeks later he would finally get a shot as the starter when he came off the bench to lead his team to a come from behind win over Hawaii. He would start the rest of the season and would not have the best of numbers, completing 171/330 passes (51 completion percentage) for 1,990 yards, 9 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. His senior season would be similar, but this time as thestarter, he completed 188/305 passes (61.6 completion percentage) going for 2,239, 11 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. However, his college career would not attract a lot of attention at the pro level.

Hasselbeck would not be invited to the NFL combine, but the Green Bay Packerswere interested and sent Andy Reid to Boston to have a look at what he could do. Hasselbeck did not exactly have good speed or even that great of an arm. Reid went back to Green Bay liking what he saw, enough to make a case to then head Coach Mike Holmgren, to spend a draft pick on him.  The Packers would use a 6th round pick on him in the draft, and gave him a shot at being the back up to Brett Favre.

He would spend his first two seasons on the bench behind Favre, but his next season is when he would get his shot as a starter. Holmgren, now the head coach of the Seahawks, would trade for Hasselbeck in 2001 and would put him in for a battle for the starting QB spot with Trent Dilfer. He only started 13 games that season and had similar numbers to his college stats, but would end up being a good choice to keep as the starting QB. In 2003 Matt would lead his team to a 10-6 record, which was their best since 1988, and a wild card birth. The following season he would lead his team to a division title, their first in five years when they were in the AFC West. They would later lose to the Green Bay Packers in overtime. The next season would have his best year as a quarterback, throwing for over 3,459 yards for 24 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. He would also lead his team to the Super Bowl where they would lose to the Steelers(Cardinals know the feeling of losing to them in the last Super Bowl). Hasselbeck would lead his team to division titles in 2006 and 2007 but would not do much in the playoffs then.

Last season and this season the Seahawks cought the injury bug, and Hasselbeck would be one of the players who was injured a lot. Last seasons he missed nine games to a back injury, and this season he has missed two games to fractured ribs. His offensive line has also been decimated with injuries in both seasons. This season though, Hasselbeck is having a good year despite the injury, being fifth overall in quarterback rating and has thrown for seven touchdowns and just two interceptions in his three games. He is also coming off a performance in which his team destroyed the Jacksonville Jaguars41-0, where he threw for 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. This means the Cards will be going into Seattle to face a team that is highly motivated. If the Cardinals want to beat Hasselbeck and the Seahawks they will have to get pressure on Hasselbeck.

The player that Hasselbeck will want to pay attention to and know where he is at all times, is safety Adrian Wilson. Last season when the Cards went up to Seattle, where Wilson hit Hasselbeck twice. Those two times would shake him up enough to accuse Wilson of being dirty for giving him a concussion. There is no doubt that Wilson will give Hasselbeck everything he has again in this game, and the Cards will need him to if they want to win this game. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think the Cardinals can stop a suddenly Sergent Seahawks team?

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