|O'Sullivan trying to get where Hasselbeck is|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 11 September 2008 12:49|
Matt Hasselbeck has been to three Pro Bowls. He's led Seattle to its only Super Bowl. He set team passing records last season.
So the four-time defending NFC West champions have unwavering faith he will carry them through their current epidemic of injuries, which is making Chicken Little the more appropriate bird mascot for Seattle (0-1).
Hasselbeck will be without his top four wide receivers Sunday against division rival San Francisco (0-1). He'll be without his starting running back, Maurice Morris, and right side of his offensive line with guard Rob Sims on injured reserve and tackle Sean Locklear unlikely to play with a sprained knee. His tight end, John Carlson, is making his second NFL start.
``I think my job is just to make it happen with whoever's on our team,'' Hasselbeck said, never being more correct on that than now.
st after missing all but two series of the preseason with a bad back. He was 17-for-41 in a 34-10 embarrassment at Buffalo last week, the second largest margin of defeat in 33 season openers for Seattle.
It all could make the 60-year-old Mike Holmgren think, ``I agreed to come back to coach a final season for THIS?''
Holmgren just laughs at that.
``Here's the good thing: We still have our quarterback walking around. He's pretty good,'' he said.
In the last calendar year, Seattle's three NFC West rivals have started 10 quarterbacks combined. The 49ers alone have started five.
The Seahawks? Only Hasselbeck.
Two of his 16 starts last season were wins over San Francisco, by a combined 47-3. Seattle has lost to the 49ers just twice in the last 10 meetings. Hasselbeck missed the first of those, in November 2006, with a knee injury. He was still getting back to health during that other defeat to San Francisco, a month later.
He's thrown for more completions (341), yards (2,726) and touchdowns (21) in 10 games against the 49ers than any other team.
``So, I suppose I've been in worse situations before,'' Holmgren said of his current injury woes. ``When your quarterback goes down, that's a big deal. And that hasn't happened to us. We've had more injuries than what might be fair early, but hey, we'll just keep playing and see what happens.''
nd of faith in new quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan: blind.
``I don't know exactly where he's at,'' 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. ``But I feel the more he plays, the better he's going to get because the players around him, I think they'll trust in him more.''
The five-year backup in New Orleans, Green Bay, Minnesota and Detroit will make his second career start Sunday inside a raucous, sold-out stadium. O'Sullivan said he has never taken a snap at Qwest Field, not even in the preseason, though he's had his ears ringing on the sidelines there.
``It is a big advantage for the Seahawks to be able to play in a place that gets that loud,'' O'Sullivan said of the din den in which Seattle is an NFC-best 42-14 since 2001. ``It is something where we are going to have play very well to even have a chance.''
He signed in the offseason with the 49ers because he believed their promise of an open competition with Alex Smith, the failing former No. 1 overall pick. It's not open any more. Smith went on injured reserve this week with a shoulder injury. O'Sullivan is firmly in the job ahead of Shaun Hill, who has two starts in seven NFL seasons, and 38-year-old Jamie Martin, signed on Wednesday because he is a veteran of offensive coordinator Mike Martz's system.
ur times and San Francisco had five turnovers in a 23-13 loss to the Cardinals, which happened despite O'Sullivan completing 14 of 20 passes and the offense outgaining Arizona with 28 fewer plays.
O'Sullivan rued the mistakes and said ``overall an epiphany never really happened,'' in his first NFL start.
``But I like what I see,'' Nolan said. ``I think he's tough. He's competitive. He's resilient. He's got a nice feel for the game.''
The Seahawks' 137 sacks since the start of 2005 are second in the league to San Diego's 150. O'Sullivan has enough of a feel to know Seattle is likely to blitz him with every Seahawk short of retired team legend Kenny Easley on Sunday.
That's if they can recognize him.
Hasselbeck, his dry wit and his conspicuous bald dome are widely known nationally through commercials for soups and sports supplements.
O'Sullivan? He can walk down Market Street in San Francisco without worrying people will swarm him for having joined the 49ers' quarterbacks fraternity of John Brodie, Joe Montana, Steve Young and Jeff Garcia.
``I don't really have a problem with that,'' O'Sullivan deadpanned. ``I'm a pretty low key guy.''