Hello there, MCM readers and stalkers! I'm here to write to all of you and express my fandom for your team. Why would any of you find this special? Because I'm a Seahawks fan, born and raised! Indeed, I'm excited about my 'Hawks and the coming season. The defense has all the potential to be one of the best in the league, with four legitimate top-tier secondary players, young (but promising) linebackers and a defensive line that doesn't allow rushing yards and could be greatly improved in the pass rushing department with the addition of Jason Jones (who is returning to his 2010 role) and rookie Bruce Irvin. The offense has more question marks, (particularly at WR). As long as whomever wins the quarterback battle can be better than Tavaris Jackson by at least a marginal amount, things will work out well and it would not be out of the question to compete for a wild card berth or (knocks on wood) a division title.
But what I would REALLY like to talk about is my interest and admiration for your team, the Titans. There are several reasons for my interest, but the primary reason is your quarterback competition.
As I'm sure you all know, both Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker have Seattle ties. Hasselbeck was of course the Seahawks franchise quarterback for many years, leading the team to the playoffs for five consecutive years and a Super Bowl appearance. Locker was the much-ballyhooed quarterback for the University of Washington. Though Locker's legacy at UW won't be remembered for winning teams, the man's play was always electric and exciting. I'll never forget the day in 2009 when UW upset #3 USC. It was my first day of college and the campus went crazy when Locker led the final drive down the field and the winning field goal was kicked. The kicker was that I didn't even go to school in Seattle. We admired and loved him for coming back for his senior year, giving up what was sure to be guaranteed millions of dollars as the likely #1 pick, just because he loved UW. Beating Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl made it all worthwhile.
I don't just love both of these QBs because they're Seattle-based QBs that had success for some of my favorite teams. I love them because not only are they talented, but they're some of the best people in professional football. Hasselbeck was always a consummate professional throughout his time in Seattle. He was a team leader that was never afraid to fault himself. He truly loved playing for Seattle and wore his heart out on his sleeve for all of us. His teammates liked him and the fans liked him (even if there was a small fraction of them who didn't like his play). What always stood out to me was his desire to do whatever he could to help the team win. Never once did I question that he wanted what was best for the team. There's a reason why guys like Jordan Babineaux and Steve Hutchinson went to Tennessee. They genuinely liked playing with Hasselbeck.
Locker is also a very solid human being. He has great passion and enthusiasm for the game of football and never left that in question. He always went for the extra yard and never quits trying to get better. He always teemed with greatness at UW, but the team around him was never even close enough to giving him a taste of that opportunity to be great. We all truly believed he has the capability to do great things on the football field and win games that really matter. He was also a great teammate and a smart guy.
It's because of not only what Hass and Locker did for Seattle, but who they are, that I root mightily for your Titans. You couldn't have asked for a better mentor than Matt Hasselbeck. Though I've always been of the thought that Locker needed the Aaron Rodgers treatment before he was thrust into the starting QB position, I can understand why Mike Munchak and company decided the time is now to play him. I'm sure you all can see that Hasselbeck isn't a top-tier QB anymore and that porcelain can look like brick compared to him, but you've also all seen that when he can bring his A-game, boy can he play. He will sit on the bench and encourage everyone and do nothing but help Jake. I'm not sure if Jake will honestly be able to make it as a top-tier QB, but I know he'll bust his butt to do whatever he can to become one. Overall, it's a solid situation to be in.
Guys like Locker, Hasselbeck, 'Big Play Babs' and the core you guys have are pretty solid and I hope you guys rise to dominance in the next couple years. Here's hoping that Locker becomes all that us UW fans thought he could be and that Hasselbeck will be the great mentor like a lot of us Seahawks fans thought he could be.
Go Titans! And of course, go 'Hawks! ;-)