Hasselbeck returns, appears set to start
Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 7:02 pm
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — Matt Hasselbeck is back practicing, and the Tennessee Titans are expecting the veteran quarterback to start Sunday when they visit the winless Colts.
Barring a setback.
“If he’s not feeling he can do things, he’ll be honest with us,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said Thursday. “He knows we want to win. He wants to start, and we want him to start. If for some reason he’s not at his best, we’ll rethink the position. Right now we’re all thinking positively that he’s going to be the starter.”
Hasselbeck hurt his left calf early in last week’s 22-17 loss to New Orleans. He had an MRI on Monday and watched practice Wednesday as part of a plan put together by doctors and trainers to work him back onto the field. Hasselbeck was limited Thursday, but he did warm up and practice some handoffs while throwing only out of the shotgun.
The 13-year veteran hasn’t missed a start this season since signing a three-year contract with Tennessee. He said his calf feels good, and he’ll be in by 6:30 a.m. Friday morning for more tests just like a handful of other players. Hasselbeck thinks only his scrambling would be most affected and thinks the timing is fine against the Colts considering the speedy Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney.
“I don’t think I was going to outrun Freeney or Mathis,” Hasselbeck said.
“You’re definitely more of a sitting duck, but you can throw the ball, which is nice. Even the last time we played them, I don’t know how many sacks we had, if we had any. If you get the ball out quick, it doesn’t really matter.”
Hasselbeck was sacked once Oct. 30 in a 27-10 win over Indianapolis in Nashville.
But he is a big reason why the Titans (7-6) go into their final three games needing to win all three and get some help to land the AFC’s final wild-card spot in Munchak’s first season as head coach.
The 13-year veteran ranks fifth among the NFL’s active career passing leaders with 32,280 yards, and he’s completing 61 percent of his passes this season for 2,701 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with Kenny Britt sidelined since September by a torn ACL.
Rookie Jake Locker, who practiced Thursday after being limited Wednesday because of sore ribs, threw for 282 yards coming off the bench against the Saints. He was the eighth pick overall in April.
Published in The Messenger 12.16.11