Aug 29, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (8) throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Naptown’s Finest Countdown To Kickoff series continues with the preseason now complete for the Indianapolis Colts, who open their 2013 season in eight days at home against the Oakland Raiders. Today we take a look at No. 8, backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who signed with the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason.
Peyton Manning never missed a game in 13 seasons for the Colts, who took it for granted by never investing in a capable backup. When injury finally dealt a devastating blow and his age working against him, the legendary signal-caller was released after 2011, paving the way for top pick Andrew Luck.
Having learned from their mistake, the Colts signed Hasselbeck at $7.25 million for two years in March. While his best days are behind him at 37 years old, Hasselbeck has played in nearly 200 games and was the starter for the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.
Normally, when a team’s starting quarterback goes down, so do their postseason aspirations due to the backups’ inability to play at a high level. But Indianapolis feels secure with Hasselbeck, who is in his 15th season and expects to mentor Luck in his second season.
“Hasselbeck is more than capable. We all know that,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. If you want to call it an insurance policy, you’ve got a great insurance policy in your back pocket.”
Arguably the league’s best backup, Hasselbeck is 80-72 in his career as a starter with 34,517 yards, 201 touchdowns and 141 interceptions.
He appears to solve a longstanding problem for the Colts, who in years past would have a young and cheap quarterback behind Manning. The list of backups is what you’d expect: Jim Sorgi, Curtis Painter, Kerry Collins and Dan Orlovsky, to name a few.
While nobody hopes Luck gets injured, Hasselbeck is now there on the sidelines, ready to play as the worst-case scenario.
Countdown To Kickoff Archive
Aug 21: Peyton Manning
Aug 22: Austin Collie
Aug 23: Ryan Leaf
Aug 24: LaVon Brazill
Aug 26: T.Y. Hilton
Aug 27: Andrew Luck
Aug 28: Donnie Avery
Aug 31: Matt Hasselbeck
Sept 1: Curtis Painter
Sept 2: Dan Orlovsky
Sept 3: Kerry Collins
Sept 4: Adam Vinatieri
Sept 5: Matt Stover
Sept 7: Pat McAfee