by: Chris Sullivan
I was fortunate enough to catch Mitch’s interview with Matt Hasselbeck this morning on the drive to work, and while there wasn’t a ton to report (“I feel fine, my back is fine, I’ll be fine.”), one bit did interest me a fair amount. Mitch asked Matt about how things were going to change under Greg Knapp’s offensive regime.
Matt said that, while he’d been assured by a lot of people that things weren’t going to change drastically, so far everything is completely new to him. He hasn’t seen any plays yet, just personnel groupings and the like. He noted that the single biggest difference was that Knapp’s system is vastly simplified so that people could learn it quickly, step in, and play. Now, there’s a learning curve to every system, and this is one is no exception, but everyone who has watched a player enter Mike Holmgren’s system has seen how long it can take to normalize. Deion Branch finally started showing flashes of brilliance at the end of 2008, but had been considered a dud up until then by many fans. Bobby Engram has been hailed as a superstar (which is not to say he isn’t one) based largely on his ability to adjust and work within Holmgren’s WCO.
Matt noted that when a Holmgren play would be (and I’m making this up) “Zebra red stripe down Y23 funky fresh homo sapiens” Knapp’s call might be “Red hitch left bump right” or some such. The playcalls will be shorter and easier to decode. This bodes well for any offseason acquisitions, to be sure, especially if that acquisition was coming from a college spread offense and would need to relearn an entire system. [Cough, cough, Crabtree, cough] ~END~