Latest NFL stop a learning experience for former Titans quarterback

One of Matt Hasselbeck’s jobs when he signed with the Tennessee Titans was to help teach Jake Locker, the eighth overall pick in 2011, how to be an NFL quarterback.

It made sense, therefore, to think that he would do the same when he signed with the Indianapolis Colts in March that he would do the same for Andrew Luck, the first overall pick in 2012.

Think again. The 15th-year veteran is every bit as much the student with his fourth NFL franchise.

“We’re running a lot of stuff, the verbiage that he ran in college with his college coach [Pep Hamilton] as our coordinator,” Hasselbeck said. “It was really a situation where I came in, and he had a year under his belt as the guy. He’s kind of teaching me the little nuances and idiosyncrasies of their system, their verbiage, his voice inflection with cadence, those kinds of things.

“… I’ve said many times, I thought I learned more from those young guys that I was around in Nashville, but even more so around here because of him having a year under his belt and the college experience.”

Hasselbeck was 9-7 as a starter with the Titans in 2011 and 2-3 last season when Locker missed five games with a shoulder injury.

He has thrown just eight passes so far for the Colts but refuses to second-guess anything that led Tennessee to release him or the fact that he would have a significant role here had that not occurred.

“I have talked to [Locker] just a little bit. I feel very bad for him,” Hasselbeck said. “… I do feel really bad for him because I do know how hard he’s worked, I do know how badly he wants it. I know that he’d be willing to do anything to be out there with his teammates.

“… No one hopes that it happens, but it could happen here in just the same way. It would be much tougher for me here because I’m learning everything still to be successful here. I’m putting all my energy and effort into really mastering this kind of stuff just like [Luck] has. It’s been fun. It’s been refreshing, but it’s been a challenge. It takes a lot of work.

Other highlights from Hasselbeck’s conference call with local media:

• On wide receiver Kenny Britt, who had more than 100 receiving yards in Hasselbeck’s first two starts before he sustained a season-ending knee injury: “I wouldn’t count him out quite yet, but you got to compete each and every year. That’s a position that seems like that organization has tried to put competitive situations in there year after year after year. He’s been dealing with an injury or injuries, and you keep drafting guys in the first round at that position. Things get competitive. There’s one ball.”

• On his replacement with the Titans, Ryan Fitzpatrick: “He’s a guy that if he gets hot, he can get real hot. He’s got some moxie, obviously a very smart guy. I know him just a little bit, but from what I do know, I’ve been very impressed with his personality and those kinds of things. I don’t remember which team it was, but when he was with Mike Martz, he was slinging it all around the field against us. I think as you’ve seen the last couple weeks, (he’s) spreading people out, getting the ball out of his hand quick, finding the guys that he likes to throw to.”

• On his time in Nashville: “I actually had the greatest Nashville experience that someone could have had. It was just a great experience. We ended up renting a house from Tim McGraw and Faith Hill which was like a dream in itself. It didn’t seem real, but they were just great landlords, super nice people, and very considerate. [They] put up with us. The only regret I have is that we named our dog Titan, so I get a lot of dirty looks now.”

• On whether he plans to retire when his contract expires following the 2014 season: “My goal is just to make these the two best years I can. I said that I would be very satisfied and feel very grateful if that was my NFL career, if it ended right there. I’m not making any demands or any predictions or anything like that. I know that this year is barely guaranteed to a football player. I’m not the type to really look too far ahead.”