Matt Hasselbeck spent 17 seasons as a quarterback in the National Football League. But since he's made the transition to television, he's as involved in the game as ever.
Hasselbeck called his first Pro Bowl for ESPN over the weekend, and was on-hand in Orlando the week prior leading up to Sunday's win for the AFC.
Having studied tape of the Chargers, he gave an honest assessment of the Bolts' 2017 season.
"They were the team no one wanted to play at the end of the year," Hasselbeck said. "Everyone was picking them to get into the playoffs. I actually wasn't."
Before you cue the record scratch sound, Hasselbeck explained that as a former QB, he's seen the story of how the Chargers' season unfolded before. Although they got to 9-7, that 0-4 start and the miscues in the kicking game haunted them in the end. However, he feels the way they performed at the end of the season is indicative of what this team could be moving forward.
"The reason that I wasn't was because I felt like they didn't do what they needed to do early in the season, and that was going to make them pay. I know because I've been on teams where that's been our situation. But, they're *right *there. Think about the close games they had and the miscues they had in the kicking game; some tight games that they lost. This is a team that could absolutely be right in the mix next year."
So, is Hasselbeck a believer in the Bolts?
"I'm a believer, but at the same time, you've got to get it done. You've got to get it fixed. With Philip Rivers at quarterback, that's an important piece of the puzzle."
QB to QB, Hasselbeck said the most impressive thing about Rivers is how he's been able to play at high levels through his career with different coaching staffs. He cited how he knew Rivers wanted to cut down on interceptions in 2017, and he did.
Additionally, he believes a big part of why that unit was so successful last season was largely in part to the performance of Keenan Allen. According to Hasselbeck, KA13 earns high praise from one of the greatest wideouts to ever play the game.
"On the field, everything went well with (Keenan Allen). I work with Randy Moss, and Keenan Allen is I think Randy Moss' favorite wide receiver to talk about, watch (and) find highlights of. So you've got Philip Rivers, you've got Keenan Allen; that's pretty strong."
Flipping to the other side of the ball, Hasselbeck said the pass rush led by Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa is a force to be reckoned with. Frankly, it's a unit that will pay dividends for the team in seasons to come.
"I remember watching the Denver game this year, and I think it was sometime in the third quarter where the Denver Broncos even crossed the 50-yard line. I'm saying to myself, 'This can't be right! There must be something wrong with the film.' I had to re-watch the entire first half and was like no, this is total domination by Joey Bosa and these guys. When you have that, that opens up everything and no one wants to play you."