The Tennessee Titans training camp has centered in large part around the battle for the starting quarterback position between 14 year NFL veteran Matt Hasselbeck and 2nd year pro Jake Locker. It seems like every time I see a headline the pendulum has swung the other way. But from what I am seeing, this job is Hasselbeck’s to lose and no one should be shocked at Locker’s problems.
When you look at the concerns that we are seeing with Locker it’s basically the same things that went wrong in college. His accuracy is very inconsistent. This is a young man who completed less than 54% of his passes in college and now people are shocked he’s going 1-10 in a practice. These kinds of problems aren’t going to help Locker gain the confidence of his teammates or new Titans head coach Mike Munchak.
Having 2 good practices and then 2 bad practices is not what Titans fans and staff want to see. And I don’t think that’s the guy you can send out there come the regular season. This is a talented football team, and it can win this year. I respect the fact that the Titans drafted Locker in the first round and that he’s a remarkable athlete. But just because he was overdrafted doesn’t mean you handcuff your team to put him on the field and I think the Titan organization understands that. Locker is going to get plenty of reps in preseason to show that he’s not the guy who went 9 for 30 in two practices and that he can show up every week and get solid production.
My Prediction-Hasselbeck wins the starting job outright in preseason. He may not keep the job all season whether it’s because of injury or struggles, but to start the season this team needs to see some success and all indications are that Hasselbeck gives them the best chance to get that early. I was very vocal about my concerns with Locker prior to the 2011 NFL draft and so far he’s done nothing to quiet them. I wish Locker all the luck in the world, but we all knew that he was a project player when he came into the league, and was going to need some time. There are worse things than he could do than to sit another year and learn behind a player like Hasselbeck. I’d let Hesselbeck start and have some wildcat type packages to maximize Locker’s athleticism, get him on the field and give him some confidence going into this season and next.
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