Who will be the starting quarterback when week one rolls around? This is likely be one of the biggest stories and hottest debates amongst Titans fans heading into the 2012 season. Mike Munchak has stated that there will be an open competition between the seasoned veteran Matt Hasselbeck and second year 1st round pick Jake Locker for the starting quaterback position. Here is what both of them have to offer the Tennessee Titans offense in 2012.
Matt Hasselbeck was signed during free agency last season to a 3yr/$21 million deal with two goals in mind. The first was to tutor Jake Locker and groom him into the best possible starting quarterback he has the potential to be. The second… Win. Win now. In his first season with the Titans he held his end of the deal. With a quarterback rating of 82.4, 3571 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions it is safe to say he had the best season at quarterback for the Titans since Steve McNair. And this was done without superstar WR Kenny Britt for all but 3 games. Hasselbeck’s best days are behind him but he still has something left in the tank. If the offensive line continues to pass protect as well as they did last season, there is plenty of reason to believe that Hasselbeck can lead the Titans to their first playoff birth since 2008. They were one win away from doing so last season.
Pros: Experience, leadership, work ethic.
Cons: Age, injury prone, not very mobile.
In last year’s draft many experts believe Tennessee took a gamble by selecting Washinton Huskies QB Jake Locker with the 8th overall pick. As the season progressed he began to silence the critics with stellar performances in relief appearences; One play away from defeating Drew Brees’ Saints, a comeback in Atlanta that fell just short. Locker proved that he has the tools needed to be a successful NFL QB. There is no doubt that Locker is the future of the franchise. However, he may not ready to take on a 16 game stretch mentally. Yes the best cure for that is playing time but look how Green Bay handled having both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers on the depth chart. It proved to pay off in the end. Locker still has some growing pains to live through before he can be considered one of the game’s best. He posted nice numbers with a 99.4 quarterback rating, 542 passimg yards, 4 touchdowns and NO interceptions. He protects the ball very well. A little more time to mature and the Titans could have an elite quarterback in their hands. He will no doubt be a respectable challenger to Hasselbeck’s starting job.
Pros: Age, durability, arm strength, mobility, work ethic.
Cons: Inexperience, indecisive at times.
Coach Munchak will have a very tough decision to make this preseason. It will be fun to see how this battle plays out. Either way, the Titans will be in good hands for the 2012 season.