This weeks edition of The Guest Spot comes courtesy of Michael Campbell. Follow him on Twitter @Campbellonious.
Why Matt Hasselbeck will Start Week One
While Titans fans were forced to watch teams like Jacksonville throw their future franchise quarterback into the fire, (I say forced because it was truly painful to watch Blaine Gabbert command an NFL offense) they began to wonder what they had with their twelve million dollar man who had yet to see the field. Did the rookie philosophy with Gabbert pan out? If you consider shattering all confidence and costing one of the longest tenured coaches in the NFL his job, then yes, it panned out. Other rookie quarterbacks to get the starting nod early included Christian Ponder of Minnesota & Cam Newton of Carolina. Ponder showed some signs of life and Newton absolutely lit it up last season.
Unlike other NFL teams the, Titans took a much more melodic approach while introducing their future franchise quarterback to the NFL. Locker didn’t play at all last season with the exception of times when Hasselbeck was out with injury. He was given a playbook and told to learn behind a twelve year veteran.
For these reasons there’s been quite a bit of discussion this off season as to who will be named the starting quarterback for the Tennessee Titans for 2012. Like most of you, I’m a huge fan of Jake Locker. He brings excitement to the team and is a much more dynamic playmaker than Matt Hasselbeck. That being said, I have a hard time believing Locker gets the starting nod over Hasselbeck for the home opener against New England.
With all the time and effort the Titans have put into building Locker’s confidence, it’s hard to imagine Jake hitting the field in the first six games this season. The Titans have one of the toughest (if not the toughest) opening schedules of any team in the NFL. With the exception of week five at Minnesota (which is no guarantee) it’s not a stretch to say Tennessee may very well open with season with a 1-5 record; despite being a better team in 2012. Four of the first six games include teams that went to the playoffs last year (New England, Detroit, Houston, & Pittsburgh) – not to mention a San Diego team which is about as unpredictable as any NFL franchise. With that type of uphill battle in front of the Titans to open the season, I can’t see the front office giving Jake the go-ahead. As fans we know, the quarterback gets all the credit for the win or loss. The way I see it, Hasselback starts the first six games and Locker getting the nod for game seven; just in time for the Bills and a downhill battle the rest of the season.
Looking back: If I’m forced to choose between the possibility of ending up with a clone of Blaine Gabbert or sitting my future franchise QB to learn from a veteran who led the Titans to a near playoff berth – I’d take the latter every time.