Should Schedule Dictate Who Starts The Season At QB For Tennessee Titans?

There is a great debate raging on, and it has nothing to do with the upcoming political primaries. Rather, I speak of the decision as to whom should play quarterback for the Titans in 2012, or more specifically, who should start the season at the position.

A majority of fans believe that Locker is the guy. The argument is that he is the future of the team, and with Hasselbeck on the decline and in light of Locker’s efficient play last season, the franchise needs to go ahead and hand him the keys to the offense, growing pains be damned. On the other side is Team Hasselbeck. A majority of analysts seemed to have taken to this side, to go along with a more limited number of fans, arguing that his experience will be necessary to guide the team through some tough battles this season in light of what many consider to be a very difficult schedule (unless, of course, you’re the NFL; don’t get me started on that one).

While I believe that Jake Locker is the future of the franchise (and what a bright, non-Blade Runner-type future it is), I firmly believe he should not start this season, and that really does come down to a matter of scheduling.

The first four games of the season are as follows: New England, San Diego, Detroit, and Houston. New England is going to score fast and often, and the pressure is going to be on our QB to keep us in the game. Jake Locker, for all of his moments last season, has never started an NFL game in his life. Period. You can say that he transcends this fact, but such a position is based on nothing more than a minuscule sample size. Locker showed nothing but promise last year, but Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are not the team to throw a quarterback to his first time out. From then on he would have to face Rivers, Stafford, and Schaub, all of whom could be argued are top ten quarterbacks in the league.

At 37 years old, Matt Hasselbeck has seen it all. He’s been to a Super Bowl, had ups, downs, and everything in between. For everything positive about Locker, not one person out there can say how the kid will perform under pressure for the Tennessee Titans. What’s more, as we have seen countless times among the years (most recently with the 2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers), back-to-back-to-back losses can really wear on a team’s confidence, let alone an individual player at the most highly scrutinized and criticized position in the game. Regardless of how the team performs, Hasselbeck will weather the emotional strain and provide a buoy of support for the entire team to latch on to.

This is not to say that Locker would necessarily lose these games, but there’s a huge risk. Throwing a quarterback to the wolves too early can have an effect that lasts throughout the players career. It can shake his confidence and rattle his belief in his abilities. The more sound approach would be to let Hasselbeck start and get us through that initial four game stretch. If he can guide our teams to victories, then he will have surely earned the right to remain the starter until he proves otherwise. Statistics are great, but often times it is the responsibility to carry the team emotionally that can take the biggest toll on a quarterback. That’s why Matt Hasselbeck deserves to start the season at quarterback for the Tennessee Titans.

Follow me on Twitter @TitanSizedJason

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Tags: Jake Locker Matt Hasselbeck Titans

  • dragak1981

    The Titans need to be able to beat good teams if they are really going to be a good team and contend…Yes, they will not win all of those games, but to think they are going to start out 0-4, then they really are not that good of a team.  Good teams beat other good teams…we all are talking like the Titans are a good team, so they need to go out and win!

  • JasonPeters

     @dragak1981 Agree completely. Not saying by any means that we start 0-4. It’s more an argument that Hass gives us the best chance to avoid going 0-4. If he does, then you throw in Locker minus shaken confidence.

  • seagle1

    Very well put! The experience Hass has will definitely help if he is indeed the starter at the beginning of the season. Whoever starts it will be because in the eyes of the coaches…he is the best man for the job. Unless of course Bud goes Makin phone calls to Munch!!!!

  • JasonPeters

     @seagle1 I’d thought about that too. He seems to have been good for the last couple years, but if ever there was a wild card…

  • jstitansized

     @JasonPeters I think it’s hard to shake that kids confidence though. If you think back to his college career, he played on a team lacking a lot of talent and he faced a lot of loss and controversy in his senior year and he pushed through it to bring his team to a championship, the reason that he stayed for his senior year.
    Had he entered the draft a year earlier he would have been drafted #1 overall possibly and those picks don’t sit. He has been pretty lucky with how things have played out, as I think it’s a good thing he has sat. But when the coaches put him out there, I think he’ll handle himself just fine…. Apparently I should write an article on this one….

  • JasonPeters

     @jstitansized I agree that he seems to possess those traits, and wouldn’t deny that his college production and play would lead us to believe that as well. However, it’s still a risk as no one knows for certain. Everybody seems to be ignoring the fact that we have a difficult road ahead if we are going to make the playoffs…certainly not saying we can’t, but why throw the dice on Locker’s future?
    I also am curious as to how many more games you think Locker wins us than Hass?