Dec 23, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans and Jake Locker: Don't Throw The Baby Out With The Bathwater

Can Jake Locker survive a coaching change in Tennessee?

The Tennessee Titans are at a crossroads once this season ends and there is a delicate decision in the balance.  Right now the the talk on everyone’s lips is whether or not Mike Munchak and Jake Locker should get another chance next year.  Wholesale coaching changes may or may not happen, and it seems Bud is leaning that way after the “Lashing in Lambeau” last Sunday, but I’m here to caution those that think this is the answer.

Everyone needs to be careful about what they wish for.

A new coaching regime with a high draft pick will want to start from scratch.  New coordinators, new staff, new quarterback.  Sound familiar? Didn’t we just do this?  I’m not here to defend the absolute ineptness the Titans have shown against mediocre to good teams this year, but I will say it’s too soon to pull the plug on Locker.  Maybe some of you believe this is what should happen, but I’m preaching patience.  The odds of Locker staying if Munchak goes are slim to none at best.

We’ll discuss Munchak at another time, so for now let’s look at Locker.

Remember that Jake Locker was the consensus #1 QB had he come out as a junior the year before he did.  Not only did his return to Washington cost him millions of dollars but he also slid to the Titans in the next years draft at #8 overall.  So what’s in a number?  Would you be willing to give Locker more time had he been the first overall pick in the draft?  Or even the first quarterback taken?  Remember he has only started 11 games in his short career.

His first year he watched from the sidelines and looked pretty darn good in relief duty.  The one crucial play that goes against him in  year one is not being able to seal the deal against the Saints.  Eating the ball and taking a sack on 4th and goal is unacceptable on any level, but at the time it seemed not much more than a rookie mistake.  Locker still hasn’t shown that he has the “it” factor to win games in the clutch.  He has the heart and the want to, but that may prove not to be enough.

It’s obvious that he has potential .  I’m not saying that you give someone forever based on potential, if anything the Titans have done that to a fault historically, but it’s not like we haven’t seen anything good from him either. Let’s look at some of the issues that Jake has not “overcome” this year.

*His offfensive line is a living moving sieve.  I think my grandmother could get to Locker if she was stunting an A gap on a 3-4 defense.

*He has a quaterbacks coach calling plays for the first time and previously had an offensive coordinator from the UFL.  That’s right, the UFL.

*He had three career starts before getting his shoulder blown up and missed five games before returning to action.

*The Titans defense has played poorly enough for most of the season, making the offense to play from behind in almost every game, an therefor leaving Jake to force things that aren’t even there.

To some of you these will just be excuses.   I understand that in today’s NFL everyone expects immediate results and quick turnarounds.  For the most part this “success” is a little overblown.  What needs to be decided is whether the team is succeeding because of, with, or in spite of the quarterback.

A coaching change after this season could end Locker’s career before it even begins.  It’s going to be hard enough with a new offensive coordinator as it is.   I would hate to see locker go the way of Alex Smith, who had talent but ended up with 5 coordinators in 5 years.  Consistency and building something long term is underrated in today’s NFL.  I would rather build for the future even if it takes a little longer and truly have a stable base for the long term.  If you like Locker, then I suggest you also root for Munchak to keep his job.

So with that I implore Bud Adams to not throw the baby out with the bath water.


Side note:  I began to do a show and tell of all the “success” stories in the league at quarterback to see how Locker holds up, but it began to turn into it’s own article.  So check back for my next post as we look at all the quick and not so quick turnarounds around the league.  I think you’ll be surprised at what we find, and you may decide to give Locker more time as well!


you can follow me on twitter  @gunnelsj

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  • ken

    ummm… former U of Washington football player here and AVID fan. Just wanted to let you Titans fans know that Locker is… the worst QB in our school history. At least the last 35 years. And you picked him in the first round. Sorry

    • josh gunnels

      haha. i’m assuming this is what the kids call trolling these days.

    • Dustin Woodard

      Lol – ken is no husky fan. Us Husky fans faced a similar situation with Locker. Team was mediocre his 1st year, then we really learned how bad the team around him and the coaching was the year he was injured (team went 0-12). The next two years he helped rebuild the program with a new coach and took them to the holiday bowl where he beat a highly-touted Nebraska team (a team that beat the Huskies by 35 earlier in the year).

      Poor Jake Locker hasn’t had a stable coaching staff since he was in High School. With his work-ethic and competitive desires, I’d really like to see how he grows with a coaching staff. I wish Locker and the Titans the best of luck.

      • josh gunnels

        i was so excited when they drafted him because of these things. he’s still has work to do, but i think his ceiling is really high. I too believe that he just needs a little stability. Nice to hear from a true Husky fan!

        • Justin Stewart

          Exactly. Stability and perhaps no shoulder injuries. He was really looking sharp before that shoulder issue. Rookie year he showed poise. Sucks this year had to be such a shit show for the entire team.

      • Justin Stewart

        ^^^ This is basically the only thing I’ve heard from Husky fans. All positive.

  • Modesto Koczwara

    Have faith in Jake Locker because he is young!

    • josh gunnels

      have faith because he has the raw tools as well as the work ethic. a rare combination. just needs some time, good coaching, and stability

      • Modesto Koczwara