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

Tennessee Titans Putting Their Money On Jake Locker

For the Tennessee Titans and their staff, it’s all or nothing this year and they’re going all-in on Jake Locker. This offseason has, and will continue to be focused on fixing the Titans holes on defense and surrounding Locker with as much talent as they can, both through free agency and the impending 2013 NFL Draft.

After the recent signing of veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Titans went on the record as saying that Fitzpatrick knows his role and Jake Locker has the starting job. There is no QB competition.

And that’s the way it should be. Locker should be able to come into camp and build the team up around himself. He’s a leader, and thanks to the Titans giving him an amazing mentor in Matt Hasselbeck, he should be more than ready to take over and lead this team to the playoffs.

Locker was given the keys to the franchise last fall, but after an early injury and lackluster play upon his return from said injury, people have been quick to jump off the Locker bandwagon just as quickly as they got on. That’s just the way sports fans are now-a-days. If you aren’t winning, you’re a horrible loser who’s not cut out for the NFL, let alone playing patty-cake with the angry fans grandmother.

Luckily, coaches don’t share that same type of enthusiasm.

People seem quick to forget what a healthy Locker did in spare time during his rookie year. Then again, those of us that defend Locker’s play are just as quick to bring it up, as it’s what little ammo we have to throw at the non-believers. There are still reasons to have faith in him though; more reasons than just his rookie play.

Dec 17, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson during the game against the New York Jets at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

A lightened, simplified playbook should be Locker’s best friend in 2013. All too often receivers were confused about their routes and positioning on specific plays in 2012. The QB and receiver hardly ever seemed to be on the same page. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains has made it his mission to make things simpler for both positions. Much of Locker’s success lies in his hands.

A resurgence in the Titans run game should also strengthen Locker’s play, considering the fact that in 2012 he was often faced with getting the Titans to the first down marker after a run or two had netted the Titans negative yards. Shonn Greene has been brought in to split carries with Chris Johnson as a secondary back, a position that he flourished in for the New York Jets behind then starting RB Thomas Jones. Johnson also flourish splitting reps with a bigger back during his rookie year, making a pair better known as “Smash & Dash.”

Hopes are that WR Kenny Britt will also show up after a disappointed 2012 season. Britt is entering his contract year and has shown flashes of Hall of Fame type play, but hasn’t consistently produced at the level thanks to injuries and off-the-field issues. The Titans will look to Britt and Wright to give Locker some reliable targets.

I’ll save my breath on this one and just say, “Don’t forget the new O-line!”

I’ve been a Locker fan from the start, but I’d like to think I know to pull back and admit to being wrong about a player. I’m not ready to do that with Locker. I think his best play is yet to come and that he’ll be feeding critics back their own words this year.

Here’s to hoping I’m not just struggling to take off my horse blinders.


You can find me on Twitter @JustinLStewart



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Tags: AFC South Jake Locker Tennessee Titans

  • josh gunnels

    AMEN Brother! Preach on.

  • James Hayes

    Locker 4 Prez!!! Lets get it … Defense needs to TITAN UP this year

    • Justin Stewart

      Coaches are making sure they’ve got the guys to do it.

      • James Hayes

        JS I can’t believe we grabbed pollard I’m more excited then a kid in a toys r us right now !! We are slaying free agency

        • Justin Stewart

          Ha ha ha. Certainly having a good one. Should make for an exciting draft!

  • Wside#44Grooms

    Your exactly right, Locker hasnt had a chance to prove himself at all yet. His shot is coming in 2013 and he’s going to play like a 8th overall pick.

    • Justin Stewart

      *Fingers crossed

  • Shawn Eagle

    You are correct….the ball is in his court this year. To credit the coaching staff….they are reeling in the passing game and going to focus on just moving the chains consistently.

    • Justin Stewart

      Yeah. I think their main focus is getting positive yards every play.
      Getting negative yards on the first few plays happened too often this
      last year and certainly didn’t help out our young QB any.