Titans Win In Pittsburgh But Jake Locker, Quarterback Concerns Remain

Jake Locker: Tennessee Titans Win In Pittsburgh, QB Still a Concern

Jake Locker: Titans Win In Pittsburgh, But QB Still a Concern

Sep 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) looks to pass the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at Heinz Field. The Titans won the game, 16-9. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

On Sep. 8, the Tennessee Titans got a much needed win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 16-9. The defense played much better than expected and the Titans were able to pull off the upset victory. The Titans snapped the Steelers’ streak of 10 straight home-opener wins and got after Ben Roethlisberger, sacking him five times. It was a great win.

Let’s get right down to it. Jake Locker is not a franchise quarterback.

Criticize me all you’d like, however, I’ve watched the game long enough to know that he just isn’t the answer. If fans don’t see that then they must have a book of excuses on why he can still be the answer.

When is it time to say he’s just not good?

Yeah we can sit around and say “It was only the first game” or “It was against the Steelers defense”. But its time to come to our senses.

Locker will have some decent games here and there but when it comes down to good defenses and handling pressure, Jake is terrible. His stat line showed 11-of-20 for 125 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. That’s a 55-percent completion percentage. He could’ve easily thrown two interceptions throwing terrible passes that were popped into the air for any defender to grab. His incomplete passes were underthrown, thrown behind his receivers or overthrown.

For Locker, this was a poor showing. It looks like he has not progressed at all. The only aspect of his game was that he learned to slide. For once.

Dowell Loggains play-calling in the run game was very predictable and it led to 42 total carries for 112 yards. That’s an average of 2.7 yards per carry. A big part of this was Jake’s inability to throw the ball. This offensive line also needs to get better up front. I do believe the unit will figure it out through the season.

This was a great win for the Titans but they have 15 more games to play. How much confidence can the Titans have in Locker? When will the time come to pass the torch over to a veteran quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick?

Looking at this team from today, it makes me feel like they can get to the playoffs…with a quarterback. Locker is not the answer. He will have his hands full in Houston next week.

There are many questions to be answered after this game and much more work to be done as a team. The defense really stepped up today. Stopping the run was my main key to victory. It was only the first game but enough is enough when it comes to babying Locker and making up excuses for why he’s bad.

Titans fans are blinded by Locker’s characteristics and athleticism. It’s time to look at what he does on the field instead of how great of a guy he is off the field. Big win tonight and hopefully it continues whichever way the organization decides to go, but the faith in Locker is fading quickly.

Topics: Jake Locker, NFL, Tennessee Titans

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  • Chris

    Jake Locker didn’t have Michael Preston or Justin Hunter out on the field against the Steelers and they have the best hands of the wide receiver corps. we cant count Jake Locker out just yet it was just the first game.

    • John Sciarretta

      I would classify those as excuses. Something we cannot keep giving him.

    • SweetJamesJones

      Locker is terrible. He threw for 125 yards, and I have never seen an NFL QB miss wide open guys so frequently. He’s basically the UW version of Tim Tebow.

      QBs make wide receivers. Alex Smith leaves, Crabtree becomes an elite talent. Tebow leaves, Demaryious Thomas becomes an elite talent. Kurt Warner retires, Larry Fitzgerald’s productivity falls off. The wide receiver corps is probably the best in the AFC South as Britt and Wright are first rounders. He’s just too terrible to get the ball close to anyone. Bring on Fitzpatrick.

      • John Sciarretta

        I knew I wasn’t alone on this one haha.

        • westseadoc

          I’d say him play improved a lot this last game. He is far from a Christian Ponder (so far). CP makes very bad decisions and puts his team in a position to lose frequently. Jake has not made few decisions that have worsened his team’s chances to win. He may not have moved the O well in a few games but he didn’t turn it over much, either. Either way, his play next weeks against the Seahawk’s D will be telling. If he performs even reasonably well, his stock as a potential NFL QB of elite status will take a big step forward. I think Jake will eventually shut up the naysayers like many on this panel, including the writer. As far as “he’s had his time .. reps” .. no question, he has had time and reps but if you have any working knowledge of performance science, he just hasn’t had yet enough .. remember, he did not start from a pro offensive background and only began passing in earnest the last half of his junior year and onward. Once, if ever, Jake can get to the point of reading the D almost instinctively through study of game films and more reps, then we’ll know the real ceiling for this young QB.

    • titansfan

      Yeah you can.

  • westseadoc

    Jake’s sub par play will improve. I would be very hesitant to push him into feeling the pressure of “having to make a play.” This mentality, of a young QB or ANY player only leads to bad decisions from trying too hard. Witness the penalty yesterday that cost the Tampa Bay a certain victory. Jake hasn’t done a lot to help his team win, yet. It is still a learning curve and just because Jake is behind the curve, doesn’t mean he can’t catch up. It takes reps and time if you understand anything about how performance theory works. Right now, the most important thing is that he is doing very little to help the other team (interceptions, fumbles, etc). It’s way too soon to give up on a young QB with great athleticism. Sometimes you have to simply commit to the decision and ride it out to the fullest before giving up. It might cost you a season but you don’t want to give up many seasons to follow or allow another team to capitalize on your bad decision by signing what talent you have developed but quit too soon.

    • John Sciarretta

      He has had his time and reps. Even Geno Smith had a good game and led an awful Jets team to a victory.

    • DikEd

      I disagree. Look at Russel Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck, RG3, ETC ETC ETC none of these guys spent 3 years looking terrible to all the sudden become great. they were good or showed flashed of greatness immediately. Locker has looked bad with flashed of mediocrity.
      If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck then guess what buddy? its a duck. NFL quarterbacks don’t look bad for 2-3 years then boom something changed and that same guy is a probowler.
      jake locker has always both in the NFL and in college been a player who was inaccurate and someone that made questionable decisions. if I was to name probably the 2 most important features of an NFL QB Im going with Accuracy and poise. Hmmmmmmm
      to speculate on what jake locker may or may not be feeling is silly.
      11-20 passing will not get it done in the nfl. that’s been a consistent stat line his whole major football career. Unfortunately he is nothing more than Christian ponder south. the weakest link on an otherwise solid ball club.

      • titansfan

        That’s fine with me. Once the Ttians go 6-10 again, then Munchak will go along with Locker. God I miss Jeff Fisher!

        • John Sciarretta

          haha

  • Hyde071

    This is very inaccurate. How about his 2 perfect passes on 3rd and long?
    And 2 dropped passes by WRs- 1 Kendall wright to convert a 3rd down; 2
    Williams planted his feet to early and fell- also 3rd down. The offensive scheme against Pitt
    was conservative. I’m not saying Locker is the next Rodgers,
    but calling him out is short-sighted. It seems this team is trying to
    find identity as run first and tough D. Which is old school, so if there
    is anything to complain about, it’s the coaches approach. Locker has
    done everything asked and still has potential to be an effective NFL QB. Evaluating him Week 1 and calling for Fitzpatrick is also a mistrust of Munchak and co. It seems your frustrations are being directed to the wrong person…

    • John Sciarretta

      If you believe he is a guy that can win the Titans a Super Bowl than more power to you. He’s been evaluated for years now including college. Once again the excuses follow. I’m not saying call for Fitzpatrick now but when will the time come when they realize fitz can actually hit a player on an easy slant instead of throwing it 2 yards behind him.

      • Hyde071

        Fair, but calling for the backup QB is the easiest go to complaint in the book. I dont think Locker is a ‘put the team on my shoulders’ QB, but he could develop into a great game manager to build a team around (i.e. running team, tough defense) – its old school and Im not necessarily excited about building a team like that, but my sense is that’s what Munchak is trying to do….old school win t.o.p. and slow down the game in the 4th QTR…its against everything trending in the NFL and boring to watch…but if we’re that kind of team and get good at it, then why not??

        • John Sciarretta

          It really comes down to Locker beating good teams. Locker himself has not won the titans on his own like Vince Young used to do. His only really good start was against the Lions last season. any other game blow you away? No. What happens when a team stops the run? What happens if we get to the playoffs and play Denver? I hope he has a good season obviously but at the same time its common sense if you watch football…he’s got all the talent in the world to work with and a top 5 running back. It was the first game but that doesn’t change the fact he showed the same signs as last year when hes suppose to progress. This will be my last comment of the day but lets all cross our fingers on locker…for another year.

    • John Sciarretta

      The run game will not be successful if Jake Locker cannot pass the ball downfield for touchdowns.

  • titanfan

    THE TITANS WON…jake locker is just fine. NO TURNOVERS..Did yall watch the season last year?? The recievers have to catch and the O-LINE has to BLOCK..pressure bust pipes with any qb in the nfl. well pocket type.

  • dfultz12

    Locker is a third year quarterback who lost much of last year to injury, is feeling out a new system, and played well enough to out uo enough points to win tye game against arguably the best defensive coordinator of all time. Are you really making the argument that a 30+ year old backup with a noodle arm, a propensity for interceptions in big moments, and zero upside is a better option after one game? Come on man, take yourself more seriously. This article is short sighted and poorly written. By your logic, a child should sub in for you because you missed the mark worse than locker sir.

    • SweetJamesJones

      Not to intervene, but Matt Hasselbeck (a 30+ year old backup with a noodle arm and no upside) was 2-2 in games he started, completed 62.4% of his passes and averaged 236 per game with the same personnel. They didn’t have a problem with drops, because the ball was well thrown.

      Locker passed for 125 yesterday. Munchak is trying to hide him with a run first game plan. If you are scheming around your QB, you need a new one. This is his 3rd year as a pro, and there are a lot better players straight out of college. He should have command of the offense and be able to hit open guys by now. He’s can’t, and he probably never will.

      All that to say, Why sit through another boring offensive season? Say what you want about Fitz, but at least the games are fun to watch. He could easily outgun Jacksonville and Indy (with their awful defense) making 8-8 or better possible. Stick with Locker, and its going to be 6-10 at best.

      • dfultz12

        Hasselbeck was also considered an upper tiered quarterback in his prime. He should have better stat lines than a young guy coming in. Fitz hasnt had anywhere near the success or accomplishments that matt has had. With that being said, why would you throw in the adaquate back up whos upside is to get you to 8-8? Especially when the starter is the player you invested a top 10 pick in and who hasnt played a full, healthy season. In my eyes that would be absurd. Keep in mind mcnairs fist couple seasons were nothing to write home about and he put up some poor stat lines early on and that seemed to work out pretty well

        • DikEd

          dude locker sucks quit defending him. this article is more on point than locker. put the Koolaid down.

        • SweetJamesJones

          McNair also ran for 600 yards a year in those early years and led his team to 8-8 records. He also had a history of being a prolific passer in college.

          It’s not the 90s where players have watch and develop. Cam Newton, Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton, and Colin Kaepernick were all in the 2011 draft class. They are all more accurate and more developed than him. Luck, RGIII, Russell Wilson and Tannehill are also better, and they were a class later.

          In college, Locker completed 53.9% of his passes and had a 12-26 record. In the pros, he has a completion 55.5% of his passes and has a 5-7 record (counting yesterday). From watching him play, nothing suggests he is any better than his record. He’s on a loaded roster with an elite RB and first round receivers, and he still can’t make plays. Maybe you fire Munchak, bring in somebody, and he becomes Alex Smith.

          I like him a lot, and I am rooting for him. Its just obvious that he is what is holding this team back.

          • John Sciarretta

            Well Done. You can even look at a guy like Kirk Cousins and wonder?? what can a guy like that do on the Titans.

      • John Sciarretta

        Well said.

    • John Sciarretta

      I’m calling for someone who can help win the team games. We honestly don’t know who’s better between futz and locker. If you think locker is the answer to bringing home a championship than I don’t know what your watching.

      • dfultz12

        Youre calling for a guy who lost a lot of games for the bills after spiller put in the hard work. Did you see any bills games last year? Do you realize he passed for less than 200 yards 7 times last year? Dont get me wrong im glad hes here because hes a capable back up but just not much else. Ive seen just as many dropped balls on third and long as I have errant passes in the same situation. Let the guy see what he can do with an improved team before yall run him out of town and let harbaugh, reid, or belichick get a hold of him

        • John Sciarretta

          I never said put Jake Locker in now. It was me saying when will the coaching staff decide to go with him. I’m not Judging him off of one game, but there was no progression in this game at all. the “dropped” passes were forced passes into coverage. This is something Locker is known for and it will lead to disaster. I love Jake Locker but at the end of the day I am a realistic fan who knows the game of football. Jake Locker will not be a franchise quarterback. I hope he plays well this year of course, but I see a mark sanchez situation in the making. He has just good enough numbers to hang around until we find the right guy. I think it’s time to maybe put it in your head the Titans may have made a bad selection in the draft. It happens. Maybe we should have waited to grab andy dalton who blossomed in his first year or maybe even colin kaepernick who blossomed off the bench and brought his team to a super bowl. The clock is ticking.

          • John Sciarretta

            *Ryan Fitzpatrick in now.

          • Mechguy

            Crazy,,,, Fitz has already proved he is lower tier. At the very least let Locker continue to improve. Putting in Fitz would be giving up on the year. Fitz already throws interceptions and you criticize Locker for throwing what “should have been” an interception. Get real. In his 3 rd year at Cincy he threw 8 td’s and 9 interceptions was sacked 38 times and fumbled 11 times in 13 games he threw for 1900 yards. I guarantee Locker will be better then that this year.

  • http://www.titansized.com/ Justin Stewart

    And if he completes 12 passes, instead of 11, that’s a 60% completion rate. The Titans found success running the ball. No reason to make an inexperienced QB carry the team. Locker did just fine.

    • John Sciarretta

      Do you believe he can carry this team Justin? and what did you think of his incomplete passes?

      • http://www.titansized.com/ Justin Stewart

        Yes. I’ve seen him do it against teams like New Orleans and the Falcons. I thought a couple of those incomplete passes came from a fast ball bouncing off receivers hands. Not saying he’s Aaron Rodgers, but he is a special player. He’s had 3 different OCs in his time here. Give him some time to grow with the new playbook/receivers.

        • John Sciarretta

          I’m giving him this year. And so is Bud Adams

          • http://www.titansized.com/ Justin Stewart

            I think that’s about what everyone is giving him.

      • Shad O’Zimmerman

        Yes, actually; I think that is the number one thing he can do. In games, he can look a bit erratic or inaccurate in the pocket, he can let passes sail, and he can take some ugly sacks. But those only happen a very few times per game. With four drops from his wide receivers, Jake’s adjusted completion percentage would have been 75% (15 of 20) for 125 yards with no turnovers, with only one sack and some hurries. This is a very clean way to manage a game that was severely run-dominated, with passes taking up only about a third of the game. With several clutch 3rd down conversions, he led the Titans to a win against a highly-hyped Steeler’s squad on their own turf, shattering a league-leading at-home record. Locker can certainly carry this team. When the going gets tough, he’ll only get tougher. Did you see the Detroit game last year? He was a top-5 fantasy QB that day.

        Forget the past. This is a new year. And there’s no reason not to believe the Titans can go very far.

        • John Sciarretta

          which drops? I only saw forced passes into coverage that were almost picked off. The only thing I’ll give him is damian williams slipped a bit. and the Detroit game was his only good game of his career. so Jake Locker beat the Steelers? because he converted a couple 3rd downs? is that what i’m getting at? or was it the 11 rushes and Jackie Battles touchdown and the great defense we played?