‘Back’ to the Future


He started the season healthy. Then came a bruised hand in week 2. Three weeks later he played through the flu and suffered a bruised quad. In week 6 he cracked a rib and two weeks later took such a pounding that rib broke. Most Titan fans would think this list described their old quarterback Steve McNair. These injuries, however, describe the Titans new quarterback Jake Locker.

There were some seasons McNair rarely took a snap in practice, but you somehow knew number 9 would be out there gutting it out for his teammates. That toughness was once as symbolic of the Tennessee Titans as the fireball logo that adorns the side of their helmets. That may have been what Mike Munchak and Mike Reinfeldt were looking for when they selected Jake Locker with the eighth overall pick in this years draft.

Once considered the “Etch it in stone” number one overall pick by Mel Kiper, Locker’s stock suffered during his senior campaign. This is in large part to coach Sarkisian playing a large number of freshman and sophomores in order to improve the Huskies down the road. This left Locker with an offensive line that only one upper classman as a starter, which was a major contributor to his numerous injuries during the 2010 campaign.

Another knock on Locker has been his accuracy. Locker’s completion percentage in 2010 was 55.4%. This number is lower than it should be.  When reviewing the numbers from last season Huskies receivers dropped a total of 41 “catchable passes” (catchable passes being throws that hit the receivers in the hands). If you remove the passes that had the opportunity to be caught, but weren’t, Locker’s accuracy jumps to 67.7%.

The Titans were at their best when they looked to their guy and saw someone who they knew was going to give everything he had and then some. Teams take on the personality of their leaders, for better or for worse. The last few Titans teams have shown this to be true with off the field problems finding their way onto the field in the players heads.

If the trend of follow the leader continues fans will like what they see with Locker at the helm. Toughness, grit, never say die and a work ethic second to none. These are the things leaders used to be made of around here. With Locker in charge, Titan fans may start suffering from déjà vu.

-Walker Thomas