Are The Tennessee Titans Better With Matt Hasselbeck Starting?


Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PREWIRE

Yes, I know that Jake Locker is the starting QB and will be starting again once he’s healthy, but are Titans a better team with Matt Hasselbeck starting at QB? Let’s look at a few things.

With Jake Locker starting, the offense averages 311 yards and 5.73 yards a play. Now with Hasselbeck the Titans average 335 yards and 5.27 yards a play. So you can see that they average more for the whole game just not as much per play. Some of that has to do with Locker averaging 7.37 yards a pass to Hasselbeck’s 5.90. Locker has a bigger arm and looks to throw it downfield more often than Hasselbeck does. Advantage- Hasselbeck for total yards. Advantage- Locker for higher yards per completion

What about 3rd down %, which is a very big part of an offense. If you can’t convert, you can’t stay on the field and score. With Locker playing, the offense converted 11 out of 35 third down opportunities (31%). With Hasselbeck playing, the the offense has converted 19 out of 44 opportunities(43%). As you can see, the offense has had more attempts to covert third downs and has converted more of those attempts with Hasselbeck as the QB. Advantage- Hasselbeck

Time of possession, another important part of the game that is sometimes overlooked. With Locker at QB, the Titans averaged 24:09 each game in T.O.P. With Hasselbeck that number jumps to 27:97. That’s almost four more minutes per game of having the ball longer than the other team. That might not seem like much but for a young defense, having four extra minutes on the sideline to rest and adjust is huge. Advantage- Hasselbeck

Let’s talk points. With Locker at the helm, the offense averaged 15.3 points a game (that’s adjusted for offensive points scored only). With Hasselbeck as the starter the Titans average 15.6 points a game. Basically the same with a slight uptick in points when Hasselbeck plays, but I don’t think much of a difference to make a big deal about. Advantage- Hasselbeck

What about sacks and turnovers? Locker was sacked three times in three games with a total of five turnovers in those three games. Hasselbeck has been sacked eight times and has a total of five turnovers in three games as well. So while Hasselbeck has been sacked more times, they both have turned the ball over the same amount of times. Advantage-Draw with a lean towards Locker as having the advantage

Here is something that may be overlooked but I think is very important; Chris Johnson production. With Jake Locker as the starting QB, Chris Johnson averaged 1.4 yards a carry with an average of 11 carries a game. He also produced a grand total of 45 rushing yards with Locker starting. With Hasselbeck as the starting QB, Chris Johnson has averaged 4 yards a carry with an average of 19 carries a game. He has also produced 256 rushing yards in the three games with Hasselbeck starting. This should all be highlighted, it is simply night and day in CJ’s production when Hasselbeck is playing instead of Locker. If I was CJ I would be the biggest Hasselbeck fan on the team. Advantage- Hasselbeck

Looks like Hasselbeck is running away with why he should start by what I’ve posted, but not so fast. Look, Locker is the future of this franchise and when he is healthy, he will start again. Moving forward as a team, I think its best if he does start so he can get acclimated to the entire game.

Locker has tremendous upside as a young QB, but he also has many different aspects of his game to work on. He is definitely not as far a long in his development as any of the other second year QBs (Ponder, Dalton, and Newton) except Blaine Gabbert. He’s also nowhere close to being on the level of RGIII or Andrew Luck so it is imperative that he plays early and often to get a hold of the offense, the audibles, and the overall feel for the game.

Yes Locker can scramble and he has a laser rocket arm, but in real football, not in Madden, its about throwing into tight windows, being able to lead your receiver, and keeping the chains moving. This is not Madden football, he’s not rated an 83 but plays like a 90. He can’t just take off and run everytime the pocket breaks down and get 45 yards. He’s already had two seperated shoulders in his first three professional football games as a starter and should be very cautious about getting a thrird seperated shoulder before the season is over.

I know this is a hot button topic, but I hope you look at with Titans shaded glasses and not Locker shaded glasses and can at least see something in there that makes sense. For whatever reason, people seem to be overly protective of Jake Locker more than any other player on the Titans team. Why? I’m not sure, but it is interesting that when negative words are said about Locker many people’s fethers get very ruffled.

What say you?

Shawn Eagle

You can follow me on twitter @RS1Eagle