Tennessee Titans Need Jake Locker to Stay Healthy In 2013


Jun 18, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) passes the ball during mini camp at Baptist Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Neck. Thumb. Rib.

Those are some of the body parts that Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker injured when he played quarterback for the University of Washington. These injuries would force him to miss games in 2007, 2008 and 2010. His most severe injury came during his 2008 sophomore season. A broken thumb kept Locker out for eight games.

Were these fluke injuries? The injury trend continued after Locker was drafted with the No. 8 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. After spending his rookie season behind Matt Hasselbeck, Locker received his first start during the 2012-13 opener against the New England Patriots. Locker didn’t finish the game before he separated of his non-throwing shoulder. He re-aggravated that injury in Week 4. This caused him to miss five games and get offseason shoulder surgery.

That’s a sample of six seasons. Locker has missed starts in four of them. He spent one of those seasons as a backup. 2009 was the only season when he didn’t miss a start because of injuries or depth-chart positioning.

Many locals expect great things from this team. That’s largely due to the turnover with coaches and personnel. Much of that faith depends on Locker thriving with a revamped offensive line, new weapons in the passing game and an offensive scheme that should cater toward his skill-set (e.g. play-action passing, roll outs). Locker reminds Nate Washington of a young Ben Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Locker has his doubters. Among those critics is ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski. On his quarterback countdown list, Jaworski ranked Locker at No. 31. According to Jaworski (via Rotoworld):

“While Locker has often been talked about as throwing well on the run, a careful look at all his throws reveals that he is erratic with both his clarity and his accuracy. What really stood out in evaluating Locker was the number of sacks he took that resulted from pressure outside the box, especially from the slot. If (Locker) does not throw with more consistent accuracy, he will always struggle to become a quality NFL starter.”

There are so many questions surrounding the hopeful long-term quarterback for the Titans. First thing’s first: stay healthy. If Locker can’t do that, then nothing else matters. Well, nothing else other than Ryan Fitzpatrick.

What do our readers believe? Will Locker stay healthy for all 16 regular-season games? If not, how many will he miss? Answer in the poll and discuss on Disqus, Facebook or Twitter.