Is Zach Mettenberger the new Jake Locker?


The Tennessee Titans are now a month away from making a franchise altering decision. When you have the number 2 pick in the draft, you either hit a home run….or strike out.

There is no in between.

Marcus Mariota? Leonard Williams? Trade the pick away? The Titans have plenty of options…and plenty of things to ponder. A growing sentiment among fans is to trade the pick away, and to give second year qb Zach Mettenberger  another chance to lead the team.

After all, (fans say that) he’s a quality guy. Personable and accountable. Plus, Mettenberger showed flashes in a couple of games…and didn’t get a chance to show what he can really do because of his season ending injury. Plus…

Wait…where have I heard this before?

Heading into the 2012 season, the Titans were all fired up about second year qb Jake Locker. He won the starting job over incumbent starter Matt Hasselbeck, and went on to throw for 10 tds…and 11 ints. He missed five games because of injury.

In 2013, Locker was once again given the keys to the franchise.

And played in only 7 games that season. Still a quality guy from all accounts. Still personable. Still accountable.

And still struggling.

But not the 2014 RGIII flame out type of struggle. We’re talking about a great game here, bad game there. Freak accident injury after a string of good games. I mean, we just couldn’t help but feel bad for him. And to root for him I suppose.

Well, at least I did.

What’s scary about Mettenberger is that we…as Titans fans…are starting to do the same thing with him.

Nov 30, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger (7) during the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This season Mettenberger played in 7 games…threw for 1,412 yards, 8 tds, 7 ints. It was considered a rookie success by most residents of the Music City. At least enough of a success to be given another chance this year.

In 2013, Locker played in 7 games, threw for 1,256 yards, 8tds, 4 ints. And we all (me included) were shocked when new head coach Ken Whisenhunt decided to keep him around.

Different qb’s…same stats.

Now, I’m not fully suggesting that Mettenberger’s career will end like Locker’s. I certainly hope it doesn’t. It’s just that Locker was given chance after chance, only to wind up walking away from the game anyway. Throughout his four year tenure in Tennessee, there was never any real competition brought in to push Locker. Just journeymen qb’s who’s best days were in the rearview mirror.

Charlie Whitehurst is currently Tennessee’s number 2 qb. And he is a journeyman who’s best days are in the rearview mirror.

If you do not learn from history…you are doomed to repeat it.

Whatever draft day plans the Titans have should include a qb to push Mettenberger for the starting job this season. Coach Munchak’s time ran out waiting on the Locker project to develop.

Coach Whiz should take heed.

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