Down in Tennessee the competition is on to see who will be the Titans starting quarterback. Veteran Matt Hasselbeck and 2011 8th
overall draft pick Jake Locker will be put to the test every week to see who is best to lead the Titans into the 2012 season.
For me the answer is simple, start Locker. He was able to help lead the team after Hasselbeck got the Titans into losing situations. With a passer rating of over 90 in his rookie season, Locker lead the Titans back from absolute annihilation. After Hasselbeck’s elbow injury in week 11, Locker started and put forth great effort, especially in week 14 against the New Orleans Saints. After Hasselbeck had dug the team into a deep hole, Locker came back and threw for 282 yards and almost led the team to a win.
Hasselbeck’s record was not great during the 2011 season. Although he did help lead the team to a 9-7 record in the AFC South and had a passer rating of 82.4, he also threw eight interceptions over the final eight games of the season. His leadership qualities were better seen in mentoring Locker as opposed to leading the Titans to victories.
As a rookie Locker had to sit on the bench while other QBs from his draft class such as Cam Newton, Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton and Blaine Gabbart lead their teams from the get-go. Locker sat on the bench, gained experience, learned the offense and will be able to lead the Titans without a doubt.
Of course Locker can only be as strong as his offensive weapons. With wide receivers Kenny Britt and Nate Washington due to come back strong after their injuries this summer, and running back Chris Johnson due after a disappointing 2011 campaign with 262 carries for 1,047 yards and four TDs. Tight end Jared Cook will be another option as he had a solid year. Finally, there is wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins, who came up with big plays when the Titans needed him to.
Locker will be protected by newly acquired offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson.
Finally, the Titans drafted Kendall Wright 20th
overall, from Baylor. He proved his worth, working well with 2nd
overall pick Robert Griffin III. He and Locker could become a good develop solid chemistry over the offseason.
Locker’s talent and the offense that surrounds him could take the Titans deep into the playoffs next season. Head coach Mike Munchak has said "a tie (for starting position) would go to Locker". “He came in and performed under pressure", and “If we didn't think he could start as a rookie, we couldn't take him at 8".
The most likely scenario is that Hasselbeck will start the season as the starter, but it won’t take long for Locker to take over. The fact of the matter is Locker is the future of the Titans. I cannot see Hasselbeck leading the Titans to the playoffs, not to mention the Super Bowl.