This year has been different for rookie quarterbacks. Guys like Cam Newton and Andy Dalton have started from the beginning of the season and played well. I think we will start to see more and more of that as we go forward because football has moved to a passing game. That is true all the way down to the high school level. That means that guys are throwing the ball all over the yard much earlier now and are better prepared for a passing offense when they get to the NFL.
It is tough as a Titans fan to watch these other rookie quarterbacks have success while our #8 pick, Jake Locker, sits on the sidelines, but the organization has chosen a course for him, and at this point there is no sense in abandoning it.
First off, Matt Hasselbeck is not the problem. He is not setting the world on fire, but he gives the Titans a better chance to win games than Locker at this point.Secondly, there is no one out there for Locker to throw to right now. Confidence is a big key for young quarterbacks, and putting him out there with this group of skill guys would not help his confidence at all.
The calls to put Locker on the field are going to get stronger with each loss, and the Bengals game could be the start of a lengthy losing streak. Sure, they could win a couple of games here or there, but it is really hard for me to look at a game on paper in the next five weeks and circle it as a win. Let's just say they lose the next two on the road. If you listen to Nashville talk radio, you are going to hear call after call from people demanding that they play Locker. The bad that it would do to Locker would outweigh the good.
The time it would be smart for them to put Locker in the line-up is the week 15 game against the Colts. That would give him three weeks of game experience against Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Houston. All three of those games will be winnable, especially considering the Texans will have the division wrapped up by then.
That would give him three NFL games under his belt to build on for 2012. The Titans knew Locker was going to be a project when they drafted him, and if they were being honest they knew that this season was going to be a rebuilding one. The plan was to let him learn and work on his mechanics in practice for at least a year. There is no reason to abandon that plan now.