Aug 17, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) throws to a receiver during the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE
We've been focusing in on the QB situation the past few days here and I'll follow suit here too. Let's start with some positives about the move.
He won the job outright. He is the Week 1 starter because he demonstrated himself to be the best QB available. It's really that simple. There was no owner forcing the Titans' hand. He isn't starting simply because he was a first round pick. Jake Locker is your starting QB because he was the best player at the spot. That is great news for fans. Too often the QB decision is influenced by other factors like coaching politics or because of fan outcry.
I added this in the comments yesterday but I'll put it here as well. This move is popular in the locker room and that's one of the reasons for optimism. Vince Young may have fooled fans, but there were many players in the room that knew the truth. The fact the players are in favour of this move bodes well for us.
His athleticism adds another dimension to the offense. One of the advantages over Hasselbeck is that Locker's arm strength and mobility are far superior. Confession time: I lied to myself after the Vince Young era. I told myself that I was done with mobile QBs, when in fact I still do love them more. Why not have a QB that could do more than a typical pocket passer? He's going to be exciting to watch.
There are a few unpleasant things to consider however, and let's get to those too...
One of the reasons Locker will be so exciting to watch is that he's going to be equal parts amazing and frustrating. We know the physical talent is there but there will be growing pains, even after his year on the bench. One only has to look at that awful, awful, AWFUL interception in the Tampa game to realize this is a guy short on experience. He will learn from his mistakes, but step one in that learning process is making some mistakes. I'll cheat a little on this one- I think this is a positive too. Sure I want Locker to eliminate those poor decisions, but it also shows that he's looking to make a play. There are many young QBs that get coached into such an anti-turnover mentality that all they do is check down. As long as he learns from his mistakes, there shouldn't be a problem.
There will be some bad games, we'll let him keep playing...and it might still look awful. Now that the QB switch has happened, it will take something big (read: forty point wipeout) to get Locker out of the game. It won't do any good to put Hass in. Locker's the guy and will be for better or worse.
There's a common trend in the two thoughts above, and that is patience will be required. He's not going to be Tom Brady right away. He won't be as electric as Michael Vick. He's going to look like a young quarterback getting his first major playing time.