NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 13: Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Tennessee Titans drops back to pass against the Minnesota Vikings during a preseason game at LP Field on August 13, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
It's time for a real game in Tennessee and every play matters from here on out. Now let's take a look at the three things the guys in two-toned blue have to do in order to pull an "upset."1. Jake Locker:
It's #lockertime and with that a new era begins for Tennessee this Sunday. During the preseason Locker was amazing at times and extremely sketchy at others, I'll admit that I was one of the guys who were freaked out after the Saints game.
That being said, Locker must find a way to maintain his emotions and be the steady hand to lead not only this offense but the entire team for the season. Jake has to be able to move the offense and put some points on the board, you cannot have 5-7 3 and outs against a New England team who racks up points the way that they do. His legs are a weapon and he has got to use them when things break down, Patriots Head Coach doesn't sound to excited about having to potentially run after Locker all game.
The only thing I'm asking of Locker is that he try his best (which I know he will) and that he not lose the game for the team with a untimely interception or fumble.
2. Chris Johnson:
CJ ran all over the Patriots back in 2009, that's easy to say because he was the only one who decided to show up that day apparently.
Anyways, CJ doesn't have to be CJ2K but needs to be reliable enough to take the heat off of his quarterback, if CJ gets shut down early that will force Locker to make more throws than necessary and that isn't good for business or for anyone.
Constantly getting decent yardage from the run game allows Tennessee to milk the clock and keep pretty boy Brady on the sideline, which is good for business! It also wouldn't kill CJ to catch a couple of passes either.
3. Jared Cook:
Cook is Danomite's Dynamite Player to watch for week one (Thanks August)
Cook holds the keys to a victory in my opinion, he is a safety net for Locker and should see balls thrown his way early and often Sunday.
Nothing will settle Locker's nerves like completing his first few balls to his outlet at tight end.....unless Cook screws it up and drops the ball, which is entirely possible. I would feel better about Locker forcing balls into coverage in Cook's direction rather that constantly trying to get the ball to Wright. Cook needs to have a big game Sunday, not only to calm so of the criticisms against himself but to help ease his quarterback into a more comfortable situation.