First up, Quarterback. It's only natural to begin with the most important skill position in the NFL. The Titans' quest for a franchise quarterback has been a rough one since the McNair days, and fans have been divided lately over the legitimacy of Jake Locker to be "the guy" heading into the future. A lot of folks are ready for change at the QB position as well as the coaching staff. So without further delay, here is how the group looks as of late 2013.
Jake Locker (IR)
The Washington product was solid out of the gate this year, flashing poise, accuracy, and good decision-making in the early onset. This steady play, especially on late-game drives, led to wins over San Diego and New York, while also winning in Pittsburgh in the season opener. Injury yet again derailed his year, striking twice and eventually landing him on IR. With one more year on an affordable rookie deal, Munch (cringe) or a new HC (fingers-crossed) will likely see what the young gun can do before making a decision on re-signing him. One way or another, I feel Locker has shown enough talent and leadership to be positive looking towards the future, it will all come down to whether or not he can stay healthy, since there is no doubt that his play returning from earlier knocks suffers in a big way.
Fitzpatrick was signed over the off-season to replace Matt Hasselbeck, and the ex-Bill wasn't exactly cheap for a backup signal caller. The Titans were likely okay with this, since he was a borderline starter-quality quarterback...except he wasn't. He has been a curious case since his arrival in town, with absolutely dreadful performances right next to nearly flawless ones. Unfortunately, in the wake of Locker's injury, Titans fans have gotten much more of the former. The team has gone 1-6 under his watch.
It is a minor miracle that Rusty Smith is still on an NFL roster. Whatever the Titans brass see in him I may never know, but as of right now he is a camp body and little else. The pre-season king's last in-season performance leads me to believe that, when a new coach comes into town, his tenure with the team will likely come to an end.
Skelton is an interesting case. While having a tendency to throw killer interceptions at an alarming rate, the primary reason for his exodus from Arizona, the QB also has shown some great arm strength and the ability to make NFL level throws. "Skeletor" gives the Titans some insurance should Fitzpatrick go down at any stretch in the next three weeks.
This is a tough one to gauge. While we known that Locker is this team's QB in the Munch tenure, a new coaching staff would have to make a decision on both Locker and Fitz, though I believe they will be easy ones. With Jake playing under his affordable rookie contract, I imagine any coach would see fit to roll with him for at least another year before making a determination. Fitz has not lived up to either his expectations as a quality backup, nor his contract, and I don't expect him to be on the team next year should a new staff be brought into the fold. That said, backup quality NFL QBs (and worse) have tended to stick on Titans rosters for years now, so it will be worth watching. I don't think there is any doubt that this team needs a better insurance plan than the ex-Buffalo Bill, and I expect them to pursue that later in the draft, or in FA should another option present itself over the next offseason.