Quick Shot: Are we all underestimating Jake Locker?

USA TODAY Sports

Jake Locker is facing a lot of preseason scrutiny, including some from me. Is the fan base underrating Locker? underestimating

Jake Locker's career hasn't started out with a flashy winning streak or an easy trip to the playoffs, but those that think Locker is a bust already are really missing the devil in the details.

Firstly, lets talk about just how unlucky Locker was to have the combination of Steve Hutchinson, Deuce Lutui, Leroy Harris, Kevin Mathews, Kyle Devan, and Mitch Petrus all see time as starters on the interior of the offensive line due to injures. Since they all played so poorly we will call that group the "Subs". Together the subs managed to allow 45 hurries, 13 hits, and 10 sacks on 2,053 snaps. To give some perspective the combination of Fernando Velasco, Michael Roos, and David Stewart allowed only 41 hurries 13 hits, and 6 sacks on 2,658 snaps. That means that while compensating for the backups, the OTs and the OC still managed to out preform the backups on more snaps.

As a unit the offensive line certainly didn't do Locker any favors, but what about his WRs? In fact, Locker had 8% of his catch-able passes dropped by his targets, that was the 6th highest drop rate in the league. When using PFF's adjusted completion percentage, Locker finishes just .2% off from Eli Manning and above Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, and even Joe Flacco. That doesn't scream inaccuracy to me.

As for Locker's most impressive attribute, his legs, he finished 6th in quarterback rushing yards behind RG3, Newton, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Michael Vick despite missing five games with an injury. Much more impressively, Locker was 1st in the league in yards per carry by a QB who ran the ball 15+ times with 7.1 YPC. Final stat, Locker ended the season with five runs of over 20 yards, 3rd among quarterbacks finishing just one behind RG3.

If Locker would have stayed healthy last year, he would have contributed 3,174 combined yards while scoring 15 TDs, and 15 INTs. That is with the terrible OL and drops. Not terrible numbers for a first year QB without a running game. Locker has all the tools to be a winning QB now that the Titans have surrounded him with better options at WR and a vastly improved offensive line. If the fan base will support him and hold the boos until at least the bye week mark, then Locker may build the confidence and rhythm he needs to lead this team to the playoffs.

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