If there's a player on the Titans that cares "too much", I think that player is Jake Locker.
Jake Locker's leadership and love for his team is unquestionable. His desire to not let anyone down is extreme. Let us not forget that this is the same player that decided to return to college in order to try and take his Washington Huskies to a bowl game instead of going to the NFL the year before the lockout, costing him millions.
Defenders of Locker's inconsistent play often point to his shoulder injury and an offensive line in shambles. While all true, I believe these points only tell part of the story. One point not brought up enough is his mental makeup. Sometimes, Locker just tries too hard.
This would explain why Locker played better coming in off the bench during relief efforts in 2011. With out being the quarterback responsible for the team he could go out and play without the pressure. The further the team fell behind in 2012, the harder he pressed forcing things that weren't there. Taking the responsibility of the offense puts Jake in a bind. He grips too tight, tries too hard, and subsequently makes mistakes.
When asked what Jake Locker needs to do going forward, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains had this to say:
" We're talented enough around him now, that he just needs to drive the bus and get the ball to play makers. He doesn't have to do anything on his own, he needs to use his legs when he gets an opportunity to, and he needs to, you know, be okay with checking the ball down and not forcing, not making bad decisions."
This sums up a lot about Locker. His biggest hurdle at this point is the mentality to take what the defense gives you, much like Matt Hasselbeck did while playing for the Titans. If the Titans have built this team the way they think they have, Locker should be less apt to press early and often in a game. A strong running game and manageable down and distance situations will hopefully keep Locker from forcing the ball down field when he shouldn't.
I don't expect Jake Locker to turn into Charlie Checkdown overnight, but a step in that direction could work wonders for his career and the team as well. Not to mention that pesky completion percentage everyone loves to talk about. From all accounts, Locker is performing well and steadily improving during training camp practices. The high number of reps he's receiving this off season will only help keep things calm when it's time for live action.