Jake Locker: Better than the Numbers?

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

In my second installment of the numbers-analysis (for Week 3), we're going to focus in on a guy who is the talk of Nashville right now after a thrilling last gasp win over the San Diego Chargers, our very own Jake Locker.

First off, I would like to say that even on the surface, Locker looks to have had an excellent game, but his play goes deeper than that. Lets review a couple factors that played into his phenomenal play this week.

Accuracy

Though Locker's stat-line may not show it (23 of 37), he was pin-point most of the game Sunday. All you have to do is factor in a few of the drops and missed calls and you already start to see my point. Britt had two drops (accounted for) as well as a couple others that were definitely catchable. Walker added a derp drop that almost cost the game late, and two calls for Nate Washington were questionable. Obviously I may be a little biased, but he had both feet in on the deep route and control of the ball, and on the other, he made a clear football move and the ball was in his control the entire time. Then there was the deep endzone ball to Hunter that was a clear missed call. Thats another story. But already that is 5+ passes you can conservatively say that Locker should have had. Adjusting for that as well as a spike, and Locker posted a comp. % in the upper 70's. You can't ask for more than that, and while many of you may criticize me for factoring out all those things ("Those happen in every game to every QB!"), you can't deny that Locker was far more accurate than his stat-line implied.

Poise

Stats will never tell the true story of a QB's poise and situational play very accurately. There is no denying that Locker was "on it" when it counted. Three 90+ yard drives in two weeks, primarily led by his arm and legs, is impressive. His instinct of when the run and when to pass has improved immensely. When breaking the pocket (which he is doing a much better job of by the way), Locker has kept his eyes down the field. That is what you want to see out a young guy at the position. When it wasn't there for him, he took off and left defenders in his wake, and when there were options down the field, he rifled them in accurately, leaving defenders no chance to react to the ball.

Leadership

This last one is the most intangible of all player characteristics, but it cannot be overlooked over the course of a season. Jake Locker has always come off as a very hard-worker: a team first guy that will always say and do the right things. Well the other side of that is willing your team to wins, and he did just that Sunday. For reasons unbeknown to me, I was pins and needles in the final 2 minutes of the Chargers game, but I was not scared or nervous, if that makes sense? There was something about the way Locker was standing tall in the pocket, the way he had full command of the huddle and was directing his receivers with confidence, that put me into a strange sense of calm. He pulled through for this team in a big way, and no doubt deserves more credit for his play than what he will be certain to receive, and that always comes down to the fact that stats alone will never tell the full story of any player, or any game.

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