It's been a while since the Titans have had a real starting caliber NFL quarterback. 2014, or perhaps 2015, could change that trend. Fans are hopeful of Jake Locker's prospects of being "the guy" after his performance a year ago, though it may have been misleading, at least from a statistical standpoint.
It's easy to look at Locker's 2013 stat line and see a breakout year cut short by injury: 111/183 (60.7 %), 1,256 yards, 8 TD's, 4 INT's in 7 games played. Games against the Jets (3TD's, 0 INT's) or Chargers (299 yards, 1 TD, 1 rush TD) stand out and really show Locker's potential. Potential though, has never been the question about Locker; accuracy and consistency have. Sure, Locker has improved his completion percentage in each year, from 51.5% to 56.4%, and as previously stated, 60.7% last season. Completion percentage has always been an overrated statistic in terms of accuracy: many factors come in play in trying to make a connection between the two. Consistency on the other hand, is much easier to track.
It seems fans only remember the start to Locker's season when he went 94 for 152, 1047 yards, 8 TD's to 1 INT, along with another TD on the ground. Collectively, Titans fans thought Locker had finally begun to reach his potential, and overcome his consistency issues. What fans forget however, is that he finished the season 17 for 31, 209 yards, 0 TD's to 3 INT's in his last 2 games played in. He did have a rushing TD.
The clearly visible drop in statistics is alarming. Statistics aren't everything, but in this case they provide a good insight into how Locker actually performed, especially with consistency already being his biggest obstacle.
The arrival of Ken Whisenhunt and his QB friendly offense could help the cause, and is also responsible for part of the hope that Locker will breakout in 2014. If we're looking to the past as an indication of the future however, Locker isn't a QB worth betting on.
Instead, 2015 could be the year the Quarterback Question is answered, if Zach Mettenberger gets a chance. Mettenberger is a much better fit for what Whisenhunt looks for in a QB, and in the pre-draft process, was favorably compared to Philip Rivers by well respected draft guru Ryan Lownes, who just had a career year under Whisenhunt. Health issues and a flagged drug test at the combine definitely affected Mettenberger's tumble to the 6th round, and he absolutely shouldn't be viewed as the average 6th round QB. In fact he was even viewed as the #1 QB in the draft to at least one team (pre ACL tear) and recieved praise from avid film watcher Greg Cosell as the best pocket passer in the class.
Mettenberger, though unlikely to get a shot in 2014 with Locker and Charlie Whitehurst firmly ahead of him on the depth chart, could potentially finally give the Titans the franchise QB they've been waiting for.