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Titans Player Comparison: Jake Locker

The offseason is here, and the news is slowing down. With some quick reflections, let's look at where our successes are and what the possibilities are for future success.

Even greatness needs some quality H2O.
Even greatness needs some quality H2O.

Jake Locker is the #1 topic of discussion for the media about the Tennessee Titans heading into 2013. Many believe he is in a "make or break" season. This is partially true because talent he is surrounded with now should be able to make any quarterback successful. If he can't succeed with this team, there is little reason to believe that he will be able to be a franchise quarterback. As we know, he has the intangibles, talent, and physical ability to compete; however, he has to put it all together on Sundays. This is known knowledge; therefore, it is not the topic for discussion in this post.

Now, for comparing Jake Locker to many quarterbacks that we know. Jake is a special quarterback- he can run, he can launch it deep, and he does a pretty good job of combining the two; thus, you can't compare him to just any quarterback. I am going to look at his statistics from 2012 and compare those to players of similar situations. For these purposes, I will compare Jake to the stats of 1st season starters only, not just 2nd year players or players who started less than 9 games.

Quarterback Pass Yards Pass TD INT Comp % Pass Rate Rush Yards Rush Avg. Fumbles Games Started Year QB Experience W-L-T
Jake Locker 2176 10 11 56.4 74 291 7.1 4 11 2012 2nd Season (4-7)
Steve McNair 2665 14 13 52 70.4 674 6.7 14 16 1997 3rd Season (8-8)
Michael Vick 2936 16 8 54.9 81.6 777 6.9 9 15 2002 2nd Season (8-7-1)
Eli Manning 3762 24 17 52.8 75.9 80 2.8 9 16 2005 2nd Season (11-5)
Drew Bledsoe 2494 15 15 49.9 65 82 2.6 8 12 1993 Rookie (5-7)
Tim Couch 2447 15 13 55.9 73.2 267 6.7 14 15 1999 Rookie (2-13)
David Carr 2592 9 15 52.5 62.8 282 4.8 21 16 2002 Rookie (4-12)

Now, I compared each quarterback for certain reasons. I compared Locker to McNair and Vick because of the similarities of heir play-style. Locker is compared to Manning, Bledsoe, Couch, and Carr because they are four of the main quarterbacks to have been groomed by Chris Palmer in their early years, like Locker.

Yes, Jake Locker is very inaccurate at times. But is his completion percentage that much of a problem? His completion percentage in 2012 was a 56.4%. That's not good, but it is better than the six other quarterbacks he is being compared to.

With the exceptions of Tim Couch and David Carr, Locker had the worst record as a starter; however, that cannot all be pinned on him.

Although his TD/INT ratio was worse than any of the other quarterbacks not named David Carr, Locker actually lost control of the ball the least of the QBs, with a staggering 4 fumbles in the whole season.

Locker played the least amount of games out of this sample of quarterbacks; thus, we can assume that his yardage, touchdown, and interception numbers would be increased. With that in mind, his passer rating would (hopefully) improved.

Now, I am not saying that Jake Locker had a good season. These numbers are not great. But we really do not have near as much to fear as many believe with Locker. He handled the ball better and had a better record than both of the "busts" on this list. His numbers were very similar to those of the beloved Steve McNair. On top of that, he fumbled less and had a better completion than arguably the best quarterback on this list, Eli Manning, and than prototype of a mobile quarterback, Michael Vick. And did I mention that Locker was pretty much all-around better than Drew Bledsoe? Now, these comparisons cannot predict the future and guarantee that Locker will succeed into a Pro Bowl quarterback like McNair, Manning, Vick, and Bledsoe; however, we can see that although his accuracy and decision making are concerning, they are by no means damning him to bench on Sundays.

I will later be comparing Chris Johnson, receivers, and defensive players similarly. Discuss below.