The local media in Nashville as well as some of the national pundits have made it a point to harp on Jake Locker becoming a leader of the team this off-season. There's only so much to write about in the off-season so I give a pass for the most part, but the idea has been a bit overblown.
At no point has Locker ever shied away from his leadership role. He was respectful of Matt Hasselbeck and his role of signal caller while Hass was the starter. The act was reciprocated when Locker won the job from Hasselbeck in training camp last year.
Jake Locker knows that you have to prove yourself on the field before you can truly be a leader of the team. You can say whatever you want, but actions speak louder than words. He also knows that he hasn't been able to fully do that yet. Locker may have some faults as an NFL quarterback, but effort, intensity, and leadership are not on that list.
The players RESPECT Jake Locker.
The bigger issue that has been resolved due to a lack of camp competition at quarterback, is the reps that Jake Locker is getting with the receivers. Or at least the ones that aren't hurt.
The biggest concern I had with Locker's off-season shoulder surgery, was how fast he would be able to recover and how soon he would be able to throw again unhindered. Missing this valuable time in OTA's could be disastrous for someone fighting the stigma of inaccuracy. Not to mention a quarterback and receivers all learning a whole new offense.
Last year at this time Locker was splitting the first team reps with Hasselbeck, and it wasn't until much later that Locker was awarded the starting role. The biggest benefit of not having Fitzpatrick vying for the starting role is that Locker is getting the lion's share of the reps in practice. That means all of OTA's, training camp, and preseason. Not only will that help solidify his role as a leader with his teammates, as the pundits will be so happy to hear, but it will help the receivers and Locker get on the same page and understand each other. Something that makes me happy to hear.