Jake Locker named Titans’ starting quarterback
The Tennessee Titans made a decision Monday on a starting quarterback for the regular season-opener against the New England Patriots and it will be Jake Locker, a source with knowledge of the situation told NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi.
Locker, the No. 8 overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, has been competing throughout this offseason with veteran Matt Hasselbeck, who had led the Titans to a 9-7 record in his first season in Nashville, Tenn., after spending the previous 10 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.
In less than 100 plays in five games off the bench as a rookie, Locker completed 34 of 66 pass attempts for 542 yards with four touchdowns with eight carries for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Both quarterbacks have had shaky performances this preseason. Through two games, Locker has completed 11 of 24 pass attempts for 101 yards, while Hasselbeck is 9 of 14 for 74 yards with a pair of interceptions.
The Titans going with Locker does not come as a surprise. Of the first five quarterbacks taken in the 2011 draft, Locker was the only one who did not start a game as a rookie or have a starting job locked up at the start of this year’s training camp. Locker is a more dynamic athlete than Hasselbeck and can make things happen when plays break down.
Last week, Hasselbeck acknowledged that eventually Locker would be the guy, telling the Seattle sports radio station, KJR-AM, that he was knew upon signing with the Titans after the lockout that the team was going to go at Locker’s pace. When the rookie was ready, he’d be the guy.
It’s yet to be seen if Locker is ready, but the Titans have decided they’re not going to wait any longer.
UPDATE: A team source told Ian Rapoport on Monday that Locker is the Titans’ hardest working player, someone the players look to. The move is expected to be popular in the locker room. The Titans’ plan is to have Locker play roughly three quarters with the starters Thursday against the Arizona Cardinals, the first game in which the Titans will game plan for an opponent.
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