Tennessee Titans' Jake Locker and Matt Hasselbeck to Battle for Starting Job
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While the situation in Tennessee is similar to what the Jacksonville Jaguars face, the stakes aren't nearly as high. Where as Jacksonville has a general manager under serious pressure to win, the Titans are coming off a 9-7 season.
Locker's play hasn't become a national story, and no one has written him open letters proclaiming him a bust, but that doesn't mean the Titans don't need him to win the job.
Who wins the Titans starting job?
Matt Hasselbeck was a slightly above average quarterback last year (7.1 percent defensive-adjusted value over average), and that has given the Titans some wiggle room when it comes to who will be the starter. While it's a nice luxury to be able to bring Locker along slowly, that luxury could turn into a crutch.
Locker played well in limited action last year, but if he can't beat out a 37-year-old Hasselbeck, it will be a sharp disappointment for the front office. It's one thing to wait for development, but with the kind of success that players like Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton have had early in their careers, it's a bad sign if Locker can't nail down the starting job decisively.
Hasselbeck is a smart, veteran quarterback, and the task facing Locker is more challenging than the task facing Blaine Gabbert. Hasselbeck has been to a Super Bowl, and if there was a "Hall of Very Good," he'd join Phil Simms as a member of the inaugural class.
Because they play in the same division and were drafted so close together, Locker and Gabbert will always be linked. They aren't facing the same scrutiny right now, but if Locker is still sitting on the bench come Week 1, he might find people will be asking the same kinds of questions about him that they are of Gabbert.
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