For the Tennessee Titans, the future is now when it comes to the starting quarterback position.
According to Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt, the Titans reportedly have named second-year gunslinger Jake Locker as the starting quarterback for Week 1 against the New England Patriots this morning, replacing Matt Hasselbeck, who was the starter last season.
Some speculate this could mean the end of Hasselbeck's stint with the Titans.
Hasselbeck, who turns 37 in late September, wants to start in the NFL.. Unless Locker has a total breakdown this season or gets injured, Hasselbeck more than likely won't get that opportunity back with the Titans.
This certainly was not an easy decision for head coach Mike Munchak. While both quarterbacks had solid training camps, they both played very poorly in their respective preseason starts.
In the first preseason game against Seattle, Hasselbeck threw two interceptions, while Locker ended up leading the Titans to their lone scoring drive of the first half in relief duty.
In the second game against Tampa Bay, in which Locker got the start, he failed to impress in the game through the air, throwing an interception on a pass across his body—a huge no-no for any quarterback. However, Hasselbeck didn't really do much to impress either, and Locker was at least able to show his athleticism on a 21-yard scamper to set up a touchdown run.
In the end, Locker impressed the team enough overall to give him the nod over Hasselbeck.
That now begs the question of what will the Titans do with Hasselbeck? Will he stay with the team as a backup and continue to mentor the young Locker, or will he request a trade or even his release?
If they decide to trade him, will anybody really want to trade for a 36-year-old quarterback, and if so, how much can they realistically expect to get for him? Certainly not anything big, but a late draft pick or two still could be obtained for him.
Moving forward, the Titans may not even need Hasselbeck on the roster. Based on how well third-string quarterback Rusty Smith has fared this preseason—he allegedly is having his best training camp, according to Jim Wyatt—Hasselbeck may be deemed expendable at this point.
However, in two games with the Titans, Smith has a 25.0 passer rating, and has thrown no touchdowns and four interceptions, meaning he may not be trusted enough to take charge of the offense should anything happen to Locker.
At the end of the day, the Titans did not draft Locker eighth overall in the 2011 NFL Draft to sit on the bench forever. This had to happen sooner or later, and now Locker is the Titans starting quarterback.
Hasselbeck and the Titans will have to move forward, even if that means them severing ties altogether.
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