Jake Locker: What Titans QB Must Show in Preseason Battle vs. Arizona
Trying to find meaning in an NFL preseason game is almost impossible. These are games where you want to try little things and just stay healthy.
Last year, Locker was everyone's favorite player: the backup quarterback. That is not to say Matt Hasselbeck was bad, but Locker was clearly the future. He had time to learn the system that he would be playing. Now is where he gets a chance to show how he has developed.
So what does Locker have to offer in his first start since being named the team's starting quarterback? What do we need to see?
Here are the three biggest keys to Locker's game that must be on display Thursday night.
When Locker was in college, the biggest knock on him was his inability to hit his receivers in stride. Part of that can be attributed to the fact that Washington never had any good playmakers around Locker to help him out.
Still, it was enough of a concern to get talked about a lot. In limited action last year, Locker completed 34 of 66 passes. He did have four touchdowns, so there were some positives to be taken away, but we need to see more.
How many games will Jake Locker win in 2012?
It is an overrated cliche, but the way a quarterback handles himself in the pocket goes a long way toward telling you what kind of player he will be.
Locker is an incredible athlete who happens to be playing quarterback. Some players can make the transition, like Michael Vick. Others, like Tim Tebow, struggle with the fundamentals of the position, so they try to do other things to make up for it.
While there is value in being able to scramble, it is vital that Locker shows he can handle himself in the pocket. He has to stay in there when the pressure is coming to make the throw at the last possible second.
Don't Get Overwhelmed
This follows along with pocket presence, as Locker has to take the reins of this offense to make it his own. He is the quarterback of the future for the Titans. They invested a first-round pick in him, so he will be given every opportunity to succeed.
Locker is going to have nerves, even in a preseason game, because this is his offense now. He needs to show that he can handle this stage. One game is not going to change anything, but we can surmise something from this performance.
Staying focused and composed for however long he plays is going to be critical for his confidence and the confidence of everyone around him.
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