In a league where dominant passing offenses prevail through the season and into the offseason, the Titans have gone with their eighth overall pick in 2011 in Jake Locker to lead the squad this season.
Jake Locker has a chance to stun the nation with a dominant pass attack in the Titans opener against Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Patriots ranked 31st in the NFL in pass defense last season, allowing an average of 293.9 yards through the air per game.
In his two preseason games after being named starter, Locker's accuracy issues became a concern after overthrowing and shorting many passes to open Titan receivers.
However, if Locker can find his rhythm and make accurate passes early in the Patriots game, there is no reason the Titans can't keep the game close. We all know what the Patriots are capable of doing on the offensive side of the ball; finishing second in the NFL in pass offense in 2011.
Jake Locker Gets the Call to Lead the Tennessee Titans
In Jake Locker's rookie season last year, he played in five games and saw significant playing time against the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons. Locker posted a passer rating of 99.4 in 2011 and gave the Titans life in those two NFC South games.
Locker was one play away from defeating the Saints and had a 40-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington in the fourth quarter of that matchup.
The kid has guts too, as he's never afraid to use his mobility and run for first downs.
How will the second-year quarterback out of the University of Washington handle the pressure of starring as the face of the franchise? Well, hopefully better than Vince Young did.
Tennessee Titans Winning Recipe With Jake Locker
The formula for success in today's game is to possess a powerful passing attack with multiple options through the air and the Titans have begun to inch closer towards the winning recipe.
For example, the 2011 AFC champion New England Patriots had the 31st-ranked defense but the second best passing offense in the NFL and the best in the AFC. Similarly, the Green Bay Packers went 15-1 in 2011 with the NFL's third best passing offense but possessed the worst pass defense in the league.
The Titans have made steps toward the offensive-minded winning method by beefing up their receiving corps and maintaining superb pass blocking.
The Titans offensive line has proven its pass-protection excellence by only having allowed 24 sacks in 2011, the second least in the NFL.
Also, slowly but surely the Titans have strengthened their receiving corps significantly since VY was behind center. Kenny Britt will return to the lineup after week one, Nate Washington is coming off one of his best season as a pro (74 rec, 1,032 yds, 7 TD) and first-round pick Kendall Wright out of Baylor has an explosive style at slot receiver.
Plus, Locker has a guy named Chris Johnson in the backfield who uses his explosive speed to effectively run the screen play. Johnson also has the ability to line up in the receiver spot, as the Titans ran him on receiver routes multiple times last season.
Jake Locker's Time is Now
Locker's confidence in the pocket will only grow from experience and Mike Munchak is ready to get the future of the franchise rolling.
Locker started his first preseason game after being named the regular season starter against the Arizona Cardinals and went 11-for-20 for 132 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown pass was to rookie Kendall Wright, a young connection that could be very impressive this season.
Last Thursday was not as impressive as Locker went 9-for-16 for 81 yards against the New Orleans Saints and lost a fumble on a rush towards the endzone.
Three of the AFC South teams are comprised of starting quarterbacks who are 24 years old or younger in Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Andrew Luck. This is the time for Locker to get playing time and comfortable without the question of when he will be named "the" guy for the Titans.