How Jake Locker's Injury Changes the Tennessee Titans' Offensive Game Plan

Nick KostoraContributor IIISeptember 30, 2012

Sep 30, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) throws a pass against the Houston Texans in the first quarter at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PREWIRE

Jake Locker is the future of the Tennessee Titans and will lead the franchise for the next decade, but his injury in Week 4 may actually result in increased offensive production.

Maybe not as a direct result, but the Titans have produced under Matt Hasselbeck in the past, and running back Chris Johnson finally showed signs of life against the Houston Texans.

Perhaps with Hasselbeck under center and a resurrected Johnson, Tennessee will feel confident handing the ball off 20-plus times a game and attempting more play-action passes.

Locker is a strong-arm quarterback and has had little run support. It is not his fault that play action has been somewhat abandoned, but the fact remains that it has not been a main part of the offense.

Hasselbeck simply is a different brand of quarterback than his younger counterpart.

He is exceedingly smart and accurate.

Hasselbeck will not have too many attempts of 20 yards or more. He averaged only 6.9 yards per pass last season as the starter.

But he will methodically move the offense down the field and put the Titans in position to put points on the board.

Short and intermediate throws will become a more prevalent part of the offense.

Chris Johnson will start drawing defenders into the box and open up passing lanes when defenders try to cheat up on the shifty back.

You may be wondering why this stuff wasn't possible under Locker so far this year.

It was possible—it just didn't happen.

Johnson did not have the necessary burst or explosiveness to help the offense succeed.

He finally decided to show up in Week 4 to the tune of 141 yards on 25 carries.

Hasselbeck will be the ultimate "game-manager," and while the extent of Locker's shoulder injury is unclear at this time, a game-managing style would best suit the Titans against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 5.

So, while Locker is undoubtedly the right quarterback moving forward, having Hasselbeck play right now may be a blessing in disguise for the 1-3 Titans.