5 Tennessee Titans Who Must Step Up Big Time with Jake Locker Down
In a game that saw Chris Johnson finally bust out for 141 yards on the ground, the Tennessee Titans lost their starting quarterback Jake Locker and lost to the Houston Texans, 38-14.
Bad timing, huh?
With Locker down, a host of players have to step up in big ways for Mike Munchak's group.
Let's take a look.
Jared Cook, the Titans' tremendously athletic tight end, will have to step up with Locker on the sideline.
Hasselbeck certainly knows how integral a tight end can be as a reliable option in an offense, and Cook has the potential to be a steady chain-moving target for the Titans.
He has 14 receptions through four games, but has reeled in at least three passes in each contest.
At 6'5'' and 250 pounds with receiver speed, Cook needs to turn some of that clear potential into production for the remainder of the season.
Michael Roos has to pick it up with a less mobile quarterback taking over.
He's one of the sturdiest blindside protectors in the game, and he'll have to be as good as ever with Hasselbeck under center in the foreseeable future.
Hasselbeck is known for his quick release, but Roos can't allow defenders to come off the edge untouched with the veteran signal-caller starting.
Nate Washington is the Titans' resident wily veteran out wide, and with the established Hasselbeck now taking the reins of the offense, it's time for the two experienced players to carry Tennessee's offense.
The 29-year-old receiver has 10 receptions through four games, but with Hasselbeck as the starter in 2011, he set career highs with 74 grabs, 1,023 yards and seven touchdowns.
Washington, once again, has to become a go-to guy for Hasselbeck.
Chris Johnson, you're awake!
You ran for 141 yards on 5.6 yards per carry against the Houston Texans—after your start to the 2012 season, good for you.
Now, with Locker on the sidelines, you'll return as the team's offensive focal point, and the guy the opposition zeroes in on every time out.
Time to step it up even more.
Mr. Hasselbeck was a relatively efficient game manager in 2011, and he'll be called upon to operate an attack predicated on the vertical pass much more than it did a year ago.
He'll love the addition of Kendall Wright and the emerging Jared Cook, but the defense looks to be one of the most porous units in football.
The outcome of what's been a discouraging season thus far depends on the 37-year-old signal-caller.