Why the Titans Must Start Jake Locker over Matt Hasselbeck

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent INovember 7, 2012

Jake Locker has been cleared for contact, and it couldn't come at a better time for the Tennessee Titans.

Per The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt:

Quarterback Jake Locker received positive news from his most recent MRI, and there’s a chance he could play in Sunday’s game against the Dolphins, Coach Mike Munchak said on Tuesday night.

The second-year quarterback needs to be inserted back into the starting lineup in Week 10 against the Miami Dolphins if this team has any hope of turning its 2012 season around. 

This isn't to say that Matt Hasselbeck has been terrible—he hasn't—but there's no doubt he has his limitations. 

Hasselbeck was never a guy who was known as a deep-play quarterback. He has always had average arm strength, and now at the age of 37, his ability to drive the ball down the field is extremely limited. Opposing teams have been able to key in on this fact and commit more men to stop Chris Johnson, which has limited the Titans offensive capabilities.

Taking a look at both quarterbacks' numbers, it's easy to illustrate that Locker is better suited to open up this offense.

QB COM ATT PCT YARDS AVG LONG TD INT RATE
Hasselbeck 138 220 62.7% 1,361 6.2 37 7 5 81.3
Locker 67 106 63.3% 781 7.4 71 4 2 90.2

 

The Titans have talented receivers who are capable of stretching the field. Kenny Britt, Nate Washington and rookie Kendall Wright are all big-play threats, but Hasselbeck has been ill-equipped to provide them the opportunities to make the most of their skills. 

Furthermore, Locker is an extremely mobile quarterback capable of making big plays with his legs. Hasselbeck isn't a stick in the mud, but he can't compete with Locker when it comes to scrambling and avoiding pressure with his legs. 

The numbers back that up, too. Locker was sacked only three times during his three games as the team's starter, while Hasselbeck has been taken down 14 times in the five games since. 

It's clear that the Titans need an infusion of energy on offense, and now that Locker is healthy enough to play, Mike Munchak needs to put his young playmaker in to give his team a spark. 

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 and check out my weekly NFL picks at Pickfactor.com

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