Titans Quarterback Breakdown: Complete Position Evaluation and Analysis

Daniel BarnesCorrespondent IIIMay 15, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 23: Jake Locker #10 of the Tennessee Titans looks for an open receiver against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 23, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Tom Lynn /Getty Images)
Tom Lynn/Getty Images

Everyone knows that quarterback is the most important position on the field. A good quarterback is the difference between two wins and 11 wins (look at the Colts from 2010 to 2012 for a perfect example).

You can win games, and even win Super Bowls, without an elite quarterback, but no team goes far without someone you can at least call good. So how are the Titans doing at quarterback?

Well, Jake Locker is a bit of an unknown. He looked terrible most of last season, completing only 56.4 percent of his passes and throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. In his defense, he played most of the season through an injury and always looked good on the ground.

In the first game of the season, against the Patriots, he looked fantastic, completing 71.9 percent of his passes for 229 yards and a touchdown.

For comparison, Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson completed less than 60 percent of their passes against the same defense. Locker also did well against the Lions, dropping 413 total yards on Detroit while leading the Titans to a thrilling victory.

If Locker looks more like he did before his injury than he did after, then Tennessee will be sitting pretty. If not, they have someone pretty good behind him.

Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced Matt Hasselbeck as the Titans' backup. Fitzpatrick started all 16 games for Buffalo in 2012, completing 60.6 percent of his passes for 3,400 yards and 24 touchdowns.


Technically, he's an improvement over Hasselbeck, although I wonder if taking away Locker's mentor was the correct move. If Locker has to come out for whatever reason, Fitzpatrick is more than capable of playing the position, and even winning.

After Locker and Fitzpatrick, the third spot is up for grabs. Rusty Smith has been with the team for longer, and the coaching staff seems to like him, but he hasn't shown much since he's been with the team.

To be fair, his only start was in his rookie season, but it was a bad one. Smith managed to throw four interceptions against the Texans (then the worst passing defense in the league). Of course, he's likely improved since then, but that performance certainly left a lot to be desired, even from a backup.

The alternate choice is Nathan Enderle, a fifth-round draft pick from Jake Locker's class. He has seen no playing time in his career and spent 2012 on the Jaguars' practice squad.

He's the least likely to make the team. He was only with the Bears a short time before being cut and couldn't make the roster with the Jaguars, who aren't exactly drowning in quarterback talent.

But of course, like Smith, it's difficult to tell just what Enderle brings to the table, because he's never been seen in action since he was drafted.

With the addition of Fitzpatrick, the Titans may decide not to keep a third quarterback. The only reason they kept one last season was because of the combination of the risk inherent in mobile quarterbacks and Hasselbeck's age.

If they do decide to use a third spot on a quarterback again this season, and they feel that there isn't much difference between Smith and Enderle, then they could opt for the one they can stick on the practice squad (Enderle).

With the many additions the Titans have made to the offense in the offseason, the team's success going into 2013 will depend almost entirely on Locker. An improved offensive line, deeper running back corps and more receiving threats will be meaningless if Locker can't deliver. Hopefully, he will.