Analyzing Jake Locker's Make-or-Break Season with Tennessee Titans

Jason HallAnalyst IAugust 20, 2013

NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 08:  quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Tennessee Titans plays against the Washington Redskins during a pre-season game at LP Field on August 8, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker embarks on the most important season of his career in 2013.

The former University of Washington standout enters his third season since being selected eighth overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.

While Locker has yet to serve as the Titans' starting quarterback for a full season, Tennessee will carefully monitor whether to move forward with him as the franchise signal caller based on his play this season.

Thus far, Locker has recorded career totals of 2,718 passing yards, 14 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a 78.4 passer rating.

The pressure is now on Locker to succeed with an improved supporting cast. This will be a make-or-break season for the player the Titans selected to be their franchise quarterback.

However, based on the team's busy offseason, it is clear that they are invested in the quarterback—at least for the time being.

The struggling Titans offensive line added free agent Andy Levitre and selected Alabama guard Chance Warmack with the 10th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Tennessee also invested their second round draft pick on Justin Hunter, an explosive wide receiver from the University of Tennessee. Hunter joins an ailing, but young, wide receiving corps that is in need of a deep-threat option.

The Titans also signed Delanie Walker to serve as their new starting tight end and acquired Shonn Greene to complement franchise running back Chris Johnson.

However, the Titans' biggest fault may be their defense. 

Tennessee ranked 31st in yards allowed last season. With the exception of signing former Ravens safety Bernard Pollard, the team made little effort to fix its struggling defense via free agency or early round draft picks.

Hypothetically, if the team struggles to win games while Locker continues to improve, will the Titans have the patience to further invest in their young quarterback? Is Locker truly the answer to lead the Titans franchise?

These are the questions that must be answered this season before the team makes a final judgement on Locker's future. Tennessee has invested heavily in Locker and should see signs of improvement this season.

Every single pass or scramble will be heavily analyzed by the Titans' front office, their fans and the local Nashville media. Locker will have the weight of the struggling franchise on his shoulders this season and must quickly silence the doubt.

In 2009, Locker was projected to be a No. 1 overall draft pick before opting to return to Washington for his senior season. After a disappointing ending to his collegiate career, Locker was unexpectedly chosen early in the first round.

If he can produce similar to his junior season at Washington, Titans fans will be fortunate to have a dual-threat quarterback capably manning the helm in Nashville.

However, if he continues to struggle in his development, the team will likely move on without him.