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Tennessee Titans Training Camp: Matt Hasselbeck Impresses in First Practice

Seattle quarterback #8 Matt Hasselbeck reacts to fans after his win over Tennessee December 18, 2005, at the Coliseum, in Nashville, Tennessee. Seattle defeated Tennessee 28-24. (Photo by Rex Brown/NFLPhotoLibrary)
Rex Brown/Getty Images
Chad MintonCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2011

It was a much-anticipated first practice for Matt Hasselbeck, and his teammates and the fans have got every reason to have confidence in what he could do for the Tennessee Titans in 2011.

Hasselbeck has had very little time to learn the playbook, get to know his new teammates and just get adapted to a new team in general.

Despite those challenges, Hasselbeck showed why he was brought into an organization that hasn't had a steady quarterback situation since the late Steve McNair was the starter.

Hasselbeck had a few moments that got the strong showing of Titans fans cheering, including a laser down the middle of the field to Jared Cook, which would've been around a 25-yard gain.

Not only was Hasselbeck making great plays in the 11-on-11 drills, but he was also giving plenty of tips to quarterbacks Jake Locker, Rusty Smith and Brett Ratliff.

Locker continues to show steady improvement in each practice, and Thursday's session was no different. He had plenty of great plays of his own that got the fans cheering.

Even though Hasselbeck is hands down going to be the starter to open the regular season, there's still a high probability that Locker will start at some point this season.

There's durability concern with the 36-year-old Hasselbeck, and an extended losing streak could also force coaches to move Locker in.

You wouldn't predict any of that happening by watching Hasselbeck's performance on Thursday, though. With the exception of making understandable mistakes in the playbook, he still looked way more crisp than any of the other quarterbacks.

There are still several training practices remaining, and at the pace Hasselbeck is picking up the playbook, he should be ready to go when the Titans open up the season against Jacksonville.

Other Training Camp Notes

  • After having his best practice of training camp, quarterback Rusty Smith regressed a little bit on Thursday. He'll be in a battle with Brett Ratliff for that third string position.
  • Hasselbeck wasn't the only player who participated in his first practice of the year. Other notable player included Barrett Rudd, Ahmard Hall and Jacob Ford.
  • All of the quarterbacks seemed to target tight end Jared Cook the most in 11-on-11 drills. That could be a sign of things to come.

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