Threats to Youth/Veteran Battle in Tennessee


By Zack Cimini

Year one for development for rookie Jake Locker fared well. The Titans knew he needed time to learn and adapt to the NFL level. Instead of throwing him into the lineup they positioned him behind veteran Matt Hasselbeck. Allowing for comfort for Locker, knowing that he would not be forced into the lineup, as what happens with many rookies that are playing behind veteran journeyman quarterbacks.

Year two though for the same quarterback tandem is definitely going to be different. Locker in spot duty showcased freestyle unorthodox skills that adds a different dimension to the Titans offense. Whether throwing on the run or utilizing his legs, Locker proved to be a threat with both abilities. Hasselbeck on the other hand is past his prime but may have a solid few years left in him.

The daunting question arises. Begin building now through bumps with Locker, or continue to try and position? Considering the Titans are in a division with the Colts (Andrew Luck), Jaguars (Blaine Gabbert), and the rising but inconsistent Houston Texans, the plan will likely be too start with Hasselbeck once again.

His numbers were never great last season, but he managed to offset a poor season from Chris Johnson and adjust to playing without big play receiver Kenny Britt. Still, Hasselbeck was unable to stay healthy the full year which has been a pattern dating back to his last few seasons with Seattle. Though he battled through the pain and did not miss a start, management is prepared to insert Locker over an eighty percent Hasselbeck.

Offensive weapons at either quarterbacks disposal is a high area of concern. Somehow the Titans were able to use a platoon of widely unknown receivers with big play receiver Kenny Britt sidelined after a knee injury. The receiver that stepped up the most was Nate Washington. Washington had never been a commodity in fantasy leagues but became a sneaky waiver wire reliable addition. Catching seven touchdowns and having a thousand yard season.

With Kenny Britt just undergoing a second knee procedure July 17th, it will be interesting to see if Britt can be a viable starting receiver. Snaring jump balls and outrunning defenders was Britt’s forte, basically becoming the new Terrell Owens. Statistically based on other athletes that have come off a serious knee injury no matter what sport, you can expect a main decline overall.

For Britt though he can still be a high value touchdown receiver inside the twenty yard line. Especially for the fact that Chris Johnson is not a true red zone threat, and the Titans feed him the ball much more over the way they use to LenDale White in the red zone.

Rookie Kendall Wright will be expected to add a speed element over the top for the Titans offense. He should blend in well. He will have his work cut out for him though learning the offense and likely being a viable part of the offense from the start of the season.

Mentally teams that know there is a likely quarterback change over usually under perform to start the season. Will see if that happens in Tennessee, and which week Locker is inserted.


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