Locker confident he's prepared to compete for starting job

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 10:01pm

Jake Locker felt like a Boy Scout when he finally got his opportunity to play last season. He was prepared.

“As far as protections, checks, alerts I felt comfortable with them. I felt like I knew them. I felt like I didn’t have to hesitate to call them,” the Tennessee Titans' second-year quarterback said. “That was my goal, to make sure that — mentally — when I got into a game that I was comfortable with what I was doing, and I knew that would allow me physically to play at a fast speed.

“I believe to be successful in this league you have to have confidence in your ability, and I do. So when you’re able to prepare yourself the way that you should you’re able to go out and let those abilities show.”

With no lockout to shut down offseason activities, as was the case a year ago, Locker has much more of an opportunity to prepare for the 2012 season, one in which he hopes to be the team’s starting quarterback.

Coaches have stressed that an open competition exists between Locker and veteran Matt Hasselbeck, who started all 16 games last season. Through the first five organized team activities (OTAs) the two have split work with the top unit evenly.

“It is not easy for a guy,” coach Mike Munchak said. “Matt has been doing everything that he needs to do … [and] he is doing everything he needs to do to get ready to play his best. He is not getting caught up in all the ‘Who is going to be the guy?’ He has to assume — just like Jake would — that he is going to be the guy.

“I think they are both preparing very well.”

Locker’s preparation has included a weight loss, roughly 10 pounds to 225. It also has included the team’s offseason conditioning program and OTAs, neither of which were available to him last summer.

“You have the opportunity, in Phase I and II [of the offseason training program], when we were out here just to work on some things that I know, personally, I need to get better at … things that allow me to be a more consistent quarterback,” he said. “It’s nice to have this time to do that.”

He can only hope that it results in more playing time.

The eighth overall pick in the 2011 draft saw significant action in just two games. Last fall. He completed 51.5 percent of his throws (34-for-66) for 542 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

As a means of comparison, Steve McNair — the third overall pick in 1995 — played four games (he started two) as a rookie. He completed 51.3 percent of his throws (41-for-80) for 569 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

McNair spent the bulk of his second season on the bench as well while veteran Chris Chandler held on to the spot.

“I prepared every game as if I was playing and I believe that allowed me to grow a little quicker as a quarterback,” Locker said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to compete.

“Like I said, I’ll do my best to always be prepared for that opportunity.”

Briefly

• Left tackle Michael Roos is not with the team this week because of matters related to the Third Annual Michael Roos Foundation Fish and Chip Celebrity Weekend, which begins Thursday and runs through Sunday.

The event takes place at Circling Raven Golf Club and the Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort in Worley, Idaho, not far from Eastern Washington, where Roos attented college.

“A lot of the guys who are playing in it are heading out [Thursday] afternoon,” Munchak said. “So we shouldn’t have anyone else miss because of it. He’s just out until next week.”

1 Comment on this post:

By: tn.native on 6/7/12 at 1:14

I think Munch will use them both as they have different strengths that they bring to the team. MH has the experience and JL is coming along nicely. He is probably the better scrambling QB and It will be interesting to see how the offensive line will perform and if the passing game is there it will open up the opportunity to see CJ work as he tries to redeem himself from last season. The biggest thing in their favor is there is no lockout to keep them off the practice field this year.