Jake Locker and the Tennessee Titans continue to play the waiting game.
All the while, young quarterbacks all around the league continue to get actual game experience.
More than a season and a half into his professional career, Locker officially has attempted 172 passes. That is a paltry number compared to the other top quarterback selections in 2011. It’s also less than those from 2012, including Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins, whom the Titans will face this week.
Tannehill, the eighth overall selection back in April, has thrown 241 passes in his young career. That’s the fourth highest total among the five rookies who have started for their teams since Week 1 of this season. Last among that group is Seattle’s Russell Wilson with 234, which still is 36 percent more than Locker’s total.
Since the start of last season, 10 teams (28 percent of the NFL), including the Titans, have embarked on their respective futures with young quarterbacks. The other nine all have advanced farther down that path — based on games started and passes thrown — than Tennessee, who selected Locker eighth overall in 2011.
The free agent addition of Matt Hasselbeck as a free agent last summer kept Locker on the bench last season. Two injuries to his left (non-throwing) shoulder this season have kept him out of action since early in Week 4 of this season.
However, not only have the Titans lost ground when it comes to developing its quarterback of the future, they increasingly have lost games to those teams with fresh faces under center.
Two of their losses this fall have been to Minnesota and Christian Ponder (12th overall, 2011) and to Indianapolis with Andrew Luck (first overall, 2012). Last year they got victories over Carolina and Cam Newton (first overall) and Jacksonville and Blaine Gabbert (10th overall) but lost to Cincinnati and Andy Dalton (35th overall).
Of course, Locker was not the starter in any of those games, just as he is not expected to start this week. Most likely, he will reclaim his position Nov. 26, following the bye.
“The next step at some point would be for him to start taking game reps or reps during practice for Miami,” coach Mike Mike Munchak said Monday. “If that goes well, then that would be the next step if he’s at that point. Right now, he might just do the same thing he did last week, and stick with the scout team reps.”
That means the difference in the numbers starts and passes between him and Tannehill, not to mention all the other young quarterbacks around the league, will continue to grow.
A look at some other notable numbers connected to Sunday’s game at Sun Life Stadium (noon, CBS):
• 4 – career interceptions by Miami linebacker Kevin Burnett, a former University of Tennessee player. Burnett has returned three of those interceptions for touchdowns. Half of his career interceptions have come against the Titans.
• 7 – times in nine meetings since the Titans relocated from Houston the home team has won in this series. That includes the last four, three of them at Miami.
• 15 – rushing yards by Miami’s Reggie Bush in his only career appearance against Tennessee. He had just seven carries that day (Dec. 11, 2011) when he was a member of the New Orleans Saints. The Titans currently rank 30th in the NFL in run defense.
• 110.5 – average rushing yards per game by Chris Johnson in two career appearances against the Dolphins. He ran for 104 at home in 2010 and had 117 at Miami the following season. This year, though, Miami has been among the NFL’s top five in run defense since the second week of the regular season.
• 297 – career receptions by Tennessee wide receiver Nate Washington, who entered the league in 2005 with Pittsburgh as an undrafted free agent from Tiffin (Ohio). Of those, 233 have come since the start of 2008, which is the fifth highest total by an undrafted player over that span.
• 298 – career receptions by Miami wide receiver Davone Bess, who entered the league in 2008 as an undrafted free agent out of Hawaii. His total is the second highest by an undrafted player over that span.