2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Titans surround Locker with talent to help QB win

By TERESA M. WALKER - AP Sports Writer
    2013-07-28 10:42

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - For all the money Tennessee spent this offseason, how well the Titans fare this season easily rests on quarterback Jake Locker.

No longer a rookie or even a first-year starter, Locker goes into his third NFL season healthy with a new playbook, a rebuilt offensive line protecting him and some new teammates to catch his passes. So how the Titans bounce back from a 6-10 season and whether they reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008 will depend on how well Locker plays.

Locker, 25, welcomes the pressure.

``I think that's an awesome place to be ...,'' Locker said. ``I feel very confident and very comfortable in what we're doing right now. I'm excited about that opportunity.''

The Titans certainly have done everything possible to put Locker in position to succeed.

They bolstered the offensive line with two new guards in veteran Andy Levitre and rookie Chance Warmack. They also drafted another receiver in Justin Hunter to go with Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright and Nate Washington. Shonn Greene was signed to bring a power running back for a change of pace with Chris Johnson. Delanie Walker is a new receiving option at tight end too.

Tennessee also cut veteran Matt Hasselbeck in March and signed Ryan Fitzpatrick strictly as Locker's backup, not competition for the starting job.

``We've done what we think is necessary to do,'' Titans coach Mike Munchak said. ``Now hopefully we're right. We have to go prove that we're right on what we did and all those things that we did are obviously going to benefit Jake.''

Locker was named the starter during training camp a year ago, and that didn't turn out too well. He dislocated his left, non-throwing shoulder after an interception that should have been whistled dead as an incompletion with his shoulder popping out of joint as he threw down the defender. He didn't miss a start before reinjuring the shoulder in the fourth game, sidelining him for five straight games.

He wound up throwing for 2,176 yards and had more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (10), though he did run for 291 yards and a touchdown with a shoulder that needed surgery soon after the season ended to repair the joint once and for all.

So the eighth selection overall in 2011 out of Washington goes into his third season surrounded by questions over whether or not he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL. It didn't help that rookies like Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck not only got plenty of headlines but wins and playoff berths to boot in 2012.

Locker had surgery soon after the season ended to fix the shoulder once and for all. He healed up quickly enough that he wasn't limited during the team's offseason program. He's played so well that receiver Nate Washington said Locker is finally showing he can be an elite quarterback in the NFL, having improved his game across the board.

``He's throwing a nice tight spiral,'' Washington said. ``He's making complete reads. He's able to go through his progression now. With all that being said, that's not even speaking on the ability that he has to run. I think he's going to be a great man. We just have to make sure we're doing what we need to do and not put it all on his shoulders.''

That's why the Titans made sure to surround Locker with plenty of help offensively and reinforced protection up front. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains devised an offense streamlining the decisions both Locker and his receivers can make, allowing the quarterback to make faster decisions and get the ball out quicker.

``We're talented enough around him now he just needs to drive the bus and get the ball to the playmakers,'' Loggains said.

``He doesn't have to do anything on his own. He needs to use his legs when he has an opportunity to, and he needs to be OK checking the ball down, not forcing, not making bad decisions. We can be successful on offense the way we're going to run the ball if we don't start turning the ball over.''

Notes: The Titans were scheduled to practice Sunday night in full pads for the first time in camp.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Deone BucannonJul 24 11:32a

Arizona Cardinals S Deone Bucannon was not dropped into the starting lineup during offseason workouts, as the team has faith in FS Tony Jefferson and FS Rashad Johnson. He [ More ]

Ray RiceJul 24 11:31a

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the season, according to sources. The announcement is expected Thursday, July 24.

Blake BortlesJul 24 11:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' lower-body mechanics likely will be revised. Bortles' flaw has been over-reliance on his right arm when throwing; he doesn't use his legs enough. A [ More ]

Mikel LeshoureJul 24 11:14a

Detroit Lions RB Mikel Leshoure is currently believed to be the fourth tailback on the club behind RBs Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick heading into training camp [ More ]

Justin BlackmonJul 24 10:53a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday, July 23, in Oklahoma.

Jordan PalmerJul 24 10:52a

Chicago Bears QB Jordan Palmer still has the first shot at winning the backup quarterback job, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

R. Griffin IIIJul 24 10:22a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's designed running plays might be 'few and far between,' according to head coach Jay Gruden. He still has the green light to scramble [ More ]

Daniel FellsJul 24 09:42a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells has received the first snap in 11-on-11 drills during the team's two days in training camp. Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson have [ More ]

Ahmad BradshawJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) has been cleared to practice. Bradshaw is an RB4, but he could be worth more if Trent Richardson fails to produce again.

Roddy WhiteJul 24 08:33a

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White signed a four-year extension with the team that will keep him under team control for the next five years, according to sources.

Donald ThomasJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (hip) and OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps, biceps) have been cleared to practice.

Josh GordonJul 24 08:23a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will have his appeal hearing for his one-year suspension Aug. 1.

Greg OlsenJul 24 01:43a

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen said he is tired of hearing criticism about Carolina's new receiving corps, which is largely made up of journeymen and unproven commodities. Olsen added [ More ]

Aldon SmithJul 24 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith is expected to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the near future, which likely would lead to a decision on any discipline for Smith.

Anthony BarrJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr was with the team for just a few days during offseason workouts due to NFL rules. Head coach Mike Zimmer is eager to see [ More ]

Sharrif FloydJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd had a good offseason, but head coach Mike Zimmer thinks the defensive tackle is trying to be too fine. 'Sharrif has a lot of [ More ]

C. PattersonJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson will remain on kickoff returns despite an expanded role in the offense this season. 'We want our best players to get their hands on [ More ]

Montell OwensJul 23 11:23p

Detroit Lions FB Montell Owens has company, as the team will employ a more traditional fullback in the offense. They signed FB Jed Collins for the role. Owens is [ More ]

Harrison SmithJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings safeties Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo will be battling during training camp and the preseason for the starting job opposite FS Harrison Smith. 'That will be interesting, [ More ]

Matt CasselJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel saw a majority of the snaps during spring workouts, but QB Christian Ponder has a chance to start, and head coach [ More ]

Chad GreenwayJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway could be used as the starting middle linebacker, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. 'It's a possibility. We keep working him in there. We're [ More ]

Troy NiklasJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (hand) has been cleared to participate in training camp, and was working Wednesday, July 23.

Dan WilliamsJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals NT Dan Williams will open training camp as the team's starting nose tackle with NT Alameda Ta'amu (knee) on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list.

Johnny ManzielJul 23 10:23p

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine thinks QB Johnny Manziel needs to increase dedication to earn the starting job. 'I think he knows that in order to compete well, [ More ]

Theo RiddickJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick has the chance to break into the rotation at tailback, and he has drawn considerable praise from his teammates and coaches for his development [ More ]

Joique BellJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (nee) missed most of the offseason due to a knee injury, although he has said his condition is minor and he expects to be [ More ]

Jed CollinsJul 23 10:23p

The Detroit Lions are re-incorporating the traditional fullback into their new offensive scheme this season, and that's why they went out and signed FB Jed Collins.

Cheta OzougwuJul 23 07:23p

New Orleans Saints DE Cheta Ozougwu (undisclosed) cleared waivers and was transferred to the Saints' Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, July 23.

Billy WinnJul 23 06:53p

The Cleveland Browns placed OL Chris Faulk (undisclosed), DE Billy Winn (undisclosed) and LB Tank Carder (undisclosed) on the non-football injury list Wednesday, July 23.

Kyle OrtonJul 23 06:33p

Free-agent QB Kyle Orton (Cowboys) does not want to retire and wants to play in 2014, according to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Conner VernonJul 23 06:23p

The Cleveland Browns placed CB Royce Adams, LB Brandon Magee and WR Conner Vernon on the no-recall waivers list Wednesday, July 23.

Terrance WestJul 23 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West (undisclosed) said on his Twitter page that he passed his conditioning test and people need to 'stop making up your [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group