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

Cyrus GrayOct 22 06:33p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Donnie Avery (groin) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) and CB Christopher Owens (knee) did [ More ]

Tre MasonOct 22 06:32p

St. Louis Rams RB Tre Mason could be the top candidate for a majority of carries since he is averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Mason rushed for 85 yards [ More ]

Dion SimsOct 22 05:53p

Miami Dolphins T Branden Albert (elbow), CB Cortland Finnegan (neck), WR Brandon Gibson (knee), CB Brent Grimes (groin), C Samson Satele (hamstring), TE Dion Sims (neck) and S Jimmy [ More ]

Jo-Lonn DunbarOct 22 05:43p

St. Louis Rams C Tim Barnes (shoulder), DE William Hayes (illness), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), S T.J. McDonald (concussion) and OT Rodger Saffold (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. [ More ]

Scott SolomonOct 22 05:43p

Cleveland Browns WR Jonathan Krause, Seattle Seahawks TE Rashaun Allen and Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Solomon Patton and DE Scott Solomon cleared waivers and became free agents Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Billy WinnOct 22 05:33p

Cleveland Browns DE Desmond Bryant (wrist) and LB Barkeveous Mingo both fully participated in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. DE Ahtyba Rubin (ankle) and CB K'Waun Williams (concussion) were both [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 22 05:23p

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (hand, hip) and SS Danny McCray (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. LB Jonathan Bostic (back) and LB Lance Briggs (ribs) [ More ]

Sharrif FloydOct 22 05:13p

Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (hernia), LB Gerald Hodges (hamstring) and C John Sullivan (concussion) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. DE Corey Wootton (back), DT Sharrif Floyd (ankle), [ More ]

Dashon GoldsonOct 22 05:13p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), OT Anthony Collins (knee), S Dashon Goldson (ankle) and S Keith Tandy (hamstring) were limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. C Johnthan Banks (neck) practiced in full.

Brandon BrownerOct 22 05:13p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. CB Brandon Browner (ankle), LB Jamie Collins (thigh), OG Dan Connolly (concussion), DE Dominique [ More ]

Josh McCownOct 22 05:13p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) was listed as a limited participant in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Brett KeiselOct 22 05:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers OT Marcus Gilbert (concussion), DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), DT Steve McLendon (shoulder), FS Mike Mitchell (non-injury) and SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, [ More ]

Jimmy GrahamOct 22 04:53p

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Jonathan GoodwinOct 22 04:53p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle, knee) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. CB Keenan Lewis (knee, shoulder), LB Ramon Humber [ More ]

Thomas DavisOct 22 04:53p

Carolina Panthers CB Bene Benwikere (ankle), LB Chase Blackburn (knee), WR Philly Brown (concussion), LB Thomas Davis (non-injury), S Roman Harper (non-injury), OG Amini Silatolu (calf), OG Trai Turner [ More ]

A.J. GreenOct 22 04:43p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) wasn't feeling good enough to return to practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. Head coach Marvin Lewis said Green won't play in Week 8 against [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 22 04:43p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Reggie WayneOct 22 04:33p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Jake LockerOct 22 04:33p

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (thumb) was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Kelechi OsemeleOct 22 04:33p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (wrist) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. OT Eugene Monroe (knee) and OG Kelechi Osemele (knee) practiced in full.

Gosder CherilusOct 22 04:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle (knee) and OT Gosder Cherilus (rest) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. CB Darius Butler (ankle) was limited during practice, while DT [ More ]

James StarksOct 22 04:33p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. Starks injured the ankle in Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers.

Brandon ThompsonOct 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Baltimore Ravens. DE Robert Geathers (toe), CB Leon Hall (back) and OG Mike Pollak [ More ]

Andre BranchOct 22 04:23p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Alan Ball (bicep) and DE Andre Branch (groin) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. C Luke Bowanko (ankle), CB Aaron Colvin (knee) and S Craig Loston (hamstring) were limited.

Trent RichardsonOct 22 04:23p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Mario WilliamsOct 22 04:13p

Buffalo Bills WR Marquise Goodwin (hamstring) and LB Ty Powell (ankle) both did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. WR Marcus Easley (knee) and S Aaron Williams (neck) [ More ]

Martellus BennettOct 22 04:13p

Chicago Bears TE Martellus Bennett (hamstring) said he expects to practice Thursday, Oct. 23, and play in Week 8. Bennett missed practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Nick MangoldOct 22 04:13p

New York Jets LB Trevor Reilly (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. OT Oday Aboushi (shoulder), CB Phillip Adams (groin), OG Willie Colon (knee), LB David Harris (shoulder) [ More ]

Jadeveon ClowneyOct 22 04:13p

Houston Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney (knee) will be a game-time decision for Week 8.

Quentin GrovesOct 22 04:13p

Tennessee Titans LB Quentin Groves (ankle) and CB Coty Sensabaugh (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. DE Ropati Pitoitua (hand) and TE Taylor Thompson (knee) were limited.

Toby GerhartOct 22 04:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart (foot) was limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

T.J. WardOct 22 04:03p

Denver Broncos CB Omar Bolden (concussion) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22, and has been ruled out for Week 8. LB Steven Johnson (ankle) was limited during [ 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