Last updated on November 21st, 2014 at 01:30 pm
It all began so well, but has all gone so wrong since. In a score that makes less and less sense the further we go from it, the Titans 26-10 opening day victory in Kansas City served as little more than fool’s gold, a mask, an aberration, a distraction from the issues that plague and will plague this team for the foreseeable future.
Simply put, more than ever in football today at any level, if you do not have good quarterback play, you have no chance, none.
Jake Locker has always been a question mark going all the way back to his college days—physical talent and athleticism, but room for so much more. Many observers, myself included, believed what Locker lacked were things you had to just have, not things that could effectively be taught at the NFL level. There is no doubt through the first four games of the 2014 season, that we were completely correct. If any of these changes at this point, Locker will certainly be a trailblazer.
Jake Locker is not accurate, not a good decision maker, not a leadership guy, not tough enough, and he improvises too much. These were true before and sadly, they are still true now. In today’s game, poor quarterback play means you cannot run the ball as effectively, you are in impossible third-down situations, and you cannot control the ball and keep your defense off the field leading to fatigue and added injury.
Not having the guy at quarterback is devastating to your franchise more than ever before. Making a mistake in drafting a quarterback is a mistake that sets you back years. The Titans are on year four of Locker. He is not the guy, so they will have to draft another and barring the extra special, that will take until year three to be ready for a playoff run—meaning the Jake Locker mistake could set the Titans back seven years. It has already been six since the last trip to the playoffs. Jake Locker is running out of chances. He appears destined for career back-up status.
Do the Titans have the answer already in Zach Mettenberger? The signs are not good there. You figure if he had ‘it,’ Whisenhunt would have put him out there to start rather than journeyman Charlie Whitehurst in Indianapolis. Minnesota, who made a similar mistake with Christian Ponder the same year Locker came out, have already turned to their rookie draftee Teddy Bridgewater and he looks to be special, for sure.
So what have the positives been? The offensive line seems to be run blocking well, five yards per carry so far but only 19 rushes per game because of not having the ball. Bishop Sankey looks to be adjusting well. He needs more opportunities. Delanie Walker and Kendall Wright have been solid at receiver but their success underscores the issue of not stretching the field enough. On defense, Wesley Woodyard and Jurrell Casey deserve positive mention.
But the return game has been a non-entity; the rush defense has been poor; Blidi Wreh-Wilson’s play at corner has been woefully inconsistent; Bernard Pollard has seemingly more penalties than big plays; and oh, those penalties! Discipline has been little and far this season.
Cleveland and Jacksonville are next for Tennessee, and those must be wins. Then a trip to Washington and another home tilt against Houston get us to the halfway mark.nb7y9 A major turnaround must happen here, anything less than 3-1 and there is no hope for a good season.