After finally getting around to watching Jake Locker's performance against the Buccaneers, all I can say is "wow," and not in the good way.
Locker was accused of looking lost against the Buccaneers, but that's not what I saw from the young quarterback. I've seen some of that finicky energy before from another quarterback in the AFC South, Blaine Gabbert.
Whether Locker adjusts quicker than Gabbert did to the speed of the NFL game will likely determine this season's outcome for the Titans. Locker went 4 of 11 against Tampa Bay for 21 yards and an interception.
The scary part of watching Locker was his inability to look downfield as the rush got closer. His interception, for instance, was a terrible decision to throw back across the field as the pocket closed in around him. He should have ran the ball for a short gain. Instead, he set the Buccaneers up for a short touchdown drive.
To say that Jake Locker looked lost in the Titans' offense is a bit of an exaggeration, but he certainly wasn't comfortable.
The good news for Titans fans is that, if nothing else, Jake Locker will finally see significant playing time in 2012. No amount of practice or preparation can prepare a young player for the real deal, and that's a lesson Mike Munchak seems to understand.
Basically the message here is to be patient. It's likely, if not probable, that Matt Hasselbeck could win more games starting for the Titans than Jake Locker, but that won't help Locker become the franchise quarterback the Titans want and need. There will be some major bumps in the road, but Locker has the athleticism, talent and attitude to learn the pro game and excel in it. All he needs is time.