This offseason has been highlighted by quarterback competitions as well as the coming of new eras around the league. Robert Griffin III will take over as the Redskins’ starter, Andrew Luck will be the field commander in Indianapolis. The Seahawks are gearing up for a three way quarterback competition, the Jaguars will be deciding between Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne, and the Browns will be deciding between Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden. There seems to be one quarterback battle in Tennessee that’s being overlooked.
The Titans are nearing an important decision that will shape their 2012 campaign. The team believes it is a playoff caliber team, and because of this, they’re interested in the here and now, not two years from now. Matt Hasselbeck is their veteran quarterback. He’s the “been there done that” guy, and he represents a solid starter who can manage the game without getting in over his head. Jake Locker represents the future, and potentially the present as well.
The decision for head coach Mike Munchak is not a simple one. Jake Locker will almost certainly have some growing pains is he’s selected as the starting quarterback in Tennessee. In this league, young starters’ growing pains often result in a few losses that the team would have won with a seasoned veteran. That being said, those growing pains have to come eventually, and postponing the beginning of the Jake Locker era just pushes those mistakes off until a later date.
John Glennon of the Tennessean spoke with Titans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer on Thursday, and according to Palmer, there’s no set timetable for determining a starting quarterback for the Titans. Palmer also told Glennon that the competition would help Hasselbeck, and to a greater extent, Locker in becoming better quarterbacks.
“Just like anything, it’s competition. I always felt when I played squash or tennis, when I played someone that was better than me I raised my game. I think it’s good and I think it’s fun. The thing that is really good is that both guys get along and I think that opens up the competition. I think both will grow and accept it for what it is.” -Chris Palmer, Titans offensive coordinator
The Titans will have to pick a starter at some point, but they’re taking the right approach. At this point, both quarterbacks understand that this is Jake Locker’s team moving forward, but Hasselbeck won’t roll over and make Munchak’s decision an easy one. Jake Locker will continue to grow in 2012 regardless of whether he’s starting or backing up Hasselbeck. The decision will come, but we’re still months away from that time.