- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean is one of just a handful of reporters who’s watched virtually every throw of training camp.
So I put a lot of stock into his opinion on the Titans' quarterback battle and think he’s very well reasoned in this piece about why he now thinks Jake Locker had moved ahead and could seize the job with a good performance Friday night at Tampa Bay.
“At this point, I thought there would be separation between Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker – but there’s not. At this point, I thought the Titans might be convinced they’d be better off with a veteran quarterback heading into a tough start to the regular season – but they’re not.
"That’s because Locker has risen to the challenge, and been more consistent than anyone thought he would be, including myself. So at this point, I believe the starting job is now Locker’s to lose.”
The longer the two players remain in the same ballpark, the stronger the case for Locker gets, for sure. If they are close, you take the younger guy who’s your future and has more upside.
I think too, as tight end-turned-Nashville-radio-personality Frank Wycheck said this morning, it would be advantageous for Munchak to name a winner next week. They can’t force it if they aren’t there yet. But if they can get there, it gives the two players more time to settle into their roles, it gives the team more time knowing who the QB is and it gets the locker room out from under the preeminent looming question.
One thing I am not buying is the case arguing you can’t win a Super Bowl with Hasselbeck. I don’t think the Titans are winning a Super Bowl with anyone this year.
While the state of the league suggests you need Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger or Eli Manning to get to the Lombardi Trophy, there is no law that says an older, effective quarterback who’s running a good team cannot break through.
Back to Wyatt:
“Locker has made significant improvement in one year. He’s closed the gap on Hasselbeck, even if Munchak doesn’t want to admit it publicly. And the more Locker plays, the better he should get.
“If the competition continues at its current pace, don’t be surprised if Locker ends up being the guy.”
It sure seems like Locker’s done well setting the table. The question now is whether he can convince Munchak and his staff that it’s time to eat.