Hard not to see season hinging on Locker

May, 27, 2014
May 27
6:12
PM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans' linebackers don’t fill me with faith. I’m not certain this team will have sufficient pass rush from the edge. The offensive line needs to make a collective jump.

I do not co-sign Todd McShay’s theory that the Titans would be a potential Super Bowl team with Andrew Luck at quarterback.

There is a lot of potential on the roster, and I think it will greatly benefit from a coaching upgrade as well as what should be an easier schedule. In just a few months and without so much as a preseason game, I have little doubt that Ken Whisenhunt and his people are going to be superior to Mike Munchak’s and his.

Tuesday, I watched the Titans' first OTA practice. Everything was upbeat, everything was crisp. It was a typical spring NFL practice: no hitting, tons of positives. A lot of players looked good, the way you’re supposed to look in this setting.

Even with my roster concerns and even as I reminded myself of the spring context, I kept circling back to the super-obvious theme: It’s going to be so much about the quarterback.

Jake Locker is healthy again and was at the helm. The new coaches like the way he works and operates, and those are two of the major ingredients that got him drafted No. 8 overall three years ago.

Injuries have held him back, but so has decision-making.

Can he stay healthy? Can he consistently show poise?

It’s hard for me to say yes to either when the overall answers based on his body of work so far are no.

He got progressively better in the first four games last season, and it was encouraging. But his supporters make it out like he was playing world-beating football before he suffered knee and hip injuries against the Jets and things came skidding to a stop. It was good and getting better. There was a game-winning bomb against the Chargers. There was a shredding of the Jets. When he returned, probably too quickly, he wasn’t anything beyond ordinary until he suffered a season-ending injury to his foot.

There is no way to know what he will be going forward. I generally abide by the thinking that the best forecaster of future performance is past performance, and using that method odds are good we will be discussing who the new Titans quarterback for 2015 will be before the 2014 season ends.

Every signal-caller in the NFL is under pressure to produce this fall. We know the ones who are sure to, and we know it’s a short list.

We know some have a chance to make a jump and ease their team’s uncertainty.

We know the Titans hinge on Locker, and we know that is a scenario very few teams would swap for in order to call their own.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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