Wednesday, September 25, 2013
QB Watch: Titans’ Jake Locker
By Paul Kuharsky
A weekly analysis of the Titans' quarterback play:
Rewind: Locker played very well in the win over San Diego, engineering a game-winning drive right near the end. He posted a 96.6 passer rating and a 91.9 QBR. Some other nice numbers from ESPN Stats & Info -- on five rushes for 68 yards, including a career-long 39 yard scramble, Locker found four first downs, and he was 9-for-13 for 107 yards and a TD on third down. His final play, the 34-yard winning score to Justin Hunter, increased Tennessee’s win probability from 14.9 percent to 97.1 percent, the single biggest swing on a play last week.
Fast-forward: The Jets have the NFL’s seventh-ranked pass defense through three games, but it’s come against Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman, a group of Patriots receivers who struggled for Tom Brady and Buffalo’s rookie signal-caller EJ Manuel. They’ve recorded 12 sacks and held those quarterbacks to a 70.5 passer rating.
Confidence: Locker’s confidence should be at an all-time high after delivering the Titans to a win in dramatic fashion. The running element was excellent, and the hope will be that he keeps the Jets on guard in a similar fashion. Interior protection needs to be strong for him against 3-4 end Muhammad Wilkerson, who’s got three sacks already.
Prediction: The Jets have been a balanced defense, so it will be interesting to see whether the Titans approach this game intending to be offensively balanced. I think Locker and the offense could finally end up with some short fields to work with. Geno Smith has already thrown six interceptions. If the Titans can stop committing kickoff penalties and set up the offense with a turnover or two, things can be a lot easier for Locker.