Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL [Print without images]

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Jake Locker gets 1st-team reps

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- For the first time since he suffered a season-ending foot injury Nov. 10, 2013, against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jake Locker ran the Tennessee Titans' offense at their first OTA practice of the offseason Tuesday.

The quarterback looked comfortable and unlimited as he worked with the team's other quarterbacks and threw to receivers in the segment of practice open to the media. The quarterback and new coach Ken Whisenhunt, who will call plays, have a "comfortable collaboration," and Locker appreciates that his new coach "finds way to empower you as a quarterback," he said.

Locker also said he felt good, that it's simply about managing stiffness and soreness at this point and that having run through the offense mentally during a voluntary veteran minicamp this spring put him in good position to run it now as they are refining things.

"It's always good to see your starting quarterback out there," tight end Delanie Walker said. "He's a fighter. He's going to compete. He's a leader. I don't look at him when I am running routes. But when the balls look good I'm pretty sure he looks good in his drops."

The Titans selected Zach Mettenberger in the sixth round of this month's NFL draft, but quickly said the starting job is not open for competition. Tennessee signed veteran Charlie Whitehurst earlier in the offseason.

Whitehurst backed up Philip Rivers in San Diego last year while Whisenhunt was the Chargers' offensive coordinator. But the primary focus will be on Locker.

"I respect the way he's come in here and worked," Whisenhunt said. "A good assessment the first day is how they handle the terminology going into the huddle, and he did a nice job with that. We've been working at it for a couple of weeks now. Just the way he's been studying, the way he's been working at it, I really like that.

"There is no substitute for getting the work on the field and even seeing some of the drills today, you're seeing him make progress, some of it is footwork, some of it is progressions. I'm excited about that. You know he's going to continue to push it so that's a positive."

Locker said there are similarities and differences between the offense he ran under Mike Munchak and Dowell Loggains last season and the new scheme under Whisenhunt. One change is that the team might push the ball downfield more, Locker said.