New coaches, new offensive systems. Jake Locker has seen plenty of changes since being drafted by the Tennessee Titans, and the last one seems to be an attempt in turning him into a pocket passer instead of a more mobile, improvising quarterback.
The numbers suggest it’s a good direction to be taking. He has completed 57.7% of his passes from inside the pocket compared to 53.2% outside of it. Last season he played in only seven games as another injury took its toll on him and the Titans’ season, but he completed 61.7% of his passes while staying in the pocket compared to 50% when throwing from outside of it.
The media in Tennessee has been reporting about Ken Whisenhunt’s new offensive system, and offering clues to how the Titans’ offense will look like from now on. Running back by committee with rookie Bishop Sankey probably carrying the larger share of the load, but no more Chris Johnson-like dominance, and Locker, entering his fourth season in the NFL, avoiding bootlegs and other improvisational risks, or at least doing it a lot less than in the past.
When Locker was drafted in 2011 the scouts were telling everyone that he’s not going to be useful as a pocket passer, but the numbers suggest he can do quite well, even without the best of offensive lines, a weak point for the Titans last season and an area they haven’t really upgraded in terms of personnel.
This will probably be the season in which the Titans, hoping that nothing breaks or tears for Locker, decide if he is truly their franchise quarterback for years to come or is it time to find someone new. After only 23 games in three seasons, 18 of them starts, you might say that it’s more likely that he’ll fail to deliver, even if it’s not his fault. But sometimes it’s just about luck, and on more than one occasion he has shown the ability that’s required of him. Maybe this season, with a change in his function as a quarterback, he’ll also be able do it without finding himself on the disabled list.