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Titans talk up open competition between Locker, Hasselbeck

Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Locker AP

The best quarterback will play in Tennessee next year, even if it’s Jake Locker.

That was the message sent loud and clear Thursday here at the Scouting Combine by Titans G.M. Ruston Webster and coach Mike Munchak. Both men called the quarterback position an “open competition” for next year.

The news is not a surprise, but the clarity of the message indicated Locker has a legitimate chance to win the job. The No. 8 overall pick played very well in a relief role last year.  Munchak said it would be “obvious” if Locker is ready. The team knows what it has in Hasselbeck. Webster said Hasselbeck played very well.

Some other highlights from the Titans:

1. Webster said it would be difficult to lose both cornerback Cortland Finnegan and safety Michael Griffin. A decision about the franchise tag will come down to the last minute. That comment seemed to indicate the team would be willing to use the tag if they had to.  Webster said he “expects” Finnegan to return, like all of the team’s free agent. Which isn’t really saying anything.

2. The team recognized they need defensive ends. Webster said you never want to overpay at any position, but defensive end is one position you have to pay for quality.

3. Munchak later said the team was “bracing” for the loss of Finnegan and it would be crazy if they weren’t.

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13 Responses to “Titans talk up open competition between Locker, Hasselbeck”
  1. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Feb 23, 2012 12:11 PM

    If Locker wasn’t seriously in contention for starting job in year 2 they sure would have screwed up taking him as high as 8.

  2. mwcarolina says: Feb 23, 2012 12:15 PM

    first to Finnegan and Griffin. i think they somehow keep Finnegan. as for Griffin, i think they let him walk (hopefully to Washington), then replace him.

  3. mwcarolina says: Feb 23, 2012 12:16 PM

    now to the competition, this isnt a shock as i thought both guys should get a shot this year. Locker in his limited time showed potential to be great and if the Colts suffer from rookie growing pains and the Jaguars dont improve, then a Locker led Titans could get a wildcard playoff spot.

  4. dohpey28 says: Feb 23, 2012 12:21 PM

    What was the old Parcell’s line? Something like ‘if you have 2 starting quarterbacks, then you don’t have any’ or something like that.

    These things are never good for teams, ever. Pick a starter and go with him, it saves drama and locker room problems.

  5. thefiesty1 says: Feb 23, 2012 12:23 PM

    Good luck with that. How about going after the receiver they never had? Hasselbeck is about done and Locker was a mistake at #8 pick.

  6. kevpft says: Feb 23, 2012 12:49 PM

    In contrast to some of the comments above, I think this sets up TN to be in a great place at the QB position.

    It’s not like Denver, where you have had a crowd of hard-to-distinguish QBs all with plenty of career left. Or, say, the Jets, where you have major questions surrounding a starter. Or the Jags, who rushed in a rookie too quickly.

    Here you’ve got a veteran who’s on the back side of his career, who could retire today and be proud of his record. And a second-year guy who has shown that he can handle the job. In other words, there’s not the kind of huge pressure or urgency that you see in some other teams. Both can do the job and win games, the team is in good hands with both, and the division is winnable.

    They can afford to split time and develop Locker, and as they do so, there shouldn’t be the huge diva resistance from Hasselbeck that you might see with other marquee QBs. Hopefully that’s how it plays out, anyway.

  7. gotitan says: Feb 23, 2012 12:55 PM

    @thefiesty1 says:

    Good luck with that. How about going after the receiver they never had? Hasselbeck is about done and Locker was a mistake at #8 pick.

    Kenny Britt? Nate Washington? Locker will be a solid QB for years in TN.

  8. tennesseeoilers says: Feb 23, 2012 1:40 PM

    I wasn’t a Locker fan when the Titans drafted him, and like many who thought they would take Gabbert, I got a bit of a queasy stomach when the Jags then took Gabbert with the next pick.

    But after what we’ve seen? Are you kidding me? Jake Locker repeatedly showed flashes of brilliance while Gabbert showed flashes of … of … well, cowardice.

    THANK GOD, the Titans picked Locker!

  9. kwazulu50 says: Feb 23, 2012 3:07 PM

    You have to commend the Titans for what they were been able to achieve last year with what they were given. A new head coach, a new OC, a new DC, bunch of new assistants, 2 new QB’s, Kenny Britt season-ending injury in Week 3, Chris Johnson not playing up to his new contract, all this without an offseason training schedule – AND THEY END UP 9-7! With some stability at coaching/personnel, an offseason to practice, and if they are able to overcome their FA losses, the sky is the limit!

  10. quittsburghstoolers says: Feb 23, 2012 3:35 PM

    If the quality of their play in preseason is even remotely close,
    Tennessee would be wise to just go ahead and start Locker.

    He’s had his time to sit and watch. It’s now time to play…

  11. laiddogg93 says: Feb 23, 2012 4:10 PM

    Locker is the man!!!
    The Titans are in great shape for many years to come.
    The Locker era will begin a Titan dynasty.

  12. elmaxoh says: Feb 23, 2012 4:10 PM

    always been a fan of Locker.He need to start and brings some mobility at this position so CJ can run again ..

  13. kbritt18 says: Feb 23, 2012 7:45 PM

    I don’t think anyone thinks the Titans are an offensive powerhouse. I think that is what makes them a sleeper next year.

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