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Jake Locker, Chris Johnson have an up-and-down start

Jake Locker,  Chris Johnson AP

Jake Locker’s first start with the Titans did not begin smoothly, but Locker eventually shook things off and marched Tennessee downfield on an impressive touchdown drive.

Locker, the second-year quarterback who is getting an opportunity to show what he can do with the first-string offense, struggled early on against the Buccaneers. And running back Chris Johnson struggled as well.

The Titans’ first offensive possession consisted of three handoffs to Johnson and a punt. Just as he did in the first preseason game — and just as he did for much of the 2011 season — Johnson failed to break any big runs.

On the second possession, Locker made a terrible decision on third-and-long, rolling right and then throwing against his body into coverage, where his pass was intercepted by Tampa Bay’s Ahmad Black and returned to the 2-yard line, setting up a Buccaneers touchdown.

And the Titans’ third possession was another three-and-out, concluding with a Locker incompletion.

But the Titans’ offense finally got things going on their fourth drive. Locker showed that he’s capable of making accurate throws on the run, completing an 11-yard pass to Craig Stevens, and Locker also ran for 21 yards. Johnson had a 10-yard run and a 14-yard run, and the latter run got the Titans into the end zone.

Locker has shown that he can make plays. The question is whether he can make plays consistently enough to beat out Matt Hasselbeck for the staring job in Tennessee.

UPDATE, 8:50 PM EDT: Just after we posted this, Johnson scored on his second 14-yard touchdown run of the game.

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15 Responses to “Jake Locker, Chris Johnson have an up-and-down start”
  1. originalhulkhogan says: Aug 17, 2012 8:50 PM

    I think CJ and Mike Tyson need to square off in a spelling B brother!!

  2. jvillenole says: Aug 17, 2012 8:53 PM

    On another AFC South note…Blaine Gabbert, 10/11, 90 yards and 2 TDs

  3. touchdownroddywhite says: Aug 17, 2012 8:53 PM

    I don’t think he’ll have to show that he’s better than Hass. He just has to show that the difference won’t kill them in a big game, and he should be starting week one. He’s got big play ability, and once he flashes it a couple times, CJ?K will get some extra space.

  4. dbarnes79 says: Aug 17, 2012 8:55 PM

    Locker hasn’t looked good. Disappointed.

  5. blacknole08 says: Aug 17, 2012 8:55 PM

    I think Locker is having a pretty good night. Aside from the INT, which he shook off nicely and didn’t seem to bother him too much, he made some good throws on the run. It doesn’t help that the Bucs defense is VASTLY improved as well.

    He should be the starter come week 1

  6. geddyn says: Aug 17, 2012 8:56 PM

    The Titans still have their starters in the game while the Bucs are playing their backups.

    The Bucs have terrible depth, especially on defense and the offensive line, so expect Locker to tear it up if he’s in there much longer.

  7. obie09 says: Aug 17, 2012 9:19 PM

    lol really? Chris Johnson finally shows up and shows his old 2010 self and you cherry pick a few runs and say he was awful early? The o-line gave him a few -2 and -3 yard runs and he still finished with 10 carries, 46 yards and 2 TD’s. Too many people want to see him fail and won’t even give the slightest credit when it looks like he might be back on the right track.

  8. bucforever says: Aug 17, 2012 9:45 PM

    So far I am really glad this thing was blacked out and I didn’t have to watch it. It ‘s bad enough to listen to it. Looks like some of last years bad habits are still hanging around. Gotta get better soon!

  9. jrillah10 says: Aug 17, 2012 9:53 PM

    Mr. Smith,

    What game are you watching? Locker has been awful. He’s thrown for 21 yards and his completion percentage is below 35%. On the one scoring drive they picked up a personal foul penalty and Chris Jounson finished it ofd. He did have a nice run, but his throws have been terrible.

  10. joemontanawasthegreatest says: Aug 17, 2012 10:32 PM

    Locker just needs experience, they should start him.

  11. skyslimit87 says: Aug 18, 2012 1:24 AM

    I’m rooting for ya Locker!

  12. alonestartexan says: Aug 18, 2012 8:53 AM

    obie09 says:
    Aug 17, 2012 9:19 PM
    lol really? Chris Johnson finally shows up and shows his old 2010 self and you cherry pick a few runs and say he was awful early? The o-line gave him a few -2 and -3 yard runs and he still finished with 10 carries, 46 yards and 2 TD’s. Too many people want to see him fail and won’t even give the slightest credit when it looks like he might be back on the right track.

    ——

    So, when Johnson had huge games it was because of his skills and how he’s the best in the league.. When he plays horrible like last season and this preseason, it’s because of the O-Line..

    Gotcha…

  13. obie09 says: Aug 18, 2012 9:58 AM

    @alonestartexan, are you serious? I never said that. Last year was CJ’s fault mostly, but the o-line struggles (ranked dead last in the NFL, and no that isn’t dependant on how a RB runs), compacted the problem. If you’ve payed attention at all, everyone has said he looks fast, he’s cutting well, and looks to be his old self that has seen him. He even looked fast and was cutting and made 3 people miss vs the Bucs, it’s just he was hit in the backfield on 2 carries to make his stats look awful. Then he looked great last night.

  14. obie09 says: Aug 18, 2012 10:22 AM

    “He even looked fast and was cutting and made 3 people miss vs the Bucs”

    I meant Seattle.

  15. dbarnes79 says: Aug 18, 2012 10:58 AM

    So what if Locker sits another half or even another full season. Let him sit and learn a bit more from Hasselbeck. I don’t think rushing him in will hurt him. He has all the measurables and un-measurables. Works hard and has the respect of his team. If Hasselbeck falters put the kid in then.

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