Back when there was a quarterback debate in Tennessee, the Titans’ early schedule was one of the factors the Matt Hasselbeck faction cited.
And history shows they may have had a point.
While Titans quarterback Jake Locker isn’t technically a rookie, he’s playing a Patriots defense that has been unkind to young quarterbacks in recent years.
“Just don’t give it to him all at once,” Pats cornerback Kyle Arrington said of their plan, via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “Try to make him work for it. Try to disguise what we’re doing and things of that nature. With this game in particular, [Locker] is very dangerous, not only throwing the ball but running the ball.”
The Patriots are 10-3 under Belichick against rookie starters, and 3-0 against quarterbacks making their first career starts — perfect against Luke McCown (Browns, 2004), Matt Flynn (Packers, 2010) and Tyler Palko (Chiefs, 2011).
Now, there’s an obvious difference in pedigree between those guys and Locker, the eighth overall pick last year.
But the philosophy is the same — get in their young heads and make them think.
“We’ll just have to go out there and try to execute our game plan,” cornerback Devin McCourty said. “It’s a new season. It’s a different game. We’ve never played against Jake Locker, so I think we have to just go out there and do what we’ve talked about all week in practice.”
Locker’s being thrown into the deep end, and how he responds will tell much about the Titans prospects and his own.