Ever since Jake Locker hurt his hip and knee in Week Four against the Jets, signs pointed to him making his return to the lineup after the Titans’ bye in Week Eight.
That plan took a turn this week when Locker returned to practice and coach Mike Munchak refused to rule him out of the game. Locker practiced again on Friday and Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reports that he took the majority of the reps in both individual and team drills.
Munchak said after practice that he hadn’t made a decision about whether Locker or Ryan Fitzpatrick would start against San Francisco and that the team would be discussing it into the weekend. The coach knows that Locker has practiced well and that he wants to play, but said that the team had to weigh other concerns as well when making their choice because they don’t want to put Locker back in the lineup too soon.
“Ryan is going forward like he is starting and I am sure Jake in his mind is [also],” Munchak said. “Jake wants it. I don’t know that he’ll be 100 percent honest with us, unfortunately. … He knows how important he is to team. But he understands what we have to do and he’ll go by ultimately what we decide is best, even though he may not agree with us, because there’s a lot of football to go this year. We want to make sure we are doing the right thing.”
Locker was off to a great start before his injury, completing 62.2 percent of his passes and throwing six touchdowns without an interception. Fitzpatrick hasn’t been nearly as effective and the Titans have lost both of the games he’s started after starting the year 3-1 in games started by Locker.