The offseason kicked off with a head coaching change in Tennessee, but CEO Tommy Smith said Tuesday that he doesn’t anticipate that the hiring of Ken Whisenhunt will lead to a quarterback change.
According to Smith, the opposite is true. Smith believes that Whisenhunt’s arrival will be a positive for quarterback Jake Locker as he enters his fourth NFL season. Locker has missed 14 of the last 32 games because of injuries, leading to some speculation that the team might look in other directions but Smith said his confidence that Locker can fill the job has not wavered.
Absolutely. I do like Jake … and I think Ken is going to be very good for Jake,” Smith said, via the Tennessean. “Jake is a competitor. He is a smart guy. I think he has the ability. He is the quarterback. That’s what I have told him every time I see him. And that’s the way it is.”
The Titans have a decision to make before May about whether or not to pick up Locker’s fifth-year option for 2015, which would cost $13 million. If they do, there’s little chance that he’ll be replaced at quarterback in 2014.
Smith’s desire to stick with Locker isn’t a sign that the Titans plan to let things remain as they are across the roster. Smith made no commitment in either direction regarding running back Chris Johnson’s future with the team. If they do cut Johnson and his $8 million salary loose, Smith intimated the team will put it back into the roster when he said he’s not “putting any collars” on General Manager Ruston Webster when free agency opens next month.