Tennessee Titans Positional Review: QB

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by TitanJeff, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. TitanJeff

    TitanJeff Kahuna Grande Staff

    This is the first in a series looking at each position.

    Jake Locker
    2013 Stats: 111-for-183 for 1,256 yards. 60.7% completion%. 8 TDs. 4 INTs. 86.7 passer rating.

    Contract Status: Locker is signed through the end of 2014. His base is $2.09M and he has a cap hit of $4.0M. The Titans do have until May 3 to exercise an option which would keep Locker for the 2015 season at a salary around $13M.

    2013 Analysis: Though Locker improved his passer rating from 2012 to 2013 (74 to 86.7), his rating on the road was 73.7. Those betting that Locker has the tools to eventually fulfill the investment the Titans made taking him with pick #8 are pointing to the last two home games where he played extremely well before his injury against the Jets. In those two games, Locker had ratings of 96.6 and 130.0. Once he returned, he did have a solid game against the 49ers putting up 326 yards passing but did little in his final two before his season-ending injury.

    2014 Outlook: Coach Whizenhunt has had success with various pocket QBs during his career. Kurt Warner, who was a part of Whiz's Super Bowl team in Arizona says that, besides staying healthy, Locker needs to be better in the pocket with his reads and timing. The question then becomes will Whiz see the potential for Locker to improve in this area and, is it worth investing in a QB who may only be with the team one more season even if healthy throughout 2014? No way I see the Titans exercising the option to keep Locker for 2015 even though a new long-term deal after a big 2014 would be much more expensive.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick
    2013 Stats: 217-for-350 for 2,454 yards. 62.0% completion%. 14 TDs. 12 INTs. 82.0 passer rating.

    Contract Status: Signed through the end of the 2014 season. $3.25M base with a cap hit of $4.125M.

    2013 Analysis: Fitz got thrown in against some tough defenses after Locker went down and was simply horrible. Against KC he has a 57.7 passer rating only to see it drop to 46.8 against the Seahawks. He bounced back in his next three averaging nearly 111 only to see it plummet again to 47.2 against the Colts. IMO, Fitz often tried to do too much and wrote checks his talent couldn't cover. In fairness, it was often due to the Titans run game being totally ineffective.

    2014 Outlook: Fitz is the kind of QB who is going to do whatever he thinks is needed to make a play. The results are sometimes dazzling but often disastrous. He's a solid #2 when he gets enough support from the run game to take some of the burden off him. If released, he leaves a cap hit of $875,000 for 2014. Among the free agents QBs available if the Titans were to look to make a change are: Michael Vick, Josh McCown, Shaun Hill, Josh Freeman, Matt Cassel and Chad Henne.

    Rusty Smith
    2013 Stats: None

    Contract Status: UFA

    2013 Analysis: Rusty was released and signed to the practice squad. He was re-signed to the 53-man roster after Locker's injury as the #2 QB.

    2014 Outlook: It's hard to imagine a scenario where Rusty is on the 2014 Titans roster.

    Tyler Wilson
    2013 Stats: None

    Contract Status: A three-year deal if he earns a roster spot. Amount is unknown.

    2013 Analysis: Was mostly on the Oakland Raiders practice squad in '13. He was the Raiders fourth-round (112th overall) draft pick but could not beat out UDFA Matt McGloin. Talk was he struggled with the mental aspects of the position. He saw limited action in the preseason and only made the active roster a short time when Terrelle Pryor was injured.

    2014 Outlook: It's said Wilson was someone the Titans liked entering last year's draft and that's likely due to the Dowell Loggains' Arkansas connection. But who knows what Whiz and company will think of him and I'd think there is a higher likelihood that he'll want his own guy to develop next season. Regardless, Wilson should get a shot at OTAs and Training Camp and, if he can grasp the offense, might find himself on the practice squad in 2014.

    Opinion: How he handles the QB situation is the most important decision that Whiz will make entering the 2014 season and possibly his career as the Titans head coach. On one hand, Locker has flashed enough to show he might eventually be a top 10 NFL QB if he can stay on the field. Add up his starts and he only has 18 which isn't much for a QB entering his fourth season. If Whiz thinks Locker is the guy, that gives the Titans a lot of options to address another major need with pick #11.

    However, if Whiz decides to move on, that likely means an early draft pick being used at QB or looking to make a trade as the free agency talent pool is shallow. There's always the chance he might go with Fitz and develop a QB pick as a backup. With a new system being introduced, there's no better time to make the change which works against Locker.

    It's a mess with no obvious solutions, IMO. What I suspect we'll see is a willingness for the Titans to enter this draft targeting a couple of QBs they feel is a value if one is there at #11 or #42. If it goes this direction, then we'll possibly see a Locker trade though I have no idea what his value may be. I don't see the Titans keeping three QBs on the 53-man roster which would be the situation if he wanted to keep Locker, Fitz and a draft pick. Would Whiz be willing to release Fitz and keep an early draft pick as his #2 behind Locker? It's risky but I don't see any way this plays out without some risk being involved.

    I'm personally pulling for Locker. There's no questioning his heart. The problem is, I think his competitiveness might infringe on his judgement which exposes him to injury. I remember Gruden interviewing him on his show before the 2011 draft and that was one thing he asked after showing him taking hits trying to get an extra yard on a scramble. Gruden's point was that he needed to play smarter because you can't make plays from the sidelines.

    Locker is cheap so the risk is worth the reward on the outside chance he is a franchise QB. At worse, the Titans find themselves back in the same position entering the '15 season if Locker can't stay healthy or doesn't show improvement.

    My gut tells me Whiz would not have taken the job if he didn't have the blessing of GM Ruston Webster to get his QB if the opportunity presents itself. My hope is we don't see a repeat of how Whiz handled the QB situation in Arizona by playing QB roulette.

    • High Five High Five x 5
  2. The Hammer

    The Hammer Problematic AF

    I am really hoping for Locker. I do not want to start all over again at QB. Having to roll the dice on another draft pick. His biggest issue is health though it is not too late for him. Matt Stafford was once the "China Doll" then went on to play three full seasons. I would say give it this year to see.

    As for Fitzy. The biggest thing for him is to convince him he is not Brett Favre and to stop playing like it. Stop attempting throws he cannot make. If he can play within himself then Fitzy can be a good backup. If not then he needs to go. Again, give it a year.
  3. TorontoTitanFan

    TorontoTitanFan Pro Bowler

    I'm Locker or bust this season. Let the new staff see what he's got. If he doesn't have it, tank for one of Winston, Mariota or Hundley.

    JCBRAVE Enjoy it while it lasts Tip Jar Donor

    Fitz loves writing checks his arm can't cash, get him out please!
  5. xpmar9x

    xpmar9x The Real Slim Shady

    I believe we should start Rusty.
    • High Five High Five x 1
  6. xpmar9x

    xpmar9x The Real Slim Shady

    Honestly tho -

    I hope we cut Fitzpatrick, he just doesn't have it. We follow up by drafting a QB in the 4th (my favorite is AJ McCarron). McCarron can easily produce what Fitz did for us this year. Then in training camp it's an open competition between Locker, McCarron, and Wilson.
    • High Five High Five x 3
  7. Big Time Titan

    Big Time Titan Big Time Titan

    Cut Fitz. Sign Schaub. Draft a QB outside of the 1st round. Let Jake, Schaub and rookie QB fight it out for the starting job.

    JCBRAVE Enjoy it while it lasts Tip Jar Donor

  9. Roscoes Wetsuit

    Roscoes Wetsuit Starter

    Matt Cassel is opting out of his contract and will be a free agent. I wouldn't mind picking him up to be a #2.
  10. Fry

    Fry Welcome to the land of tomorrow!

    • High Five High Five x 2
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