Replacing Jake Locker
So where do the 3-1 Tennessee Titans go from here? With everything clicking on all cylinders on Sunday afternoon, their progress was stopped dead in its tracks when their budding Quarterback Jake Locker was severely injured. The injury occurred on an un-penalized late hit that occurred in the 3rd quarter. Muhammad Wilkerson delivered the hit while Locker was awkwardly bent against the body of Quinton Coples. Locker would not return and was taken to a local hospital for further tests.
Here's the hit. You can clearly see Coples lowering his shoulder into Locker late. (Gif credit: Fansided.com)
3-1 has never felt so bad.
Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced Locker at Quarterback and managed the game admirably. Needless to say, Tennessee lost a huge part of their offense. Locker was playing at an extremely high level. He had seemingly finally put it all together, ready to lead a run to the playoffs. The early diagnosis is that Locker will be forced to miss 4-8 weeks. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Titans could do much worse that Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the offense is going to suffer.
Fitzpatrick does not have the arm to stretch it downfield, as you saw on the pass to Washington late in the game Sunday. Unfortunately, I think this means teams are going to stack the box more against the Titans offense. Fitzpatrick is going to have to be smart with the ball. He’s been known to be a turnover machine during his time in the NFL registering 39 interceptions in the last two years alone.
The defense plain and simple will have to carry this team. Ryan can manage the offense and put a few things together, but I’m really not sold that he can go win Tennessee football games. I’m thinking of it as a Kerry Collins led team in 2008. The problem is that the defense of 2013 isn’t up to the level as the defense of 2008.
It’s hard to sit here and say that this injury derails 2013 as a whole, but it certainly doesn’t help things going into a brutal stretch of games against the Chiefs, Seahawks, and 49ers. We will certainly find out what the Titans are made of in the next three weeks.