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Decision time: Locker apparently set to be Titans’ starting QB

Decision time: Locker apparently set to be Titans’ starting QB

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012 7:00 pm

By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer
NASHILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Titans reportedly have decided on Jake Locker over Matt Hasselbeck as the team’s starting quarterback, even though coach Mike Munchak said he could have gone all the way up to opening week before picking quarterback for the season.
“We have done that before, but I don’t necessarily think we will do that,” Munchak said Sunday. Reports are that he made his decision today.
Hasselbeck and Locker split work yet again with the first-team offense, rotating between drills Sunday in the final open practice of training camp for Tennessee (No. 21 in the AP Pro 32).
Asked Sunday if the decision will be on the starter for Thursday night’s exhibition against Arizona or for the season, Munchak had a short answer.
“We will talk about that tomorrow,” Munchak said.
Locker was just 4-of-11 for 21 yards in his first NFL start Friday night, a 30-7 win at Tampa Bay.
Hasselbeck, who was intercepted twice in the preseason opener, was 4-of-5 for 29 yards.
On Sunday, both had their moments with Hasselbeck picked off in a two-minute drill, while Locker completed 1-of-5 passes.
But Hasselbeck had some nice throws to tight ends Jared Cook and Craig Stevens into the end zone on another drill, while Locker made a nice pass to Cook down the right sideline.
Munchak said repetitions always help, though they saw Hasselbeck throw for more than 3,500 yards in 2011 with Locker impressive each time he came off the bench as a rookie.
“You have ideas on what you think is best, but ultimately you want to let things play out as long as you can and make the best decision for the team,” Munchak said.
Neither Hasselbeck nor Locker spoke with reporters Sunday. Cook said the wait to pick a starting quarterback is not causing problems in the locker room and sees no pressure to rush a decision.
“It’s good that they kind of push each other. They know that someone’s right on their shoulder. Watch out. Competition’s good,” Cook said.
“You’ve got a guy you invested in the future in in Jake and you also have a guy who’s a crafty veteran who knows the game period in Matt. It’s not an easy decision, and we’ve only played two games. You really can’t decide a lot in two games.”
Quarterback isn’t the only position battle going on for the Titans right now, but it easily is the most watched in the first real competition for this team at that spot in years.
The Titans open Sept. 9 against New England, and coaches will have to decide how many defensive linemen to keep, as well as defensive backs, receivers and linebackers.
“This is just one of many that, hopefully, we will get right,” Munchak said of picking a starting quarterback.
Receiver will be a challenge while receiver Kenny Britt waits to hear from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on whether or not his eighth incident involving police merits a suspension and how many games.
Munchak said Britt may not play this preseason as he recovers from a third surgery, on his left knee in late June, and the Titans are preparing for the worst.
Britt said he has not heard from the commissioner and is hoping for the best. He said he is working hard in the film room and in the training room to be ready once he is cleared off the physically unable to perform list. He surprised himself by running several passing routes hard recently.
“I’m real excited,” Britt said.
In other Titans’ news, Titans linebacker Gerald McRath will have season-ending surgery to repair a partially torn patella tendon in his left knee.
The three-year veteran tried to play through the injury in during training camp, but coach Mike Munchak said Sunday that McRath had decided to have the surgery.
McRath says he aggravated his knee Aug. 6 when the Titans practiced against Atlanta in Georgia. The linebacker had tried not practicing to rest his knee, but he says he couldn’t run well and didn’t want to hold back his teammates.
The Titans drafted the 6-foot-3, 228-pound McRath in the fourth round out of Southern Mississippi in 2009. He played on special teams and in passing situations on defense in 2011.
EXTRA POINTS: S Jordan Babineaux did not practice and said he might not play Thursday night against the Cardinals. He said his right shoulder, which he hurt while in Seattle in 2005 and 2006, is sore but will not prevent him from playing in the regular season.
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Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP—NFL.

Published in The Messenger 8.20.12

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