Jake Locker placed on IR; tenure with Titans over?
The Tennessee Titans placed Jake Locker on season-ending injured reserve Monday, likely closing the door on the 2011 first-round draft pick's career in Nashville.
Locker is set to have surgery on his left shoulder after dislocating it for a third time. He has also missed games due to Lisfranc, hip and thumb injuries in his four-year career, leading the Titans to conclude last November that he could no longer be counted on as a 16-game quarterback, much less the face of the franchise.
An upper echelon athlete with a golden arm, Locker entered the league as a project with footwork issues and better accuracy on the run than inside the pocket.
Given his natural gifts, the Titans couldn't be blamed for harboring visions of Brett Favre and Rich Gannon early in Locker's career. By the end of his third season, though, it had become apparent that he had never developed as a pocket passer.
Locker remains a frenetic, undisciplined quarterback with scattershot accuracy and a tendency to do his best work outside the structure of the offense. His Titans career reached a nadir back in October, when the Titans opted to experiment with raw sixth-round rookie Zach Mettenberger because they couldn't rely on Locker's injured thumb to get him through a game without aggravation.
Although the team's brass has always been high on Locker's toughness, obvious physical gifts and work ethic, the injuries factored into the decision not to pick up his 2015 option last offseason. As a result, Locker will reach free agency in March.
His skill set is best suited to a boot-action offense, such as Kyle Shanahan's in Cleveland and Gary Kubiak's in Baltimore.
Given his issues with durability as well as the fundamentals of the position, Locker will have to settle for a backup job as a potential reclamation project in 2015.
The Titans, meanwhile, are back to square one with Mettenberger, talking themselves into another raw, big-armed quarterback finishing the season on injured reserve. This franchise needs an identity, not a future clipboard holder.