The Tennessee Titans have no desire to change starting quarterbacks in 2013.
In fact, according to Ruston Webster, the only way that Jake Locker won’t be the starter is if he is injured. The general manager then placed the onus squarely on the third-year quarterback to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“He has to change the way he plays a little bit,” Webster said in an interview with Pro Football Talk Live at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. “He has to take care of himself. When he throws an interception, which hopefully is not too often, he can’t turn into a free safety. So he has to take care of himself.”
Locker missed five full games and most of a sixth last season — his first as a starter — because of a shoulder injury that required offseason surgery. He first hurt the shoulder in the opener when he made a tackle following an interception.
The last five times the Titans have made the playoffs, one quarterback started at least 14 games.
“We’re going to get better around him,” Webster said. “That’s part of the thing with the offensive line, is to improve his protection and hopefully be able to run the ball more consistently than we have. We signed [running back] Shonn Greene as a change up to Chris [Johnson], just to give us a different look. Hopefully, all those things will help Jake.”
If Locker does get hurt, his replacement will be former Buffalo Bills starter Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Titans agreed to contract terms with Fitzpatrick on Monday, hours after they released Matt Hasselbeck. The deal has yet to be finalized, pending the results of a physical examination. Hasselbeck signed with the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday.
“Initially when Matt came to Tennessee he was going to be the starter and things have changed,” Webster said. “Jake Locker is our starter. We tried to work something out with Matt and weren’t able to do that. It was kind of a mutual (agreement) between the both of us that we would let him go. … We just felt like that was best for both parties, and we’re happy to get Ryan Fitzpatrick.
“… He’ll do a great job in that role as a backup to Jake Locker.”
The best thing, of course, would be if he does not have to play any games.