Titans get back starting QB Jake Locker for Sunday’s game
The 25-year-old Locker, who sprained both his hip and right knee in the 38-13 win over the New York Jets three weeks ago, missed the Titans’ last two games. Initial reports had projected a timetable of 4-to-6 weeks for Locker’s return, and the Titans were widely expected to place him on the injured reserve, with a designation to return. That would have put him out of action for at least eight weeks. Instead, Locker will likely miss only two games, if he is able to return against the 49ers.
Even though the Titans officially listed Locker as questionable in their final injury report this week, the coaches were encouraged by his progress this week which seems enough to warrant a start against the 49ers on Sunday, barring any setbacks. Locker took part in all three practices this week, albeit on a limited basis. Although Titans beat reporters said Locker had “a noticeable limp” during Friday’s practice open to media, Titans coach Mike Munchak still believed he moved well and threw well on the field that day.
“I wouldn’t think last week at this time we’d be talking about this,” Munchak said after Friday’s practice. “I’ve learned how he is. He kept saying, ‘I’m going to be in the conversation for San Francisco,’ and we thought, ‘Yeah, it would be great if you were.’ ”
Prior to suffering the injuries, Locker was outstanding in starting the first four games of the season while leading the Tennessee Titans to a 3-1 record. He completed 62.2 percent of his passes for 721 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions over the first few weeks before being replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, with Fitzpatrick under center, the Titans went 0-2 as he threw four interceptions (and two touchdowns) while completing just 52 percent of his passes over the past two games.
Fitzpatrick’s struggles seemingly only accelerated the Titans’ interest in getting Locker back on the field to boost their offense, entering Sunday’s game against a strong 49ers’ defense.
While it might be too soon to declare Locker back to 100 percent, the third-year pro has made it clear that he wants to play now. However, it will be interesting to see if Locker can pick up from where he left off this season, after it started out as potentially the best year of his career.
“I want to be accountable to these guys and want them to know that I care about them and being a part of this team means something to me,” Locker said earlier this week. “Doing everything I could day in and day out to get myself back out there was important for me.”