For the Tennessee Titans, so much of their 2013 season hinges on starting quarterback Jake Locker. Outside of Locker, the Titans are an average team that might be able to compete for a wildcard spot in a wide open AFC, but for that to happen, they’re going to need their young quarterback to have a breakout season and play like a former top-10 draft pick. Knowing that they need Locker to elevate his game, the Titans spent their offseason trying to surround him with as much help as possible, doing their best to set Locker up for success in 2013, which means if he fails, Locker will have no one to blame but himself.
Upgrading their offensive line was the first thing the Titans did to help Locker this offseason. Tennessee used two picks in the first four rounds of the draft to add offensive linemen, including 10th overall pick Chance Warmack, who will be an instant upgrade at offensive guard, while fourth round pick Brian Schwenke could step in as the starting center as a rookie. In free agency, the Titans added Andy Levitre, Barry Richardson, Chris Spencer, and Robert Turner, all of who are veterans with starting experience in the NFL. Locker has struggled with his accuracy in his first two seasons, especially when under pressure, and an improved offensive line should help him a great deal this season.
Tennessee also did what they could to improve the skill players around Locker. The Titans drafted wide receiver Justin Hunter in the second round, completing what should be a formidable corps of receivers along with Kenny Britt and Kendall Wright. If Britt can avoid injury, he’s capable of doing big things; Wright should do even better in his second NFL season than the 64 catches and four touchdowns he had in his rookie year; and while Hunter is young, he’s loaded with talent. Although the trio is largely unproven, much like Locker, they have a world of talent and promise, also like Locker. The Titans also added free agent tight end Delanie Walker, who should be more of a downfield threat than Jared Cook, who he replaces in the Titan’s starting lineup. Walker should also be more productive than the 21 receptions he had last season now that he’ll be a starter.
With a much-improved offensive line and a talented group of receivers to throw to, the Titans have done a lot of help Locker, and now the rest is up to him. The NFL is geared more towards athletic quarterbacks these days, which plays to Locker’s advantage, but he still needs to prove he can move the ball down the field with his arm. His accuracy, his decision-making, and his turnover rate all need to improve. Locker has the talent and enough experience under his belt to become a viable starting quarterback in 2013. The Titans have done all that they can to put the pieces around him that Locker needs to succeed, and now it’s on him to go on the field and do it.