NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak says he saw some good things from Jake Locker in Saturday night’s 27-17 preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
The question is whether his coaching staff saw enough from Locker to allow him to dethrone Matt Hasselbeck as the starting quarterback.
Locker, the former university of Washington star, went 7-for-13 for 80 yards and directed the Titans to a field goal, their only points of the first half, just before halftime.
Hasselbeck, the former Seahawk, completed 5-of-9 for 45 yards in playing the first three possessions. But the veteran quarterback was victimized by a pair of interceptions — one on his first throw and another on his final one.
The first came when the ball went through the hands of a diving Nate Washington, bounced into the air and was eventually returned 23 yards for a touchdown by Seattle’s Brandon Browner.
“We need to be sharper, the first play of the game you never want to start with an incompletion, never mind a turnover, never mind a turnover for a touchdown,” Hasselbeck said. “It was one of those things where I saw it happening like it was in slow motion and I was just like, ‘No.’ But yeah it happened and it was disappointing.”
Munchak and the offensive staff will take time to evaluate the Seattle loss, and will want to see more before deciding which man is his starter for the regular season.
“I want to name a starter as soon as we’re ready to name him. We’re not looking at the calendar. There’s obviously deadlines and one has to be named by a certain time,” Munchak said. “The sooner we make it the better as we go through the process. We’re not really giving ourselves a deadline. I’m not looking at it that way. We’re just kind of moving forward like we have been.”
Munchak would not declare on Sunday whether he would rotate and start Locker on Friday night against Tampa Bay. Locker said the decision who is the starter is not within his control, except for how he does when he is on the field.
“It’s not for me to decide for both Matt and I,” Locker said. “It’s up to us to go out and play as well as we can and put our team in the best situation to win games. And at the end of the day I don’t get to make that decision, so I am probably the wrong guy to ask. I just try to prepare, hopefully get better, and give myself an opportunity.”
Munchak declined to say if Locker, last year’s first-round pick, had closed the gap on Hasselbeck, who has been in the league since 1998.
“If they’re competing, there isn’t a big gap,” Munchak said. “Going in, they’re close enough to where they’re competing. If I pick another position, and there’s a position where the backup obviously can’t beat the guy out, then there’s a big gap. They’re competing because they’re close enough that we feel we can win with both of them.”