The quarterback battle is on with the Tennessee Titans, although it appears to be friendly fire with Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker.
Coach Mike Munchak said Friday that the two would likely split the practice reps evenly and that he wants both of them to get used to different centers, receivers and other personnel as they fight for the job.
“(There's) really not a big plan, just more or less getting them working with different guys, having Matt all this week with the first-group offensive line that’s playing,” Munchak said. “The hard part is now we’re moving guys around so much. Maybe until camp, it’s not necessarily set teams as who’s first—not just quarterback, but the receivers are playing with all the quarterbacks, and the running backs are. I think this week we’ll just kind of rotate.
“Our thinking now is just make sure that they’re both getting work with our different centers. Eugene (Amano) should be out next week practicing, and so that will get him out there. Kevin Matthews has taken all the reps this week. That’s the important thing, that we see them working with the different groups. We’ll just start rotating even more so next week and then the third week.”
Munchak said he hopes to ideally decide who the starting quarterback will be by the third preseason game when the Titans will do their “dress rehearsal” for the regular season.
“The quarterback is the one position everyone’s going to be honing in on because it’s the most important position on a team, but we would like that for all positions,” Munchak said. “You’re hoping that decisions are made as quickly as they can be. You’re doing what’s best for the team. So when you go into that third game, you would like to have a good feel for what your plan is.”
Munchak honestly believes he is in a win-win situation no matter if Hasselbeck starts for a second straight year as Locker's mentor or if last year's first-round pick proves himself ready to be an NFL starting quarterback.
“I feel so good about both of them that I’m not necessarily leaning either way on it. Either way for me, I’m going to have a very good quarterback playing,” Munchak said. “Either way, it’s going to be a good situation for the team. It’s a tough situation to be in when you draft a quarterback in the first round. You know that. If you just don’t hand him the job when he walks in the door, then you’re going to have some issues at some point, some tough decisions to make. We realize that. It’s a good problem to have, but it’s a tough one, too.”