He is still a work in progress, the the accuracy issues that were supposed to have followed Jake Locker from the University of Washington have largely dissipated in the heat of his first training camp with the Tennessee Titans.
Locker came out in his first preseason game last week against the Minnesota Vikings and hit on 7 of 10 passes overall for 89 yards and a touchdown in the 14-3 victory, engineering both Titans touchdown drives in the game.
“We work on it every day, but he was 70 percent in the game. If I can sign up for 70 percent every game, I'll take it right now,” said offensive coordinator Chris Palmer, who has been overseeing and reminding Locker in practice regarding his footwork.
“It's something Coach Palmer is constantly reminding me about and helping me with, and it's something that we'll continue to do every day that we're out here,” Locker said.
In terms of that, head coach Mike Munchak said Locker's accuracy improvement is also a product of his becoming more well versed in the offense and knowing where to go with the football.
“I think it's a combination of stuff. He's only been three weeks with Chris and with Dowell (Loggains),” Munchak said. “I think that's coming along and I think it's allowed the other things that we're asking him to do, the fact that he knows where the ball is supposed to go, the concepts, and we're not overloading him with things, so the thinking is not too extreme at this point. So I think all those things are helping him.”
Receiver Damian Williams was one of the first teammate Locker got to know as he lived with him during his brief visit to the Father Ryan workouts during the lockouts. Williams has noticed an improvement in the rookie quarterback as well.
“It's definitely gotten better. I think Coach Palmer has done a great job with him. The first thing is just knowing the reads. He's a very intelligent guy and I think he's picking up our offense very well,” Williams said. “And when you can anticipate what the defense is going to do, that always helps with your accuracy as well. I think he's doing a great job with that.”
Williams also said that some of Locker's critics did not go beyond the raw numbers of his 53.9 career completion percentage at Washington. There were passes thrown away to avoid a sack and catchable balls that were dropped by receivers as well.
“I know from playing against him at the University of Washington, they had a lot of dropped balls as well, and that doesn't always help your completion percentage,” Williams said. “But I think some of it may have been legit, but they usually question every quarterback coming out of college's accuracy, which is one reason I'm glad I never played it. I think some of it was overhyped.”
Nonetheless, Locker will get a bigger test this week from the St. Louis Rams, who are expected to toss a few more blitzes at the Titans than did the Vikings last week.
“It's going to be a little more pressure than we saw last week. We've just got to go in and prepared for that and be ready for it and have answers when they do. There's always room for improvement,” Locker said.