As the Tennessee Titans wind down the 2012 season, they are still in the process of fully evaluating Jake Locker.
However, getting an accurate evaluation of Locker and the offense is proving difficult to do given all the injuries the Titans have had not only on the offensive line, but now to key skill position players.
With the season-ending ankle injury to center Kevin Matthews, he becomes the fifth Titans offensive lineman to be lost for the season. Only Michael Roos is left among the starters who began season in training camp back in August.
What might be worse, however, is that Locker is also being deprived of being able to work with some of his receivers who have been lost to injury, not to mention the time Locker himself missed with a shoulder injury.
Two weeks ago, the Titans lost tight end Jared Cook to a season-ending shoulder injury. Receiver Damian Williams remains out with a hamstring problem, and now rookie first-round pick Kendall Wright, who leads the team with 62 receptions, looks to be on the shelf this week with a rib injury suffered Monday night against the New York Jets.
It makes for a little bit of adjusting with players Locker might not be that familiar with, such as little used receiver Lavelle Hawkins or recent practice squad call-up Michael Preston.
“You've got to do the best you can throughout the practice week to get the routes in the team periods, and maybe if you've got to grab them afterward to work on a few specific routes that are new that you didn't work on in camp or in are in the game plan, that kind of thing,” Locker said. “You've got to find ways to become comfortable with the guys that are in there.”
The Titans are working toward improving, and Coach Mike Munchak would like to see a balanced performance from Locker and the offense sometime before the 2012 season ends, if possible.
“I’d like to see the offense put a game (together). Going back to Detroit when he threw for 400 yards, I’d like to see it more balanced. I don’t want to see it where Jake has to throw for 300 yards. I’d like to see it like Miami. He threw it for 200, we ran it for 150. The pressure was never on one phase,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “The running game worked and the passing game was working. ... I’d like to see us play a game where we control the ball and put ourselves in makeable situations where we can get some good drives going throughout the game. We haven’t done that, and there’s no doubt.”