Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak confirmed on Wednesday what TitanInsider had reported on Tuesday – that quarterback Jake Locker will sit out this week against the Minnesota Vikings to rest his injured left shoulder.
Veteran Matt Hasselbeck (center) will fill in for an injured Jake Locker this week against Minnesota.
The Titans will start veteran Matt Hasselbeck, who finished up Sunday's 38-14 loss to the Houston Texans, and third-stringer Rusty Smith moves up to No. 2 at least for this week.
“We’re going to now say that we’re going to start Matt at quarterback this weekend, and we’re going to give Jake the week off,” Munchak said. “Jake’s sore, as sore today as he was yesterday. Even though he’ll probably get better the next couple of days, we don’t want to have him suit up as the backup.
“We thought if he couldn’t start, which we don’t feel he’ll be ready for that, we’d rather him not suit up and let him rest the next couple of days. Let Rusty be the backup this weekend, and then kind of take it from there.”
The Titans appear to be holding out some hope that Locker's shoulder could be healthy enough for him to play on a short week when the Titans host Pittsburgh on Oct. 11. Locker said it will be a matter of how quickly he can heal.
“It's how fast my body can respond to it. I'll do my best to get back as soon as I can. Coach Munchak said we'll just take it week to week,” Locker said.
Locker hurt the shoulder the first time in the season opener against New England, making a tackle following an interception. He missed the remainder of that game, but practiced and played the following week against the San Diego Chargers.
He won't have that opportunity this time as the injury appears to be much worse.
“It's not as comfortable as it was the first time,” Locker said I'm frustrated obviously. You never want to have to stand and watch, but it's a necessary evil I guess.”
Locker said his shoulder won't require surgery now, and when asked if he might have to have it following the season or if he got hurt again, he was diplomatic in his response.
“Those are things that I'll cross those bridges when they need to be crossed, and right now is not that time,” Locker said of the possibility of surgery. “I feel confident that I'll be able to come back and have 100 percent confidence in it and we'll go from there.”
Hasselbeck, who now moves back into the starting role, says he will have to play better this week than he did off the bench in Houston. He was 17 of 25 with two touchdown passes, but also had a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns.
“It's different but I still feel like I could have played better last week. Minus two plays, I could have had a really good day, but that's kind of how it is. It's like saying, I drove my car well all month, but I got into two accidents. You can't get in any. You can't turn the ball over,” he said.