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Ask Mike: How Will Jake Locker's Injury Affect Titans

Posted Oct 3, 2013

Michael in Murfreesboro: “With Jake Locker’s injury, do you think Jake will return with the same momentum he had these past two games or do you think it will be a slow start? Also, with (Ryan) Fitzpatrick stepping in for Locker, what do you think will be the biggest adjustment for the offense?”

Jake Locker is expected to miss "a few weeks" with hip and knee sprains, but the Titans believe Ryan Fitzpatrick will fill the void.

MIKE KEITH: Making sure that Locker returns with the ability to continue that momentum is key. That means making sure that he returns as healthy as possible. Jake is probably already lobbying to play in Seattle; he will begin lobbying to play the first minute that his soreness subsides. That’s Jake. The Titans will make certain that he can physically play like he did against San Diego and New York in order to give him the best chance to continue his momentum. What he did against San Diego and what he was doing against the Jets was impressive.

The biggest adjustment for the offense with Ryan Fitzpatrick will be giving him the concepts, formations and the plays that he likes. Just like every person is different, every quarterback is different. The good news is that Ryan will tell offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains exactly what he likes; Ryan is experienced enough to know how important that his preferences are. Sometimes, younger quarterbacks have a hard time with that, but a veteran like Fitzpatrick will have no problem getting across what is important to make him feel comfortable.

Harley in Cookeville: “Will (Jake) Locker's injury affect the Titans’ playoff goals much?”

MIKE KEITH: Not at all. General Manager Ruston Webster’s concept of building this roster is that teams, not individual players, win games. Ruston tried to improve depth at every spot for this very reason. The Titans believe that they have a good overall team and that they can still compete for a playoff spot. The mindset does not change.

Rick in Paducah, Ky.: “Is anyone giving any thought to the possibility of acquiring Josh Freeman from Tampa as a backup to Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick)?”

MIKE KEITH: Rick, since we assume that Locker will be back by next month, this wouldn’t make much sense. The Titans have confidence in Ryan Fitzpatrick and Rusty Smith to handle things until Jake returns.

Plus, the Titans already don’t have a third-round pick in next May’s draft (May 8-10). You also would not think that the Titans will be receiving any compensatory picks after all of their free agent acquisitions this past off-season. It would be a surprise if Ruston Webster gave up another draft pick, unless it was conditional or for 2015.

The trade deadline is Oct. 29 at 3 p.m. (CT).

Joey in San Antonio: “Who decides which uniform combination (pants, jersey) the Titans wear every week?”

MIKE KEITH: In most cases, the head coach makes the uniform decisions in the off-season and submits them to the league in the spring or early summer. In some cases, the team has some special dates to wear alternate uniform combinations. In those instances, the head coach will work with the team’s ownership and/or front office to select those dates. For example, the Titans will wear their navy blue jerseys against San Francisco (Oct. 20) and Jacksonville (Nov. 10).

Dan in Nashville: “Why is Moise Fokou still the starter (at middle linebacker) where he has only made mistakes, as far as I can see? Colin McCarthy is very talented and way better so right now he is being wasted by being on special teams. The one time McCarthy got in, he stopped a run on 3 and 1. He's the man for the job so why isn't he being starter?”

MIKE KEITH: Dan, it is hard to argue with Fokou right now. He’s posted 20 tackles in the last two games and continues to play well. Moise won the job while McCarthy was banged up and right now he has the hot hand. I believe that it has more to do with Fokou and less to do with McCarthy. On the flip side, McCarthy is healthy and did a nice job when he stepped in against the Chargers. He had four special teams tackles last week. It’s a long season and the Titans have confidence in both players. I would not even be surprised if you see them both on the field together at some point, as both Fokou and McCarthy are versatile enough to play multiple linebacker spots.

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