The Tennessee Titans were defeated by the Houston Texans in Week 4 of the 2012-13 NFL season on September 30, 2012. The Texans won 38-14. During the first quarter, Jake Locker was knocked out of the game after he re-aggravated an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. The injury occurred when Locker misread a blitz from Texans safety Glover Quin. Quin hit Locker at full speed. This caused Locker's shoulder to "Pop out."
The Titans have received his MRI results. Titans head coach Mike Munchak has reportedly claimed that Locker has no structural damage to his shoulder. The Titans will re-evaluate him on a day-to-day basis. They haven't ruled out the possibility that Locker could play against the Minnesota Vikings on October 7.
The Titans are very fortunate. Through the first four weeks, Locker has injured his non-throwing shoulder twice. Locker originally injured that shoulder when he made a tackle on an interception return against the New England Patriots on September 9. The frustrating part about this play was that it should've never happened. The replacement officials never blew their whistle on an incomplete pass.
Locker hasn't been ruled out for Week 5. However, common sense would suggest that he doesn't play in this game. If Locker plays in Week 5, then they'd also expect him to play in a Week 6 contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is a difficult stretch against two physical defenses. What makes it so difficult is that Week 6 is a Thursday Night Football game. Locker won't have much time to recover from anything that happens in Week 5.
I'm worried about the game with the Steelers. Not as much about victory as with Locker's health. The Steelers are known for confusing young quarterbacks with their exotic blitzes in their 3-4 defense. If Locker is getting fooled on safety blitzes by Glover Quin, then what happens when he faces one of the NFL's best blitzing safeties, Troy Polamalu? Polamalu is the type of player who will target that shoulder. James Harrison is another player who is known for trying to "Hurt" (not injure) players. Both players are currently recovering from injuries.
The Titans are playing with fire. After two shoulder injuries, the Titans must make certain that Locker is healthy. The "I only surrendered two sacks and played well the rest of the game" mentality won't fly. Locker is at risk because of his tendency to misread blitzes and an inconsistent offensive line.
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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