The Tennessean's David Climer doesn't think the Titans want quarterback Jake Locker to stop using the athleticism that got him to the NFL. They would just like to see him rein it in.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt's biggest job with Locker during the spring was molding the University of Washington product to his offense, which most notably means, according to Climer, making sure that a the majority of Locker's throws come from inside the pocket. So far, Whisenhunt thinks Locker has done well in grasping the new concepts.
"[Locker] has done a great job as far as studying the offense and understanding his reads," Whisenhunt told Climer. "He's really done a good job with a lot of little things — his footwork, his techniques."
Locker isn't going to turn into a statue; the team wants to see him keep his eyes down the field more often instead of abandoning the pocket and leaning entirely on his legs at the first sign of trouble. This can have positive and negative effects on Locker's fantasy value.
The positive is that it will lower the odds that Locker will get injured, a big deal for a quarterback who has missed 16 games over the past two seasons. The negative is that it will probably mean fewer rushing attempts and yards, which have been basically the only upside to owning Locker in fantasy the past three seasons.
But even if he is a quick study in Whisenhunt's offense, a bevy of questions surround Locker this season:
Can he ever stay healthy? He was in the pocket two years ago when the Texans' Glover Quin leveled him and separated his left shoulder.
Will his mobility be compromised at all after last season's Lisfranc injury? Will he ever be a consistently good passer at this level? Will his game suffer from a lack of continuity now that he is working with his third OC in four years? Who will step up behind Kendall Wright to be that second go-to receiver that the quarterback and team desperately need?
Locker is entering a make-or-break season. He is not under contract past 2014, and many believe that Locker will be out of Tennessee unless he makes serious improvement this season. That may be asking for too much. He is a low-end QB2.