UFR: Jake Locker’s play against the Buccaneers

I’m not going to do a full recap of the Titans’ game against the Buccaneers, since I don’t really care about the normal recap-type things. Instead, I’ll launch straight into what should be the first of three posts of analysis.

The biggest thing to come out of Friday’s preseason game was Jake Locker’s first start, so I thought it was worth writing about every passing play the Titans had while he was in the game in some detail. The statline was pretty ugly: 11 attempts, 4 completions, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception, plus two scrambles for 24 yards. No sacks, as the Bucs only had one on the night.

After the jump, the PBP breakdown of Locker’s throws, plus some conclusion-type things.

(1Q-7:42) 1-10-TEN 9 (Shotgun) J.Locker pass short right to C.Stevens to TEN 12 for 3 yards (M.Foster).
Empty-base personnel. Shallow out to Stevens, thrown a bit ahead. Stevens credited with a catch, but I don’t think he really caught it. 3 yards, 0 YAC.

(1Q-6:28) 3-9-TEN 10 (Shotgun) J.Locker pass deep middle INTERCEPTED by A.Black at TEN 31. A.Black pushed ob at TEN 2 for 29 yards (D.Stewart).
Empty-11 personnel. No idea what was going on downfield, but Bucs rush 3 and drop 8 and Locker doesn’t see anything to throw to. Scramble drill, and he tries a jump pass across his body, probably for Kendall Wright, but the ball is badly off target. Easy interception. Wright is about 17 yards downfield, the interceptor 21.

(1Q-5:18) 1-10-TEN 29 J.Locker pass incomplete short right to K.Wright (A.Talib). 
12 personnel. Slant to Wright. On target, but Talib makes a good play to come from behind and break up the pass. 7 yards downfield.

(1Q-4:35) 3-5-TEN 34 (Shotgun) J.Locker pass incomplete short left to J.Cook (M.Barron).
11 personnel. Bucs bring a blitz on 3&5 and Locker gets the ball out quickly for Cook on a curl or quick out. Ball goes off Cook’s hands. A very drop-like pass, but I wonder after last week if this wasn’t another fastball. 6 yards downfield.

(1Q-2:56) 1-10-TEN 29 J.Locker pass short middle to C.Stevens to TEN 40 for 11 yards (E.Wright).
12 personnel. Bootleg. Nice pass to Stevens on the drag route. 10 yards downfield, 1 YAC.

(1Q-2:20) 1-10-TEN 29 (Shotgun) J.Locker pass incomplete short left to J.Ringer. PENALTY on TB, Personal Foul, 15 yards, enforced at TEN 40 – No Play. X2
Empty-11 personnel. Titans run a switch to the left side with Wright coming inside and Ringer going outside. Locker’s pass for Ringer is too far downfield and gets him annihilated by a defensive back on an illegal hit. Ringer 9 yards downfield, ball 12.

(1Q-1:40) 1-10-TB 35 J.Locker scrambles to TB 14 for 21 yards (E.Wright).
12 personnel (Cook in slot). Bucs bring an extra rusher, and while the Titans’ 5 pick him up, Locker eschews the dumpoff to CJ and takes off. CJ’s block on the linebacker covering him is ineffective, but Locker is fast enough to get to the corner anyway and picks up 21 on the play. Pass coverage, receivers, etc. were unable to identify on the 2 yards downfield the Bucs telecast showed before Locker took off. Scramble.

(2Q-13:53) 1-10-50 J.Locker pass incomplete short left to C.Mooney (R.Miller).
21 personnel (Stevens in slot). Play-action. LDE Bennett gets some push. Stewart knocks him down by Locker’s feet, and Locker is clearly affected by his mere presence, going off balance and throwing a highly inaccurate pass that appears to hit a DT in the shoulder pads. The way Locker looks on this play, you’d think he got hit in motion, but I’ve watched the play about eight times and don’t see the hit until after the ball is released. Intended receiver listed as Mooney, no clue if that’s accurate. Tipped at line.

(2Q-13:07) 3-9-TB 49 (Shotgun) J.Locker pass incomplete short right to J.Cook (A.Gaitor).
11 personnel. Titans appeared to be setting up a screen, but the Bucs brought a blitz. Due to setting up the screen, Harris released his man. With the unblocked man coming, Locker has to get the ball out quickly and throws for Cook on the short out. Washington’s been jammed at the line, though, and is in Cook’s way. Ugly play, but not really on Locker in my eyes. 5 yards downfield.

(2Q-9:09) 2-15-TB 15 (Shotgun) J.Locker pass short left to K.Wright to TB 6 for 9 yards (M.Lewis).
11 personnel. Slant or quick in to Wright (he disappears off screen, couldn’t see cut), completed against off coverage. 9 yards downfield, 0 YAC.

(2Q-8:32) 3-6-TB 6 (Shotgun) J.Locker pass incomplete short right to J.Cook.
11 personnel. Cook runs a deep out in the back of the end zone. There’s a place for the ball to go, but Locker airmails the throw. Potentially a throw away, but I didn’t think so. 15 yards downfield (9 deep in end zone).

(2Q-7:30) 1-10-TB 14 J.Locker pass incomplete short left to K.Wright (M.Lewis).
21 personnel (Stevens in slot). Play-action. Throw is for Wright on the post, but the safety easily reads Locker’s eyes and bats the ball away. Good thing for the Titans he does, as the corner probably has an easy interception if he doesn’t. Had the DBs not been there, the ball would have been on target, but that’s a big thing to hand-wave away. 14 yards downfield (5 deep in end zone).

(2Q-5:24) 1-10-TB 25 J.Locker pass short middle to D.Reynaud to TB 27 for -2 yards (D.Te’o-Nesheim).
21 personnel. Backups in the game now, as CJ, Roos, Hutchinson, Stewart, and Washington are done for the night. Play-action and a screen to Reynaud, which gets blown up thanks to the blocking. Reasonable throw by Locker. Screen, -2 yards downfield, 0 YAC.

(2Q-3:55) 3-8-TB 23 (Shotgun) J.Locker pass short middle to J.Cook to TB 14 for 9 yards (K.Tandy).
11 personnel. Locker escapes from the pocket, out of choice rather than by necessity, and rolls right, throwing for Cook. The ball is behind Cook, but he reaches out and makes the catch. Successful play, but not a particularly good one by Locker. Play negated by penalty, holding on RT Stingily after he gets beat on an inside spin move. 9 yards downfield, 0 YAC.

(2Q-3:35) 3-18-TB 33 (Shotgun) J.Locker scrambles up the middle pushed ob at TB 30 for 3 yards (A.Gaitor).
11 personnel. Third and long, and it looks like the Titans are running some form of 4 verticals (no way to be sure thanks to the Bucs broadcast). The Titans line never sets up a comfortable pocket against the rush. Locker is quick to take off and gets run out of bounds by a defensive back after 3 yards. Scramble.

Conclusions
The play-by-play look supports the statline that Locker did not have a very positive game Friday. One standout as I watched the plays was the lack of opportunities for YAC, which I put mostly on Locker.

The most disconcerting thing, though, was the sheer number of cover-your-eyes awful plays, of which I count four: (1) the interception across his body, (2) the overthrown pass where he gets Ringer killed, (3) the off-balance throw that hits a defensive lineman in the shoulder pads, and (4) the post for Wright that could have been picked off by a couple guys. On 13 throws, including two negated by penalty, that’s at least three too many.

For those of us who entering into this game thought that the Titans would more likely be better served starting Hasselbeck and then switching to Locker at a convenient time, this performance only makes that sound like an even better idea. Because if Locker plays at the level he did this game in the regular season, the Titans could easily be looking at a 1-5 or 0-6 start. 

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