Jake Locker's Availability Dependant on Ability to Grip Football


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt dispelled any sort of notion on Monday that the depth chart at quarterback could soon see an adjustment.

Whisenhunt was asked multiple times to address the team's quarterback situation and the Titans head coach didn't leave any gray area as to where all three QB's stand.

"Nothing's changed with our quarterbacks," said Whisenhunt. "We're working to get Jake healthy and it's our goal to get him there."

Whisenhunt told reporters that Locker threw Saturday but hadn't made enough progress with his injured thumb to play against the Jaguars. He wouldn't commit to whether or not the Titans would have their starting QB back at practice on Wednesday.

"We're going to see. We tried to get him back for Sunday and he just wasn't ready. It's going to be a progression of where it goes from there. It's getting better … It's really going to come down to when it's good enough that he can grip the ball and throw it and not have issues."

Charlie Whitehurst made his second start of the season Sunday and helped the Titans end a four-game losing streak. Whitehurst threw for a career-high 233 passing yards, completing 17-of-28 attempts.

On the season, Whitehurst has appeared in three games and thrown for 604 yards, three touchdowns and one interception with a completion percentage just north of 58. Whisenhunt spent the 2013 season with Whitehurst in San Diego and knew the veteran could capably fill in if Locker were injured.

"We brought Charlie in here with the idea that if he had to play he could do that," said Whisenhunt. "We knew his familiarity with the offense would help that and we feel like he's performed how he's supposed to in those roles."

Whisenhunt was asked if having gone back and forth between the two quarterbacks due to Locker's health has hurt the team – again, his response left no room for interpretation.

"I don't think it hurts it any more than having a different left tackle or a different linebacker or a different defensive back," he stated. "I know the quarterback is an important position, but that's the NFL -- you're going to have guys that have to step in and play."

Luck continues to be the word associated with Locker's health. Against the Browns, Locker stayed in the game after taking a vicious hit in the end zone, but was forced to leave after hitting his throwing hand on the helmet of a Browns defender. 

Whisenhunt said he doesn't look at Locker's body of work, only what's transpired since he's been head coach of the Titans.

"I can't judge Jake on what has happened before I got here, only what we've seen since we've been with him. I know he's worked hard to get back ready to play," Whisenhunt said. "It's just unfortunate. He banged his hand off a helmet in the pocket. Sometimes that happens. He's working to get back and that's the way he is. I respect that."

NOTES: Defensive lineman Ropati Pitoitua broke his finger early on against the Jaguars. Whisenhunt didn't specify when exactly the injury occurred, but said Pitoitua played a significant portion of the game with the injury. Pitoitua broke a finger on the same hand during the preseason and suffered the same injury in 2013.

Titans QB Jake Locker hosts his second annual Titans & T-Bones fundraiser to provide resources for children and families in need. (Photos: Joe Fann)

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