Former University of Washington star Jake Locker showed why the Tennessee Titans picked him as their starting quarterback.
Locker threw for 134 yards and two touchdowns in his home debut as Tennessee’s starting quarterback, and the Titans defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 32-27, on Thursday in Nashville, Tenn.
“He does things that people wouldn’t notice he was doing that most young quarterbacks wouldn’t even think of being able to handle,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “Most young quarterbacks are coming out, even some veterans, they’re more concerned about the coverage. He’s adjusted protections and then getting into coverage. He’s way ahead of the line of a lot of guys.”
While Locker looked solid for the Titans, the Cardinals will leave town still trying to figure out their own quarterback situation after neither John Skelton nor Kevin Kolb looked impressive.
Tennessee named Locker, the eighth overall draft pick in 2011, its starter for the regular season on Monday. He responded by throwing for 124 yards and both TDs in giving Tennessee a 17-10 halftime lead and finished 11 of 20 for 134 yards with a 109.2 passer rating.
Titans quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains said Locker did a nice job managing the huddle and the sideline.
“He knew exactly what the defense was doing and was able to communicate that to me and the receivers and tight ends,” Loggains said.
Locker got plenty of help from the Titans’ defense. End Kamerion Wimbley had two sacks, linebacker Colin McCarthy returned one of his two interceptions 31 yards for a TD, and the Titans forced five turnovers overall.
Skelton, who started at quarterback for Arizona, lasted until early in the second quarter and was 4 of 10 for 41 yards, with a 12.9 passer rating.
Kolb finished 17 of 22 for 156 yards with a TD but threw two interceptions — both by McCarthy.
Former Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who is now Locker’s backup, finished 1 of 4 for 10 yards.
Pro Bowl returner Marc Mariani of the Titans broke his left leg at the end of a punt return.
VAN BURN DIES AT 91
Steve Van Buren, the square-jawed Hall of Fame running back who led the Philadelphia Eagles to NFL titles in 1948 and 1949, died Thursday. He was 91.
The Eagles said Van Buren died in Lancaster, Pa., of pneumonia.
The former LSU star led the NFL in rushing four times and finished his eight-year career with 5,860 yards rushing and 77 TDs. He was the NFL’s career rushing leader when he retired.
The five-time All-Pro player was selected to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team in 1994 and was the first Eagles player elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers ran for 52 yards and two touchdowns as the Packers beat the Bengals, 27-13, in an exhibition game in Cincinnati. … Joe Flacco completed 27 of 36 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns for the Ravens before leaving early in the third quarter of a 48-17 exhibition win over the Jaguars. … Running back Clinton Portis, who last played in 2010 for the Redskins, formally announced his retirement. … Titans cornerback Jason McCourty signed a $43 million contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2017 season. … Former Seahawks offensive tackle Wayne Hunter has been benched by the Jets and replaced by Austin Howard as the team’s starting right tackle. … The Steelers fired special teams coordinator Al Everest and replaced him with former assistant special teams coach Amos Jones. … The Bears waived backup running back Kahlil Bell.