Tennessee coach Mike Munchak said quarterback Jake Locker will start against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, barring any setbacks.
Locker, a former star at the University of Washington, worked with the Titans’ starters on Wednesday, and Munchak said the team will see how Locker responds. Backup Matt Hasselbeck also took snaps during practice.
“If we think he’s ready to go, he’ll play,” Munchak said of Locker. “I mean, we’ll see how he feels after (Wednesday) and how he does (today) in third-down stuff and just get a feel for just kind of the whole dynamic there. And then if he’s ready, we’ll give him a chance to start.”
Locker has missed five straight games after injuring his left, non-throwing shoulder Sept. 30 against Houston. The second-year quarterback returned to practice Oct. 17 on a limited basis and built up to working with the scout team. Munchak said Locker will have to be honest with coaches on how he feels if the quarterback feels limited in any way.
The Titans (3-6) have their bye after Sunday’s game with Miami (4-4), but the coach sees no reason to wait, with doctors saying Locker has healed as much as possible right now.
“We all know there’s going to be rust on a guy. If he waits two more weeks, he’s going to be even rustier,” Munchak said. “The advantage of waiting, there’s really not an advantage to wait till after the bye because it would be a longer period of time since he’s actually played in a game. Physically, we’ve been told he’s fine to play.”
Locker started the first four games, going 67-for-106 passing for 781 yards, with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Locker said he feels good after Munchak allowed him to work his way back over the past couple weeks, though he knows some things can’t be simulated in practice.
“Physically, I was able to keep myself in shape, and I was able to throw for most of it,” Locker said. “Just kind of making sure that you’re in the mental grind of it. … I prepared as if I was playing and tried to help Matt any way I could.”
Hasselbeck said he will appeal a $15,750 fine for a horse collar tackle after a turnover in Tennessee’s 51-20 loss to Chicago on Sunday.
The former Seattle quarterback dragged down Bears cornerback Kelvin Hayden by the back of the jersey at the Tennessee 4 following a fumble by tight end Jared Cook early in the fourth quarter.
“The guy who got tackled probably didn’t even notice,” Hasselbeck said. “There was nothing violent about the hit.”
The promising rookie season of Packers first-round pick Nick Perry is over after the linebacker was placed on injured reserve because of a wrist injury. Perry, drafted out of USC with the 28th pick, played in six games and made five starts. He had two sacks and 29 tackles. The Packers also activated tight end Andrew Quarless from the physical unable to perform list. … Eagles right tackle Todd Herremans was placed on injured reserve, becoming the fourth starting offensive lineman lost this season by Philadelphia. Herremans suffered a dislocated bone and ligament damage in his right foot during Monday’s loss to the Saints. … Cornerback Richard Marshall was placed on injured reserve by the Dolphins, who claimed cornerback Brandon McDonald off waivers from the Buccaneers. … The Colts will be without injured tight end Coby Fleener (shoulder) and cornerbacks Vontae Davis (knee) and Jerraud Powers (toe) today against the Jaguars. … Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck joined the nearly three dozen Colts players who have shaved their heads in a show of support for coach Chuck Pagano, who is undergoing treatment for a form of leukemia. …
Bears cornerback Charles Tillman might miss the game against the Texans because of the pending birth of his daughter. … The Dolphins and owner Stephen Ross will donate $500,000 to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. … The Packers’ game at the Giants will remain on Sunday night Nov. 25, the first day when the league could move a more appealing matchup into prime time if need be. … The NFL said that after investigating the Chargers’ use of towels that included an adhesive substance, it was determined that San Diego did not violate any rules. The team was fined $20,000, however, for failing to immediately surrender the towels when ordered to do so by a game official.