Tennessee Titans: Mike Munchak Made the Right Decision with Jake Locker

Chad MintonCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2012

Mike Munchak went 9-7 in his first season as Titans head coach
Mike Munchak went 9-7 in his first season as Titans head coachStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

Decisions in the preseason don't get much tougher than what head coach Mike Munchak was facing for the Tennessee Titans as the regular season is just a couple weeks away.

In what was going to happen sooner or later anyway, Munchak chose to go with Jake Locker over the veteran Matt Hasselbeck to start the season at quarterback against the New England Patriots.

Solid arguments can be made for both quarterbacks to be the starter, and Munchak made that clear on numerous occasions.

Munchak indicated that Locker earned the job and that it wasn't given to him, which should've been the case when dealing with an inexperienced quarterback.

It was also a great coaching move by not jumping ship on Locker due to just one below average preseason performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

What this decision had to come down to was how high the ceiling is for the Titans offense with Locker under center.

Locker makes this offense so much more dynamic thanks to his ability to stretch plays outside the pocket.

With an offensive line that is very much in question, you need a quarterback in there who can make things happen when plays break down.

There's absolutely no question that Locker does that better than Hasselbeck, who is at the back end of his career.

Hasselbeck may keep you in your comfort zone, but he limits this offense that has a ton of upside.

It could be conceived that it's a high-risk, high-reward situation by starting Locker so soon. After all, if Locker falls flat on his face then his confidence moving forward could be compromised.

However, as a head coach you cannot make decisions based on a fear of failing. You have to realize the talent that your organization drafted and use it to your advantage.

The fact is that Locker hasn't fallen flat on his face in any of the several opportunities that he's been given since being drafted eighth overall in 2011.

Locker didn't throw a single interception in the numerous situations that he was thrown into last season when coming in for Hasselbeck.

He also has looked crisp in practices more often than not.

Finally, Locker brought in the leadership qualities you need in a starting quarterback from the day he stepped onto the practice field fresh out of the University of Washington.

Sending Hasselbeck in would have only been delaying the inevitable. It makes more sense to give Locker the keys to the car and let him drive it as far as he can take it.

The sooner this decision was made, the faster the Titans can start building even more for the long haul.

When Hasselbeck was brought in just one season ago, he had to know this job wasn't his job permanently.

Hasselbeck now has the opportunity to put the icing on the cake to what was a very great NFL career by playing mentor.

These two guys have a great working relationship, and Hasselbeck will make Locker an even better quarterback as long as he doesn't pull a "Favre".

As long as Locker plays the way he played in limited action last season as a rookie with zero experience, then this decision by Munchak will be applauded as a smart move.