Jake Locker Has Shoulder Surgery and Other AFC South Must-Reads

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistJanuary 10, 2013

HOUSTON, TX- SEPTEMBER 30: Jake Locker #10 of the Tennessee Titans lies on the field in pain after injuring his left shoulder when Glover Quin #29 of the Houston Texans sacked him on September 30, 2012 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

Jake Locker went down in the first game of the year with a dislocated shoulder, and the injury plagued him all season. After a season's worth of pain, he's finally getting it repaired.

Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reports that Locker had a procedure to fix his left (non-throwing) shoulder. Locker should be ready for training camp, though not necessarily mini camp.

The most troubling detail is that there's really no guarantee the issue won't resurface if Locker takes a big hit in the wrong way.

Nothing changes the trajectory of a player's career as much as injuries. Already, the injury prohibited Locker's growth and cost him valuable playing time.

With young quarterbacks blossoming all around the NFL, Locker's progress has been frustrating. Part of his unquestionable value to the Titans comes from his ability to make plays with his feet, and if that has been permanently compromised, it's fair to wonder if Locker will ever reach the lofty potential the team envisioned when they drafted him.

Both Locker and Mike Munchak are on the clock already in Nashville. Coaching and/or regime changes in the NFL typically mean personnel and quarterback changes.

The Titans need Locker to bounce back in a big way in 2013, or they may be forced to begin looking around for other solutions at quarterback.


General Interest

Khaled Elsayed of Pro Football Focus names his all AFC South team.

Chris Brown of Grantland writes a pristine piece on Peyton Manning's offense in Denver. This is a must read.

Chase Stuart of Football Perspective says Matt Ryan is similar to other quarterbacks who didn't win the playoffs until later in life.

Scott Kacsmar of Bleacher Report has his Thinking Man's Guide to the playoffs.


Houston Texans

Mike Tanier of Sports on Earth goes into detail about the amazing year J.J. Watt has had.

Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com reports that Duane Brown knows the Texans have to give their best.

Stephanie Stradely of the Houston Chronicle examines how the Texans might beat the Patriots.


Indianapolis Colts

Kacmsar, writing for Colts Authority, finishes his season of tracking Andrew Luck.

Ben Savage of Colts Authority breaks down needs on defense.

Phil B. Wilson of the Indianapolis Star talks about what he'll remember from 2012.


Tennessee Titans

Michael A. Lombardo of Music City Miracles runs down potential safeties the Titans could go after.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union says David Caldwell has to evaluate the coaching staff.

Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union says the quarterback position will define Caldwell's tenure.