Jake Locker's Protection Is a Priority and Other AFC South Must-Reads

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistFebruary 22, 2013

As long as he breaks contain, Locker is at risk for injury.
As long as he breaks contain, Locker is at risk for injury.Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Everyone knows that Blaine Gabbert is on the bubble in Jacksonville, but the Titans need a big jump forward from Jake Locker as well.

Today's article of the day comes from Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. He says that Ruston Webster knows the team has to help Locker with better protection.

While Locker's first big injury of 2012 came as a result of his own efforts to make a tackle, the offensive line didn't do him many favors either.

Locker's scrambling ability and big arm have led him to hang too long in the pocket and exposed him to huge shots. He missed five games with a separated shoulder in 2012. Those came after he re-injured the shoulder on a clean hit in the pocket as his line failed to pick up a blitzer.

Protecting the quarterback is the primary function of the offensive line, but no matter how much the Titans upgrade, the onus is equally on Locker to protect himself.

Webster seemed content with Locker's restraint later in the season, but not making a tackle after a turnover is only part of the battle.

Until Locker gets his rhythm and timing down and gets rid of the ball quicker, he'll continue to take too many sacks, no matter how much his line improves.

If Locker is to take that leap forward in Year 3, staying healthy will be a big reason why.


General Interest

Chase Stuart of Football Perspective compares how rookie quarterbacks helped or hurt their team's offense.


Houston Texans

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle says re-signing Connor Barwin and Glover Quin is a priority.


Indianapolis Colts

Dan Dakich of 1070 the Fan interviewed Bill Polian. This is an absolute must-listen.

Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star says the combine isn't what it used to be.

Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com says Ryan Grigson likes young corners more than linemen.

Kuharsky thinks Dwight Freeney shouldn't have been shocked that he didn't get an offer from the Colts.

Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star notes that Grigson doesn't sweat like he used to.


Tennessee Titans

Kuharsky thinks the Titans will strike early in free agency.

Tom Gower of Total Titans looks at outside linebackers.

Wyatt of the Tennessean say the Titans want another running back to help Chris Johnson.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union says Derek Cox won't get franchised.

O'Halloran has comments from Dave Caldwell from the combine.