JOE BIDDLE: Hasselbeck should stay QB if he wins

JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: July 7, 2013 (Image 1)

Jeff Fisher was at his best when the Titans faced a firing squad.

When the season hit its lowest point, Fisher would calmly go about his business. It was his demeanor to stay above the fray while fans and media were preaching gloom and doom.

Mike Munchak witnessed Fisher's every move as a head coach. He had to pick up on Fisher's approach, which prevented the players from panicking.

So when the Titans were facing old nemesis Pittsburgh and in danger of slipping to 1-5, Munchak remained calm, going about his preparation like he does every week.

The Titans responded with a come from behind win over the Steelers, leaving the Titans at 2-4 and alive with hope for the future.

Now the Titans shuffle off to Buffalo to meet the 3-3 Bills on what promises to be a showdown for survival.

Munchak will stick with veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, while second-year pro Jake Locker allows his shoulder injury to heal in hopes of avoiding surgery.

I have always thought the Titans should have started the season with Hasselbeck and wait until the playoffs were out of reach to insert Locker for the remainder of the season.

There is no doubt the Titans drafted Locker in the first round to make him their quarterback of the future.

While the Carolina Panthers went with a rookie quarterback in Cam Newton from the first game last year, the Titans chose to work with Locker in hopes of avoiding some of the troubles that Newton and all rookie quarterbacks face.

There is nothing worse than having to build up a rookie's shattered confidence when the game becomes too confusing for them.

Munchak is sticking with his decision to play Locker when he is fully healed from his injury. But if Hasselbeck gets the Titans on a roll in Buffalo, why mess with success?

Earlier this week Munchak proclaimed that Hasselbeck's performance against the Steelers has no effect on when he brings Locker back.

That could prove to be short-sighted, but Munchak is adamant that Locker is the face of this team.

“If (Locker) is ready to play, I would think we'd play him. … We'd have to wait and see, but our intention would be just like last time. He was healthy; we thought he was ready to run the team and he did,'' Munchak said.

“If he's healthy enough to suit up, it would mean he's healthy enough to play.''

When you look at comparisons to this date, Locker has the edge. Each quarterback won one game.

Hasselbeck and Locker each have four touchdown passes. Hasselbeck has completed 60.2 percent of his passes; Locker's percentage is 63.2 percent. Hasselbeck has been intercepted four times, Locker twice. Hasselbeck's quarterback rating is 74.1. Locker's is 90.2

You can make statistics say anything you want, but the ability to make game winning drives in crunch time is the statistic I prefer.

Both quarterbacks are capable of doing that, but the years of NFL experience Hasselbeck brings to the table is invaluable.

If Hasselbeck gets the offense in rhythm in Buffalo and leads the Titans to a win, I would allow him to continue in the starting role as long as the Titans win and remain in the hunt for a playoff appearance.

Locker is rightfully the future and has the tools to have a bright future. But if he takes another blow on his non-throwing shoulder, it would require surgery, and that would mean bringing Hasselbeck back on the field.

The worst thing you can do to a team is yo-yoing your quarterbacks. They are the leaders of your team and the focal point of your offense.

The Titans are fortunate they have two highly capable quarterbacks. It makes Munchak's job even more difficult, as he has to make tough decisions as to which quarterback is the right person at the right time.

It's a good problem to have, and Titans fans and players are looking to Munchak for the answers.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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