Titans QB Locker out for season with injured foot
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Titans quarterback Jake Locker will miss the rest of the season with a Lisfranc injury to his right foot, leaving Tennessee trying to rally with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
A discussion on their banged-up quarterback’s future with the Titans will have to wait until the offseason.
“We’re just concentrating on these seven weeks,” coach Mike Munchak said Monday after announcing Locker’s injury. “That’s all we’re concerned about. Next year is next year. Right now we just got to go forward and try to win a game.”
Not only did the Titans lose Locker on Sunday, they also became the first team to lose to previously winless Jacksonville this season 29-27. That loss dropped the Titans to 4-5, missing a chance to pull within a game of Indianapolis (6-3) in the AFC South.
The quarterback was hurt in the second quarter of a 29-27 loss to Jacksonville at the end of an option play. Locker, who was on crutches and a walking boot, told reporters before leaving the stadium he hoped and prayed the injury wouldn’t end his season. But further tests Monday confirmed the extent of the damage.
“To lose him now is a huge blow,” Munchak said. “I mean you watch any team that loses their quarterback it’s a big effect on the team.”
Munchak said whether Locker will need surgery to repair his foot will be decided in the next few days after consulting with surgeons.
“So it’s hard for him,” Munchak said. “I know how depressed he is, I know how hard this hurt him and our team. I mean, he’s a fighter.”
The Titans drafted Locker with the eighth selection overall in 2011 to be their franchise quarterback, and he signed a four-year contract with an option for a fifth year. Locker is completing 60.7 percent of his passes for 1,256 yards and has eight touchdowns with only four interceptions and a passer rating of 86.7.
He is 8-10 since becoming a starter, but he will wind up missing 14 of a possible 32 starts in his first two seasons. Asked if he was worried Locker is injury prone, Munchak said that will be a topic for discussion in February.
The Titans signed Fitzpatrick to back up Locker in March, and he went 0-2 against Kansas City and at Seattle when Locker hurt his right hip and knee Sept. 29 against the Jets. Fourth-year quarterback Rusty Smith will be Fitzpatrick’s backup and has been on the 53-man roster since Locker got hurt against the Jets.
Fitzpatrick threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns as a reserve in the loss to the Jaguars, and he also ran for a touchdown trying to rally the Titans.
Tight end Delanie Walker, who caught a 14-yard TD pass from Fitzpatrick with 40 seconds left, said Monday they need Fitzpatrick to step up.
“He’s going to be the starting quarterback from now on because Jake is out for the year, so Ryan has no choice but to play good,” Walker said. “I feel like he did a great job against the Jaguars. This is his opportunity to be the man now.”
Walker pointed at other NFL teams that have lost starters at that position.
“But when it’s your turn to step up, you’ve got to step up and play, and that’s where we’re at,” Walker said.
Safety Bernard Pollard said it’s time for the next man up.
“So we trust and we are behind Fitz 100 percent,” Pollard said.
Locker isn’t the only injury the Titans are dealing with on a short week. Center Brian Schwenke hurt his right ankle and played only 15 snaps, with veteran Chris Spencer finishing the game. Munchak said Schwenke is day to day.
Damian Williams hurt his hip on a punt return and was having tests Monday after leaving on crutches, forcing the Titans to look for a new returner. Alterraun Verner handled the job after Williams was hurt, but the cornerback is tied for the NFL lead with five interceptions and the Titans are reluctant to use him in that role.
NOTES: The Titans’ injury report based on a walk-through session included RG Chance Warmack (ankle) out, along with LB Moise Fokou (left knee), LB Zaviar Gooden (hamstring). RT David Stewart (shoulder) was limited.
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