Jake Locker was one of the big surprises of the 2011 NFL Draft when the Tennessee Titans selected him with the eighth overall pick. As with many rookies last year, he wasn’t helped by the lockout, and he never became fully entrenched. Locker never started a game, but played quite a bit in a few different contests, and will now try to parlay that heading into his second season.
Locker says he’s more comfortable and confident now that he’s having an actual offseason and training camp. And if indications are true — as Mike Lombardi at NFL Network has indicated — the time for Locker to take over as the Titans’ signal-caller may be nearing.
Jake Locker joined WGFX in Nashville with the Wake Up Zone to discuss how this offseason has been different from his first, how his first few days of camp went, learning experiences from his rookie year, if he’s getting more comfortable with the coaching staff and players in the locker room, and Titans’ receiving weapon Kendall Wright.
What’s been different with the offseason and start of camp this year as opposed to your rookie year last year coming off the lockout?:
“It’s so much different. It allows you to have more confidence going into it because we had the offseason to spend some more time in the offense, focus on the finer details and find ways to really be successful inside of it.”
How do you think the first few days went?:
“Good. I think it’s been a good tempo, guys are playing hard, getting better. Camp, the funny dynamic of camp is it kind of goes back and forth it seems like. Three or four days the defense will do really, really well, kind of control practice. And then three or four days the offense will do really, really well and kind of control things.”
What are some things that you learned that you take away from last year?:
“I think last year everything was such a whirlwind. We didn’t have anything, any offseason, any of that. The lockout got solved three days before we reported to camp, got into camp and it was just trying to figure out a schedule, trying to find some sort of comfort level within that. … This year, having the opportunity to really understand the offense, know the plays, being able to pay more attention to protection, what you’re getting on the defensive side of the ball, those things will allow me to ultimately be able to play more comfortable and more confident.”
Do you get a sense that the coaching staff is learning the things that work and don’t work well for you within the scheme?:
“Any time you spend more time with staff, with players, with teammates, I guess I can only speak for myself but, as for me, I do feel more comfortable being able to talk to someone and say, ‘Hey, what do you see here? What do you feel about this?’ and how I feel about it.”
What about gaining the trust and respect of the guys in the locker room?:
“Yeah, a lot different. It’s just going into the locker room last year, I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t know any of the personalities, didn’t know anybody other than their names and maybe watching them on Sundays. Having the opportunity now to have a little more than just a name relationship with everybody in the locker room … just to have that familiarity I think is something that allows you to become more comfortable in being a little more vocal and challenging and pushing some guys.”
What stands out about receiver Kendall Wright?:
“He’s got a great feel for the game. When you watch him play, he didn’t look like a rookie in OTAs. There was times when he had a certain route, but he’d settle in a hole because he felt it. It’s things you can’t teach a lot of times. It’s things that are just instinctive and you have those instincts.”