Jake Locker, the oft-maligned Titans quarterback taken with the eighth overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, has a dark side to opposing defenses.
Whatever throwing ability he may have, his alter-ego brings back comparisons of another quarterback named Jake.
Former Broncos and Cardinals QB Jake Plummer. Elusive and dangerous with his feet as much as his arm, the question for both was whether either could ever turn into a dangerous pocket presence.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin didn't seem to care about his career projections at his first regular season press conference of the 2013 season. He cared about the dangers Locker can present out on the edge.
"I'd imagine they've worked some on the read option, stuff that is in vogue in today's NFL," Tomlin said, as quoted by the Tribune Review. "He definitely has the skill set to do it."
Locker has taken a slow growth curve in the NFL. ESPN's John Clayton ranked him No. 28 in his yearly QB rankings - ahead of Oakland's Matt Flynn (benched), Buffalo's Kevin Kolb (out for the season), Jets' Mark Sanchez and Jacksonville's Blaine Gabbert.
But Locker does have that mobility and the lack of fear to make plays on the edge. It's enough to make any defense nervous.
It's making Tomlin nervous as well. He spoke bluntly at the NFL Winter Meetings about the zone-read offense, the growing fad of the league, and questioned how long teams will want to expose their quarterback to hits, like can often happen in that offense.
Even if the exposure is there, a defense has to deliver those hits, and it seems as if Tomlin is preparing his defense for that opportunity in Week 1.
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