Tom Gower is one of the best analytical minds covering an NFL team. His work on Total Titans is always strong, and you can find him weekly on the Football Outsiders Scramble for the Ball column as well. Be sure to follow Tom on Twitter too.
With the Colts playing the Titans on a short week, there won't be an Eyes in the Backfield column, so I took the time to ask Tom a few questions about what has been a tumultuous year for the Titans. You can check TotalTitans.com for my answers to Tom's questions.
As a side note, Tom will be in town for the Titans game in two weeks. If you are interested in meeting him during the game, come by section 614, row 3 and say hi.
CA: Now that Locker is done for the year, how do the Titans make a decision on him moving forward?
TG: I fully expect Jake Locker to be in the Titans in 2014. His contract is fully guaranteed, so there's not much downside to keeping him.
I think the answer to this question actually depends a fair amount on how Ryan Fitzpatrick performs as the rest of the season. Locker has now missed entirely too many games to be fully confident he'll last all 16 games as a starter. That means if you're going to stick with him, you need a competent backup.
If Fitzpatrick plays reasonably the rest of this year, you can take a shot with the same quarterback combination again next season, knowing that you'll be okay if Locker goes down. If Fitzpatrick doesn't play well the rest of this year, you can't go into next season betting on Jake Locker without a good Plan B if you want to make the playoffs. And a good Plan B in this case means a player other than a Fitzpatrick-like solid but unspectacular veteran backup, which means he's a player who should at least have a shot at displacing Locker from the starting job.
This most likely means a rookie. In that case, the rookie should play if he's ready and sit if he's not, which means Locker is no longer the future and probably not even the present of your quarterback situation.