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Jake Locker doesn't guarantee success

10/19/2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If he’s good to go, he’s good to go, and there is no reason the Tennessee Titans shouldn’t start Jake Locker at quarterback Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

He clearly gives them a better chance to win than Ryan Fitzpatrick, the backup who has lost two starts since Locker sprained his right hip and knee against the New York Jets on Sept. 29.

ESPN has confirmed reports that the Titans plan to start Locker.

Just a few days ago, however, Locker was still saying certain things didn’t yet feel right.

I don’t think the Titans are being desperate and hurrying him back. I hope they are too smart to do that. But whether or not that is creeping into this decision, coach Mike Munchak will face some serious heat if Locker hurts that leg in this game.

From a fan perspective, I think many were presuming the Titans would lose with Fitzpatrick and fall to 3-4 heading into their bye. I think many will now presume that, with Locker, they will win and improve to 4-3 heading into their bye.

It’s not a given by any means.

The 49ers have won three in a row, scoring more than 30 points a game. Locker should reduce turnovers and help offensive efficiency. But he won’t fix the offensive line, the run game or Kenny Britt, things that are broken and need major improvements to help the Titans win.

It’s a pivotal moment for the franchise. A win plus Locker coming through in good shape to continue to heal for two weeks is a best-case scenario.

It’s hardly the only one.