Everyone in Tennessee is on notice going into 2013. Since Mike Munchak took over as the Titans' head coach, their record dropped from 9-7 his first year in Tennessee to just 6-10 a season ago. With such a drop off, it seems anything short of a winning record would leave Munchak without a job, and the Titans would begin evaluating who on their roster would follow him out the door.
Also on trial heading into the season is Titans quarterback Jake Locker. The Titans spent the eighth overall pick in 2011 to bring Locker to Tennessee, but since that time, he's been something of a disappointment. Last season, Locker completed just 56.4% of his passes, and worse yet, he threw more interceptions than touchdowns.
Still, Locker has been given a very good chance to succeed in Tennessee. Chance Warmack will beef up protection around Locker, and Justin Hunter will give Locker an explosive target to throw to. In addition, Chris Johnson is the most exciting homerun threat at the running back position. If the Titans' pass offense can loosen up the defense, holes will begin to open up for Johnson, and that's when the Titans could become a very fun team to watch.
Jake Locker is not the only quarterback from the 2011 draft class that's found his way into a proverbial "do-or-die" situation. Blaine Gabbert in Jacksonville, Cam Newton in Carolina and Christian Ponder have also been just 'meh' at points, and that's not good enough in the NFL.
Despite the challenge at hand, Locker has the tools around him that should allow him to succeed, especially in a division with only one playoff caliber team. Obviously, we won't know for some time whether Jake Locker will succeed as a starting quarterback, but he'll have no excuses to fall back on this time. He has the weapons and the blocking, and it's up to him to make it happen. Period.