Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Locker clash to start for Titans


Training camp is finally here. They allow tackling there and everything. Around the League will count down the top 30 position battles to watch throughout the preseason.

Top 30 training camp position battles

No. 30: Seahawks running backs
No. 29: Packers No. 3 receiver
No. 28: Broncos backup running back
No. 27: Bengals cornerbacks
No. 26: Raiders backup quarterback
No. 25: Cardinals receiver
No. 24: Jets right tackle
No. 23: Jets linebacker
No. 22: Redskins running back
No. 21: Giants No. 3 receiver
No. 20: Patriots receiver
No. 19: Colts tight end
No. 18: Rams receivers
No. 17: Jaguars quarterbacks
No. 16: Bears wide receivers
No. 15: NFL safety battles
No. 14: Jaguars No. 2 receiver
No. 13: Bears left tackle
No. 12: Randy Moss vs. Father time
No. 11: Lions receivers
No. 10: Cardinals running back
No. 9: Ravens pass rusher
No. 8: Dolphins quarterback
No. 7: Buccaneers running back
No. 6: Steelers defensive end
No. 5: Dolphins wide receiver
No. 4: Cardinals quarterback
No. 3: The Oakland Raiders
No. 2: Titans quarterback
No. 1: Seahawks quarterback

No. 2. Tennessee Titans QB: Matt Hasselbeck vs. Jake Locker

• It really doesn't get much better than this for August. (Except for when Joe Montana had to hold off Steve Young. But you know what we mean.) Hasselbeck is a trusty veteran coming off a very good season. Locker is a wildly gifted second-year pro that showed flashes of brilliance. This team has enough talent to compete for the playoffs. This battle matters.

• Hasselbeck is expected to take the first snap of training camp. As the incumbent, he should be viewed as the favorite. But coach Mike Munchak has stressed that Locker and Hasselbeck are on even footing. They are splitting snaps right down the middle.

• Locker gave the Titans a spark last year when he entered games. Combining the preseason and regular season, he threw for six touchdowns with only one interecption. He averaged more seven yards per rushing attempt. But he's a much better quarterback outside the pocket and on the move. It's hard for Locker to get "pocket presence" practice without live games. At some point, the Titans will have to take their lumps with him.

• Bucky Brooks had a very cool X's and O's look at this battle. That's all. Check it out.

• There is enough talent in Tennessee for either quarterback to succeed. Even with Kenny Britt hurt and/or suspended, the team has two starting quality tackles, Chris Johnson, Kendall Wright, Jared Cook, Nate Washington, and solid receiver depth. This team has the right pieces to contend.

•Fantasy owners looking to draft Locker should be concerned that Munchak cited the team's tough early schedule as a factor in the team's decision. He also hopes to name a starter by the team's third preseason game. The Titans might throw Hasselbeck to the wolves early. If he can't beat quality competition, Locker could replace him early in the year. It's easier to bench Hasselbeck. Once the Titans go to Locker, they shouldn't turn back.

Projected winner: Hasselbeck will be the Week 1 starter. Locker will take over before the season's halfway point.