Football is back, and so is the controversy. That's why I'm here: to help guide coaches, players, owners and general managers with a little friendly advice.
Thank me later.
This is not an overreaction to the two (rather ugly) picks that veteran Matt Hasselbeck threw in the Titans' preseason opener. I've been pushing for Locker all offseason. He isn't a fourth-round-caliber long shot who can manage a game. He isn't a holdover from a prior regime. In his first draft as head coach, Titans coach Mike Munchak made Locker the surprise eighth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft because he believes Locker has the skills and leadership ability to be a franchise quarterback. I believe it, too.
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Hasselbeck came in last year and was superbly steady for the Titans, eradicating the stench of the Vince Young era. He should be commended for that. The veteran is a pro's pro. Yes, Locker will go through some growing pains, but he has tremendous upside -- certainly much more than Hasselbeck has at this stage. Playing with running back Chris Johnson will help Locker get acclimated.
The Titans face the New England Patriots in their regular-season opener. Pats coach Bill Belichick is a defensive guru, but the unit this season is relatively weak. Locker has the arm and athleticism to succeed against New England. He will inevitably start at some point this year; Tennessee might as well give him a jump start and let him try to set things up for the second half. Coach Munchak, I know you want to make this move. Go for it.
Perhaps Pete Carroll's "competition everywhere" model worked with the college teams he coached, but he's in the NFL now and should end that insanity immediately. Flynn was signed to be the quarterback. He learned under Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy in Green Bay, and played great when called upon by the Packers. Flynn must fully adjust to the Seahawks, and he needs all the first-team reps he can get. Flynn has incredible command and presence, but to be able to truly exert that, he needs to work regularly with the starters. This is especially important now that Carroll has brought trouble-making receivers Terrell Owens and Braylon Edwards into the fold.
I've campaigned in support of Wilson all year. I know he is relatively small, but he proved in college that he can play. Seattle general manager John Schneider told me on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he wasn't going to leave the 2012 NFL Draft without Wilson. The rookie quarterback hasn't disappointed in practice or the preseason; he is the real deal. There is no need for Seattle to have three signal callers. The Seahawks should cut Tarvaris Jackson and make Wilson the backup.
I thought David Garrard gave the Dolphins the best chance to win in September, but he hurt his knee and is set to miss four to six weeks. Tannehill, meanwhile, looks incredibly comfortable in the offense, which makes sense, given that he played for Dolphins coordinator Mike Sherman at Texas A&M. I didn't think Tannehill should've been the eighth overall draft pick in April, but he has displayed great touch and poise since then. He is a hard worker who sets a good tone in practice. Matt Moore, meanwhile, is, well ... Matt Moore. By definition, he is a solid backup and nothing more (no pun intended).
Stay away from Chad Johnson
I ripped the Dolphins for even daring to sign this sideshow clown in the first place. If a receiver can't play with quarterback Tom Brady and for Belichick in New England, it's over. Johnson is more interested in dancing, Twitter wars and reality shows than he is in winning. He's been a headache since his days with the Cincinnati Bengals. If your head coach has to actually explain to you why you shouldn't curse during press conferences -- as Philbin did with Johnson on HBO's "Hard Knocks" -- you are totally clueless.
After his arrest on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge on Saturday (and subsequent release from the Dolphins), Johnson is toxic. No team should sign him; no team should try to deal with his nonsense. And no team will.
Jones-Drew is my guy. I've already told the star running back, face-to-face, that he is making a huge mistake by holding out. He has zero leverage and two years left on his contract. MJD is the Jaguars' best and most marketable player. They won't rip up his deal. They won't trade him. It'd be impossible for them to get equal value in return.
Long holdouts don't end well. Two years ago, New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis held out, then hurt his hamstring in Week 2 when he was beaten by Randy Moss on a bomb. Revis went on to have the worst season of his great career thus far. Chris Johnson held out through all of the Titans training camp in 2011, and went on to be an embarrassment and a non-factor last season. Frankly, he kept the Titans from making the playoffs.
Sitting out now only hurts your chances to make more money down the road, MJD. Show up. Dominate. Get paid. It's that easy.
That's all the advice I have for now. Like I said, you can all thank me later.