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Jake Locker like young Big Ben, Nate Washington says

Coming off a season in which first-year quarterbacks lit the world on fire, Jake Locker enters his third campaign firmly attached to the hot seat.

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While outsiders view 2013 as a make-or-break outing for Locker, one of the Tennessee Titans' veteran receivers, Nate Washington, sees something else: A young Ben Roethlisberger in the making.

"I was there in Ben's second year, and right away you kind of understood that -- even in his second year -- he was gonna be a good quarterback, a guy that could make plays," Washington told Terry McCormick of TitanInsider. "That's the same thing with Jake. He's a guy who can make plays. I tell everybody all the time, this is football, and it's a gladiator sport, but it's not a dumb man's sport."

ESPN's Ron Jaworski prodded Locker on Monday as having a "long way to go," but there's hope internally that new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains has cooked up a scheme that will mix zone blocking with a slew of play-action offerings, rollouts and bootlegs.

As Around The League's Chris Wesseling noted, that sounds an awful lot like what the Houston Texans run. It's a system well-suited for Locker.

As third-string Titans passer Rusty Smith told's Jeff Darlington last week, "Everyone -- everyone -- wants to see him succeed."

To get there, Locker's footwork needs work, and he must find a way to stay healthy. The Big Ben parallel makes a dash of sense -- especially in terms of Locker's gun-slinging mentality and arm strength -- but until he can produce a full season, the comparisons out of Tennessee ring hollow.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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