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Matt Hasselbeck impressed by Jake Locker's growth

Jake Locker has reportedly closed the gap on veteran Matt Hasselbeck during their offseason and preseason competition for the Tennessee Titans' starting quarterback job.

On Monday, Hasselbeck discussed his return to the Seattle area, as well as his competition with the former University of Washington quarterback, with Mitch Levy and former NFL (and UW) quarterback Hugh Millen on the "Mitch in the Morning" program on KJR-AM in Seattle.

"It's not the easiest situation in the world, but it's not new to me, either," Hasselbeck said of having to compete for a starting job. "This is my job, this is what I do and you compete with the guys in your room, you compete with guys all over the world that they can find to do your job.

"I'm rooting for him (Locker) just as hard as anybody. I'm rooting for Jake, and obviously I'm trying to do the best that I can, but I know it won't last forever. Whether its next year, or this year, or the year after, whenever it is, it could be today, you never know. Really where my focus needs to be is just doing the best job that I can."

Hasselbeck began his career as Brett Favre's backup, he also backed up Trent Dilfer at the start of the 2002 season, and said that he was told upon signing a three-year, $20 million contract last summer that he could eventually be Locker's backup, the No. 8 overall draft pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Even though both played in the Seattle area before becoming teammates in Nashville, there wasn't a great deal of history between the two quarterbacks. That's obviously changed after a full season as teammates, as well as sharing an agent (David Dunn), and Locker's rapid development has impressed Hasselbeck.

"We're all probably a little bit surprised and impressed with how quickly Jake has picked up the mental side of it, the decision-making side of it, because he is so young," Hasselbeck said. "He's done a wonderful job with that. He's great in the classroom; you can tell he's been well-coached. So there's all good things there, obviously he's got great athletic ability and that kind of thing. So again, it's my job to just play the best that I can try to win football games for us. And if and when that time comes, it comes, and it's going to be my job again to be ready to do the same thing."

Titans head coach Mike Munchak is pleased with Locker's progress, as well, and that could lead to No. 10 starting this week's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Follow Brian McIntyre on Twitter @brian_mcintyre.

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