The Tennessee Titans remain mathematically alive for the playoffs despite handing the Indianapolis Colts their first win this season. So coach Mike Munchak will treat Saturday's home finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars as a playoff game, and he's sticking with veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to win it.
Munchak believes Hasselbeck gives the Titans (7-7), who are one game out of an AFC wild-card spot, the best opportunity to win and deserves the start.
"We're still in the playoff hunt, and he's the quarterback that got us there," Munchak said Monday. "I think that's what you have to go with the guy who has the experience, the guy that's been in playoff situations, the guy that's been in the Super Bowl. After what he's meant to us this year and how well he has played throughout the season for us that I think we have to give him the opportunity to finish the job."
For now, the Jake Locker era will have to wait. The only way the eighth overall pick from the 2011 NFL Draft will make his first start of the season is if Hasselbeck isn't healthy enough to play. Hasselbeck was healthy enough despite a strained left calf muscle to start against the Colts, and Munchak said the 13-year veteran just had some swelling in his leg from playing.
Locker has come off the bench in three of the last five games, leaving fans wanting to see him start now and Munchak defending his decision not to pull Hasselbeck sooner. Locker was 11-of-16 passing for 108 yards and drove the Titans to a touchdown on his first series.
"We're happy with Jake. Believe me," Munchak said. "We think Jake's a very good quarterback where he's going to be playing football for a long time for us, and fans are going to love watching him. ... It all depends on Matt's health.".
The Associated Press contributed to this report.