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Instant Debate

With lockout, Titans might be wise to wait on Locker

If you were new Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak, would you rather start Jake Locker or Kerry Collins in your first season?

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  • Jason La Canfora NFL Network
  • Titans' QB solution is outside organization

If it's up to me, I'm opting for neither. I'm going to make a run at Matt Hasselbeck to mentor Locker -- heck, he already has been from their days together in Seattle.

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I'm offering Hasselbeck two years, $10 million (the second year won't have any guaranteed money in my hypothetical deal, so if it doesn't work out it's only $5 million). Maybe he finds some of his old form, and if not, you know you have someone uniquely equipped to mentor Locker.

Locker's footwork and accuracy need work. Tennessee took him in the top 10, which is a massive financial investment. Take your time. Let him learn. The lockout has already robbed him of months of invaluable learning. No need to rush anything when it's finally over.

Sign a caretaker quarterback, who could end up being a bargain, and target 2012 for Locker.

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  • Elliot Harrison
  • Hasselbeck could have resurgence in Nashville

I'm gonna have to second Jason on this one. While I really feel Collins has had a much better career than given credit for, I like the idea of going outside of the organization. I, too, see the value in going after Hasselbeck. He showed a lot in the wild-card playoff game against the Saints, making some big-time throws. There have been other quarterbacks who've had down years mid-career due to slumps or injury, only to come back and make it happen in their later years (Ken Anderson, Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, Lynn Dickey, Phil Simms, Vinny Testeverde, Chris Chandler, Joe Montana, to name a few). Why not roll the dice here? Give Locker a mentor while giving yourself a chance to win.

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  • Vic Carucci
  • Put the ball into the vet's hands

Collins is the easy choice here. There is no possible way that Locker, or any rookie quarterback, could be trusted to be an immediate starter after having zero chance to work with coaches during the offseason. Even a rookie quarterback who has had offseason coaching supervision and contact with coaches is unlikely to be ready to step into the No. 1 spot in his first year. Collins' considerable experience will allow him to be far more comfortable as the starter, even though he and his teammates haven't had the benefit of a "normal" offseason. Collins has plenty of shortcomings, and he is far from the ideal choice. However, he clearly is the better alternative to a rookie.

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  • Dave Dameshek
  • Get the awkwardness out of the way

Collins went 12-3 as the starting QB of the (defensively dominant) 2008 Titans. Since then, he's gone 2-11. He's old.

Locker is young. Not Vince Young, but not without his own callow issues. Still, Munchak would do well to go to the youngster and assure him their fates are inextricably tied together. As such, they might as well both get that unavoidably awkward first year out of the way and come out better for the experience in 2012.

John Elway, Troy Aikman and Mike Tahoe all endured brutal rookie seasons and wound up doing okay.

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  • Steve Wyche
  • Play the best guy

First off, Munchak might not get that option unless the Titans re-sign Collins, who is a free agent. If they do, I am a big believer in playing the best players and if Collins is the better guy when the season starts, then you play him. At the same time, if you are committed to Locker, I'm also a believer that you get him on the field as soon as possible. If he's totally unequipped then you should never throw a quarterback into that situation. However, if he has a grasp of the offense and his teammates believe in him -- that might be the most important element -- then you let him roll.

Tennessee has a good offensive line and potent running game to help ease Locker's transition. The Titans have Baltimore and Pittsburgh in two of their first five games, which will be tough, but it might not be any easier for Collins. They also play Jacksonville, Denver and Cleveland in the first five weeks and the Titans stand a chance to win those regardless of who is playing quarterback.

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  • Charles Davis NFL Network
  • Lockout makes Munchak's decision easier

As the lockout continues, I believe that Munchak's decision continues to get easier. Locker will require plenty of extra work anyway, but with less=organized offseason activities, it's Collins early ... no hesitation.

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  • Adam Rank
  • Get Locker in the game

Munchak will want to win games and a veteran like Collins gives him the best chance. But let's be honest, the Titans are clearly the No. 4 team in the division and are not taking the AFC South. So start Locker and see what you got. Locker started all four years (though a thumb injury knocked him out as a sophomore), so he's had enough time. The short-term will be tough, but the Titans looked long-term by choosing Locker in the first place. Get him on the field.

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