Jake Locker has one win under his belt as a starter. And that’s a big step. I’m not being funny, there’s a certain deep breath that comes with notching your first one. When the Titans starting QB and I talked on the phone this week, in preparation for tomorrow’s game against the Texans, the absolutely craziness of the 44-41 win over the Lions wasn’t lost on him.
“Yeah, it was wild,” Locker told me. “Just one that had so many ups and downs, so many different types of explosive plays. One of the craziest games I’ve ever been a part of, for sure.”
This week is a major challenge. No doubt. And you’ll hear a lot of what he told me about facing the Texans on our Sunday morning shows on NFL Network. The Texans got game, and they may be playing better than any other team right now.
Shoot, there are only a few 3-0 teams, and they are one of them. But before he turned the page there, Locker did mention that winning, well, it feels pretty good. As he’s gone on, “There’s always evolving confidence with the snaps that you’ve taken.”
“Any time you can win, it feels great,” he told me. “They say the bumps hurt less and all the mistakes are easier to fix when you win. I think there’s some truth to that, but I don’t think it’s any more important than the last one and as great as it was to win last week, it doesn’t give us any type of advantage going into this weekend. So, we gotta refocus and come out prepared for this weekend’s game.“
As for tomorrow… Locker has serious respect for J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, and the rest of the Texans front. As he should. But it sounds like he really does. Why is the Texans D so stout? He broke it down.
“It’s just because of the confidence they play with and the energy they play with,” Locker said. “They play with a real high energy. They fly to the ball. They play great team defense, they have great communication on the field, pre-snap and post-snap. The guys know their job and they do it really, really well and that’s always a sign of a great defense.”
And what of Watt, the star of the first three games thanks to his 5.5 sacks? Locker has an idea for how good he is.
“He’s a game-changer on the other side of the ball,” Locker said. “He’s a world-class pass-rusher on most plays, but he finds ways when he doesn’t win to still be involved in a play. Getting his hand on the ball, tipping it up for an interception, whatever it might be. He creates plays for that defense. It’s something you got to be aware of, know where he’s at, do your best to keep your hands down when you beat him on a pass-rush. Do those little things that can make the difference in the game.“