Jake Locker suffered an injury Sunday that appears to deliver a major blow to the early season hopes of the Tennessee Titans.
Unless, that is, Ryan Fitzpatrick can find some of the unlikely magic he was able to conjure in the past few years in Buffalo. The Titans backup is known for an air-it-out, gunslinging style that leads to big plays and big mistakes, sometimes in equal measure. Now it will be up to him to guide the Titans for at least one month, possibly two.
Jake Locker suffered the injury in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets after a hit by defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. Locker was taken away by ambulance for the hip injury and spent the night in the hospital.
Though it initially appeared Locker’s injury would be season-ending, sources close to the Titans now say he will miss four to eight weeks.
Still, it was a difficult loss for the Titans.
“This is the worst I’ve felt after a victory like this in a long time,” Titans offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know he was hurt.
“If he misses one play in the game, then he was in pain.”
Though there’s never a good time to lose a starting quarterback, the timing of the injury is particularly hard for the Ttians. Locker has led the team to surprising 3-1 start, and was in the midst of his first three-touchdown game in his career when he was injured.
It will now be up to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick to pick up the slack for the Titans. Brought in during the offseason after he was cut by the Buffalo Bills, many expected Fitzpatrick to compete for the starting job with the often struggling Locker. But the second-year player seized control of the quarterback race, relegating Fitzpatrick to the bench.
Fitzpatrick says he’s ready to take over the starting job.
“The reason I was brought here was to help Jake out and be ready for a situation like this if it came up,” he said after the game. ‘If (Locker) is not in there, this is why they brought me here — no longer to tutor Jake and help him along, but to help win football games for this team.”
With the injury to Jake Locker keeping him out until at least November, Titans fans hope Fitzpatrick is ready to win.