On Monday, it was announced that Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker will miss the rest of the 2013 season. Locker suffered suffered a Linfranc (foot) injury in the team's loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The injury occurred with 7:12 left in the second quarter, when Locker was hit by Jacksonville linebacker Russell Allen at the end of an eight-yard run. He fumbled on the next play and limped to the sideline. Doctors examined him there, and he went to the locker room for X-rays.
“I don’t know exactly how it happened," Locker said, "but when I got up from that run I could feel it.”
It is Locker's second serious injury of the season -- he suffered hip and knee injuries in the Titans' Week 4 loss to the New York Jets, and surprised many by returning to the field on Oct. 20 after two missed games to complete 25-of-41 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the San Francisco 49ers. The Titans lost that game, 31-17.
The 29-27 loss to the previously winless Jaguars on Sunday was a particularly jarring blow -- coming as it did on the same Sunday that the AFC South-leading Colts were soundly beaten 38-8 by the St. Louis Rams -- because it put the Titans out of reach of a one-game deficit for a share of the division lead.
Now, the team's season is more in jeopardy. Against the Jags, Locker was replaced by backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, who completed 22-of-33 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns. But the Titans have lost all three games in which Fitzpatrick has either started or thrown more than 20 passes -- to the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and Jaguars. Fitzpatrick allowed Jaguars defensive back Will Blackmon to steal the ball away from him in the fourth quarter, and Blackmon returned the fumble for a 21-yard touchdown with 2:32 left in the game.
[si-nfl-player id=c530e3be706647ea95ef6d3e6ef5602d] Selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft out of Washington, Locker has not yet blossomed into the quarterback Tennessee hoped he'd be. He has mixed an incredible ability to make plays outside of structure with a relative inability to string things together from drive to drive and game to game, especially from the pocket. He came into this weekend ranked 19th among all qualifying quarterbacks in Football Outsiders' opponent-adjusted metrics.