October 15, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Titans quarterback Jake Locker has been in and out of the lineup with injuries costing him 10 of Tennessee's last 14 quarters, including two of the last three games. He's back practicing and hopes his sore right thumb allows him to start Sunday in Washington.

He said Wednesday it's not ideal.

''You got to make the best of the situations that you're put in,'' Locker said.

Locker was limited Wednesday officially, though he said he was able to do everything coaches and trainers wanted him to, from throwing during individual drills to working in team drills. He spent last week trying to get the swelling down and now is working to get the strength fully back.

Time is starting to run out for Locker, the fourth-year pro with only 10 games remaining on his contract. Locker was playing well before hurting his thumb in the second quarter of a 29-28 loss Oct. 5 to Cleveland, throwing for a touchdown and running for another. But Locker has missed 16 of a possible 38 starts.

This season, Locker missed a loss at Indianapolis with an injured right wrist, so backup Charlie Whitehurst has started two of the past three games. Locker said the quarterback shuffle in and out of the lineup is not ideal for an offense.

''That's why you hope to have a guy that's going to be in there for 16 games of the season,'' Locker said. ''It's just kind of the situation we're in right now.''

The Titans (2-4) visit Washington (1-5) on Sunday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said it's too early to say if Locker will start Sunday barring any setback.

''It really depends on how he responds after today,'' Whisenhunt said.

Washington coach Jay Gruden is going through a similar situation with his quarterbacks. Robert Griffin III was limited Wednesday with the ankle he hurt Sept. 14. The Redskins have lost four straight with Kirk Cousins starting.

Gruden, who was in Cincinnati when the Bengals thought about drafting Locker in 2011 before taking Andy Dalton, said Wednesday on a conference call with Tennessee reporters that injuries are an issue with both Locker and Griffin. He called it an unfortunate situation with both tough quarterbacks.

''You wouldn't think that they'd be injury-prone, but both of them have unfortunately sustained them,'' Gruden said. ''That's an issue. You've got to be able to stay healthy at that position at all costs. Hopefully moving forward for Robert and Jake, they're going to get healthy and stay healthy for a long time.''

Coaches can teach quarterbacks how to slide and protect themselves as much as possible. But Gruden noted Griffin wasn't touched when he got hurt and that Locker banged his thumb on a helmet.

''You can't over-coach the fact that, `Hey, don't get hurt,''' Gruden said. ''That's football. People are going to get hurt every game. It's just a matter of when you have the opportunity to get down and get out of harm's way, you've got to do that.''

Notes: Titans DT Jurrell Casey was named the AFC defensive player of the week Wednesday for the first time in his career after having two sacks and a tackle for loss. He's the first tackle from this franchise to earn the honor since Ray Childress in 1993. ... CB Coty Sensabaugh (right knee) and S George Wilson (calf) were limited. RB Shonn Greene (hamstring), DE Ropati Pitoitua (finger) and TE Taylor Thompson (right knee) did not practice. Casey was given the day off.

---

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

You May Like