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Titans 14 Vikings 3: Recap

The Tennessee Titans began the Mike Munchak era with a solid showing in last night’s 14-3 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Rookie signal-caller Jake Locker showed glimpses of his vast potential in a more-than-adequate performance. The starting QB (for now) Matt Hasselbeck, also held his own while displaying nice accuracy and veteran moxie.

Additional thoughts on the Titans’ win over the Vikings….after the jump.

Welcome to the NFL, Jake Locker

In his highly anticipated NFL debut, Jake Locker did anything but disappoint, completing 7 of his 10 passes for 89 yards and a score. Speaking of his touchdown, Locker put his improvisational skills on display, as he did a great job of adjusting to a fumbled snap by maintaining his composure and finding a wide-open Yamon Figurs for a 45-yard scoring strike.

Accuracy may have been an issue for Locker during his college days, but I didn’t see it last night. In addition to his precision-like passes, Locker looked extremely poised in the pocket.

Of course, we must temper our enthusiasm (a least a bit) due to the expected rookie bumps that Locker will likely experience over the course of his first year. However, it’s safe to say that last night was a nice start to hopefully what will be a thrilling ride as we witness the Jake Locker era unfold.

A few thoughts on Matt Hasselbeck

While Locker stole the show, veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck also made his mark in limited action. Completing all but one of his throwing attempts, “Hass” would have led the team on a scoring drive if it wasn’t for a bobbled exchange with Javon Ringer that led to a 30-yard loss.

What I liked the most about Hasselbeck was the comfort that he added to the huddle. His veteran presence was noticed from the start and his leadership should provide the team with a key element that could help the Titans do better than what the prognosticators think is in store for this franchise in 2011.

Final random musings 

-They’re not Chris Johnson, but the combination of Javon Ringer and Jamie Harper did a solid job of running the football last night. Ringer continues to make plays in limited opportunities and Harper display his short-yardage prowess during a touchdown run. 

We miss you, CJ but in the meantime, Ringer and Harper will continue to get their opportunities to see what they’re capable of bringing to the table. 

-I liked the energy that I saw from the starters on the defensive line last night. Free agent Shaun Smith brings a physical presence that hasn’t been around these parts since Fat Albert patrolled the middle. Coming back from a season-ending knee injury, Derrick Morgan looked good as he notched a sack. Rookie Jurrell Casey also made a nice play as he recovered a fumble. 

I know it’s early but judging by last night’s performance, life without Jim Washburn may not be that bad after all. 

-There were no Kenny Britt sightings on the field but overall, I liked what I saw from the WR position. Lavelle Hawkins looks like he’s going to tease us again by making some plays in the preseason. Hopefully, this time around, he’ll continue his production into the regular season. 

Damian Williams also made some plays as he attempts to play a bigger role in the passing game this year. Undrafted free agent James Kirkendoll also stepped up by making a couple of grabs and last but not least, Yamon Figurs hauled in Jake Locker’s aforementioned touchdown toss. 

-He’s not listed as a WR, but TE Jared Cook is definitely going to turn some heads if he plays up to his potential this year. He climbed the ladder on one of his two grabs on an errant but apparently catchable high toss from Locker. 

Unlike his relationship with the previous regime, Cook has emerged as the apple in Chris Palmer’s eyes and he’ll continue to get several opportunities to display his athleticism and pass-catching potential in 2011 and beyond. 

-He didn’t do anything noteworthy, but it’s still a pleasure watching the speed of rookie LB Akeem Ayers on the field. This guy has play-making potential and I’m expecting a nice rookie debut from the former Bruin in 2011. 

-Way to go, Myron Rolle. He found his way onto the stat sheet with a couple of tackles and a sack. It’s going to be an uphill struggle for playing time, but for now, it’s so far so good for the Rhodes Scholar. 

That’s enough for my take. Any thoughts/observations regarding last night’s Titans win? Feel free to provide your thoughts below.