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Insider

A big opportunity for Jake Locker

8/20/2012

Adam Schefter answers reader questions in his mailbag twice a week. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.


Q: Adam, do you think starting Jake Locker is the right move for the Tennessee Titans? He looked awfully shaky in the preseason.

-- Andrew (Florida)

A: Well, Andrew, Cam Newton looked shaky last preseason and how did that work out in the regular season? Tennessee invested a first-round pick in Locker and had him sit on the bench for most of last season. But at some point it has to give him the chance to prove he can and will be the Titans' quarterback of the future. This is the time. Many people around the league thought Matt Hasselbeck would have been the opening day starter. But if that had happened, there always would be the questions about when the team would turn to Locker. Now there aren't any questions. Locker has the skills, and now he has the opportunity. It's time to find out the actual answer to your question, Andrew.


Q: The San Diego Chargers have been seriously hit by the injury bug this preseason. Do you think they have enough WR and RB depth to survive in the competitive AFC West?

-- Jared (Idaho)

A: It's tough to lose your top running back and arguably your top wide receiver and expect that it won't impact you in some way, Jared. Ryan Mathews was that important, and Vincent Brown was on his way to being that important. Now fortunately for San Diego, Mathews is hoping not to miss too much time and could be back at some point early in the season. Brown is expected to miss the first half of the season. No doubt these are significant blows, but now it's up to running back Ronnie Brown and wide receivers such as Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal to step up and make sure San Diego can march on with the hopes it had. Not impossible to do, but the Chargers' job just got more challenging.


Q: How significant is Ahmad Bradshaw's injury? Do you think that the New York Giants have enough running back depth?

-- Darcy (Alabama)

A: It doesn't sound too significant, Darcy. It sounds like he popped a cyst in his hand and he's going to be OK. And if the Giants don't have enough depth at running back, it would be a surprise. D.J. Ware has impressed this summer and the Giants' first-round pick, David Wilson, has the makings of a starter and a standout. New York should be just fine. Plus, the Giants have made a habit out of overcoming key losses. They did it last year when few people expected it, and it would be a surprise if they were unable to do it again this season, especially at a position where they seem fairly loaded.


Q: What did you think of Brandon Weeden's second preseason performance? Did he look more comfortable?

-- Kevin (Ohio)

A: A bit, Kevin, but there still is work to be done. Rookie quarterbacks have their ups and downs, even ones who come in as prepared as Andrew Luck. Weeden will have some of that. The Browns have so much youth at running back and wide receiver that it will make Weeden's job that much more challenging. There's no need to get too concerned just yet -- save that for the regular season. But Weeden did take some steps, and now he will need to take more.


Q: When do you think that Rashard Mendenhall will be starting again for the Pittsburgh Steelers?

-- Jerry (Kentucky)

A: It will be sometime in October, Jerry, not before. Pittsburgh wanted to bring him off the PUP list Friday to begin to get him back into football shape and have him ready by October. But to think that he would be able to make a contribution before then seems a bit of a stretch. Now maybe the Steelers get hit with more injuries at the running back position, and maybe Mendenhall's recovery speeds up even more. But October would be the time to expect him to start to make a contribution. If Isaac Redman or Jonathan Dwyer is playing well, it would make sense that Pittsburgh would keep rolling with them until it needed an even healthier Mendenhall to contribute.