Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) passes as offensive guard Chance Warmack (70) blocks Washington Redskins defensive end Jarvis Jenkins (99) in a preseason NFL football game in Nashville. Associated Press photo.
NASHVILLE — Titans quarterback Jake Locker does not like making mistakes, even in practice.
It was even less fun having to watch himself throw too many passes to the wrong people.
Not just one. Or two. Try three.
And luckily for him, linebacker Moise Fokou dropped a fourth in the end zone.
It was easily Locker’s worst practice this training camp.
The quarterback who already has the starting job showed Monday he can bounce back as he completed nine of his first 12 passes in team drills with three touchdowns close to the goal line. He showed nice touch on a pass that Justin Hunter went up to catch in the corner.
“It’s hard to watch the film,” Locker said. “It’s like, ‘Man, Why did I do that? Why did I do this? I should have done this.’ But you can take so many good things from it, and that it happened in a practice setting, it allows you to fix those things and prevent them from happening in a game.”
Locker had to compete a year ago in camp to be the starter, even though as the eighth overall draft selection in 2011 the job was waiting for him to grab it.
Tennessee cut veteran Matt Hasselbeck in March and signed Ryan Fitzpatrick as Locker’s backup. So Locker only has to compete against himself in an offense where he also has Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene behind him, a rebuilt offensive line in front of him and a promising receiving group.
Coach Mike Munchak said the Titans talked about the offense needing to bounce back Monday throughout the day before practice.
“To us, it’s like a football game,” Munchak said. “The game didn’t go well, practice didn’t go well. We couldn’t get out of the funk. Defense ended up having a great four quarters.
“Today they came out and we did a lot of similar situations. We ran two-minute, four-minute, the red zone, and threw the ball better, made better decisions. Blocking was better. It was good to just see them come back after having a rough night and play better.”
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains took a share of the blame as well for the struggles Sunday night.
He said he didn’t put Locker in great situations in scripted plays while the defense knew what was coming defending a period focused on runs and bootlegs. But the coordinator said the offense has shown the ability to struggle and then bounce back.
Locker has had only one NFL game with three interceptions, and the Titans lost that game Dec. 2 last season to Houston. The Titans lost two of their starting offensive linemen to injuries in that game.
His practice Sunday night was nearly as ugly as that game.
Linebacker Zach Brown intercepted one pass, while safety Bernard Pollard picked off two — one he would’ve taken for a touchdown. A throw or two might have been tossed away out of bounds in a game too. Locker started Monday’s practice crisply completing his first three passes, two for touchdowns. He missed Damian Williams on a fade, then found Kendall Wright.
He also put the ball to Hunter up where the rookie could catch it away from a defender for another TD.
Locker said the best thing can be a short memory when you struggle.
“You just got to take it for what it’s worth and learn from it and understand your worst days can be your most beneficial days in the long run,” Locker said.
Notes: WR Kenny Britt sat out a second practice, and Munchak said it’s a precaution for a receiver with a history of knee issues. ... K Rob Bironas returned to practice after missing the past week with a sore back. ... RT David Stewart missed his fourth straight practice, not including the preseason opener. Loggains joked that the man nicknamed “Big Country” has a new nickname: “Country Club.” Stewart has been dealing with a sore ankle in the right leg he broke last December.