Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 10/27/12

“The Freak,” “Air McNair,” and good old Eddie George. The days have passed since the Music City Miracle. Far from it, actually. The Tennessee Titans have had some troubles since their noted run to the Super Bowl. A few 10-win seasons here and there, but the Titans haven’t broken the double digit mark since 2008. Chris Johnson, the Titans’ star running back out of East Carolina, had a mediocre season last year and showed signs of a dismal beginning this year. Jake Locker, the Titans’ supposed future, was knocked out in the fourth game this year due to a shoulder injury, the same one he had trouble with earlier in the season. But wait, the Titans have won two games in a row and will play the Indianapolis Colts this weekend for a chance at .500. And why is that? The backup quarterback, Matt Hasselback, has taken the reigns of the Titans yet again. In the three games that Hasselback has started, the Titans have gone 2-1. Is this because Hasselback superior quarterback with a better skill set? Absolutely not. With 50 more pass attempts than Locker, Hasselback only has 19 more completions for 150 more yards. He only has one more touchdown than Locker with two more interceptions. Not only that, but Locker has the ability to scramble and pick up some decent running gains with 8 rushes for 67 yards in his first three games. So why have the Titans been able to squeek out nail-biting wins in the past two games? Hasselback has some qualities that Jake Locker can only wait for: veteran leadership and the clutch factor. In his 14th year in the league, Matt Hasselback has shown exactly what he has been known for- his consistency. This year, his completion percentage (61.5%) is right around his career average (60.3%) and his percentage from last year with the Titans (61.6%). He is not a scrambler and doesn’t try to be with only 6 rushing attempts this season. As a Titans fan, I know that when Matt Hasselback steps into a game, he will throw good, solid passes to receivers and let the stars on the team shine. Hasselback doesn’t care about his numbers. He cares about doing what is best for his team. When he wasn’t named the starter, he could have retired or have demanded to be traded. He didn’t. In a league full of star quarterbacks, Hasselback knows that he is not one of them. He knows his job on the team is to make sure the ball gets into someone else’s hands as quickly as he can. And as a result, Chris Johnson has rushed for 430 yards since Locker’s injury. He had only rushed for 66 yards before in a similar time frame during Locker’s run as quarterback. Hasselback has also proven that he can win close games. In the matchup against Pittsburgh two weeks ago, Hasselback moved the Titans 30 yards in 49 seconds to put Rob Bironas in field goal range for the win. Last week in Buffalo, Hasselback again led his team from their own 48 for a game winning touchdown pass to Nate Washington. Oh right, it was 4th and 9 too. But Hasselback really couldn’t care less about all his flashy game winning drives. He just looks at the win column where he is 2-1 as the starting quarterback compared to Locker’s 1-3 as the starter. I would love to send Locker a “Get Well Soon” card, but I’m really thinking a “maybe take an extra week or two to recover” card is more beneficial. Does Hasselback’s performance jargon up memories of “Air McNair” or the Music City Miracle? Probably not. And that’s the way he likes it. -Greenberg

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