NFL: 5 players facing make-or-break seasons

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Nov 10, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) passes against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

It may not be fair, but the NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” kind of league. If a player didn’t have a solid-to-great 2013, fans and management alike will shine the spotlight bright in order to get that player back on track. Here are five offensive players who are facing those kind of make-or-break seasons.

Jake Locker  

This is no surprise. He was ranked 31st out of 32 QB’s in a recent ESPN poll, he’s had injury issues, he has a young team and a new coach. The stars are aligning above Locker’s head to head into a different direction. That being said, Locker is going to be given the first crack at the starting spot by new coach, Ken Whisenhunt. His “immediate backup” would be Charlie Whitehurst, who I don’t think would be much of a candidate for a starting spot. That being said, a case for rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger may start building as the season progresses.

Locker, the 26-year-old former Washington Huskie, hasn’t played more than 11 games in his three seasons as a Titan – only 23 games total. The Titans declined Locker’s option for 2015, which means he will become expendable (or expensive I suppose), when the season ends. He showed some small progress in his seven games last year, posting his best completion percentage (60.7%) of his career, but he will have to improve substantially across the board to reverse the thinking of many around the league. Saying that Locker’s boat as a Titans quarterback has already sailed is a bit premature, but his bags are certainly packed and people are starting to board the ship.

For the Titans sake, Locker can put together the flashes he has shown into one big bright spot and re-sign at the end of the year as their “franchise guy.” It will be an interesting ride in Nashville.

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