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Jake Locker Introduction Press Conference
Posted By News Staff On Friday, April 29, 2011 @ 9:18 pm In Sports | 1 Comment
Nashville, TN – Tennessee Titans General Manager Mike Reinfeldt’s opening comments to start the press conference.
I want to thank everybody for coming today. We’d like to take this opportunity to introduce our first-round draft pick—Jake Locker, University of Washington. We are really excited and pleased to have him be a member of the Tennessee Titans.
With that, I’d like to open it up for questions.
It’s been kind of a whirlwind, but it’s been the best whirlwind of my life. I got the call yesterday right before they announced it on the TV. It’s hard to put into words what you feel when you get that call and you realize that you’ve been drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the eighth overall pick. It’s a dream come true, and I’m just happy to be a part of an organization like this.
One o’clock in Seattle last night.
You know, I tried not to go into the draft with expectations. I felt good about the process. I felt I did what I wanted to in every step of the process, and then after that was over, I really didn’t have any control anymore. So I was just kind of going to have fun with it, enjoy it and take it for what it was worth.
I’ve had a good opportunity when I came out here for the visit to meet a lot of the organization here and get familiar with them at least and then ran into a lot of them again today, working with them in a lot of different areas today. From the first time I came out here, it’s a family feeling at this organization. They work together really well, they like being at work with each other, and that’s something that I’m looking forward to being a part of.
I felt like it went well, yeah. I played for my dad my whole life, and he had always taught me to respect your coaches, pay attention to them, listen to them, and do your best to do what they ask of you. So that’s all I tried to do when they came up. That’s all I’ve ever known, and that’s how I’ll continue to be.
I think it was a huge help for me, just put more on my plate as a quarterback. I was responsible for more within the offense, from calling plays to making adjustments at the line of scrimmage and the overall content that we carried into a game week. I was asked a lot more of in the last two years, and it helped me be better prepared for this process.
Yeah, we called protections. We had a protection in the huddle, and we had adjustments you could make at the line of scrimmage.
Just makes it more comfortable. I think we brought Jake in for his workout after watching him on tape, and you really don’t know what they’re asked to do a lot. You can watch tape, and you’re not quite sure what he’s being taught on a throw or protection. So I thought we had him in, and myself and Dowell (Loggains) and Chris (Palmer) were able to sit down with him and go through some games and say, ‘OK, give us a huddle call.’ We went through a game with him calling the plays that were called in the huddle. We’d come out, he’d take us through the process, what his thinking was, if it was a pass play, what the coverage was, what he was supposed to do with the ball, what the protection was, ‘OK, here comes this blitz. What can you do here?’ And he could tell us the calls he was allowed to make, and we started implementing kind of what we do here to teach him that and see how he gave it back to us. I think the fact that he’s familiar with a lot of the things we’ll be doing here is a big plus for him. So that was obviously part of the thought process for us going in, that he was already doing a lot of the things we’re going to be asking him to do as he becomes a Titan.
I believe we were watching the Oregon State game together…It was a great game for us. It went into overtime, and we won in two overtimes.
I think that you’re always going through a process of trying to improve, no matter who you are. For me, it’s just consistency. I just want to be consistent, going out and doing the same thing over and over again: taking drops and making them look the same, throwing a curl the same way with the same stride, and just being comfortable, really comfortable doing that is what I focused on throughout this whole process and what I’ll continue to focus on.
I don’t believe any of those are a problem for me. I felt confident in myself as a player my whole career, and I look forward to the opportunity to prove that.
I don’t know if it’s pressure, just I look forward to the opportunity. I told everybody in the organization here throughout this process that my goal was when I do get my opportunity to be prepared for it and take advantage of it and not let it slip through my hands because you only get so many at this level. So I think that coming in, being mentally prepared is probably the biggest part of the process—understanding what you’re doing because if you understand what you’re doing, you’re allowed to play fast. That allows you to have more success, so that’s where my focus will be, and that’s where I’ll spend a lot of my time.
Like I said, I don’t believe I have an accuracy problem. I’m not worried about it, and so then you guys don’t have to be worried about it either (laughing).
It’s nice to point to examples of people that have succeeded, but that’s not why we would do it. Like I said, I think it’s more we feel if Jake is ready, we feel he’s the kind of quarterback that has the ability to possibly be ready to play right away, and we’ll see that as the process starts now. We hope we get into training camp and preseason games, and we’ll see how the development goes. I think you’ll know. I think you’ll watch the games and go, ‘Man, this guy’s ready.’ I don’t think it’s going to be a real hard decision. Yeah, the fact that other people have succeeded is a plus, but that’s not going to make the decision on should we start this guy because someone else did it at the Ravens or the Jets or whatever. If we feel Jake’s ready, then he’ll have that opportunity.
It’s good. It’s obviously a plus that we’ve been able to talk some football while he’s here and spend some time with him today. So we’ll try to get as much done as we can in a short period of time. But like you said, the guy just got off a flight, traveled all night, and he’s been holding up pretty good. We’re trying to take advantage of the time the best we can.
I got a flight out later today, so I knew I was going (laughing) …
It’s a number. It doesn’t matter to me.
At this time, we haven’t even addressed it. At the right time, we will.
Statistics. They look at numbers, and that’s it. I think, you know, that’s what I try to let all the coaches know that sometimes that isn’t the most telling. The numbers aren’t the most telling, and I believe I am an accurate passer, like I told you at the beginning and I’ll continue to tell you. Given the opportunity, I hope to be able to prove that to you guys.
You know, there’s a lot of reasons. They weren’t obviously where I would have liked them to be, but this last year, we were able to win football games. That’s what mattered to me, and that’s what I cared about.
That’s kind of the different part about this process. I didn’t really get a pick where I ended up, but being able to come here, like I said…The city I grew up in, the family I grew up in, I’m very fortunate to have the people around me that I do, and I felt like having the opportunity to get drafted here and come play here was just an extension of that. I wasn’t coming into a program where I’m just going to be a number. I was coming into a program where they took the time to get to know me as a person, not only a player, and they liked who I was as a person and thought I would fit in in this organization and in this clubhouse. That meant something to me and said something to me.
If I can just finish—you know, we do (pre-draft) visits with 30 players. When Jake came to visit everybody, I think you kind of close your eyes and you can imagine Jake Locker as a Titan. We felt comfortable with that from our perspective.
I played three sports my whole life. I played baseball, basketball and football until I got to college, the only time I started playing one. I was drafted out of high school by the Anaheim Angels. I decided not to go play because I love football. I wanted to go play football. I told them no then. I played for a summer league team in 2008, just kind of for fun. My high school coach coached, said, ‘If you want to come play on the weekends, you can.’ So I said, ‘Why not? You know?’ I still did all my football obligations during the week and then would go play on the weekends. I played about 20 games and actually was drafted that next summer by the Angels in the 10th round. At that point, they offered me a contract to hold my rights. I thought it would be stupid not to sign it, so I did, again with the understanding that football’s always been my first love. I love this game. It’s different for me than any other game I’ve ever played. I’ve known that since I’ve been a little kid, and given the opportunity to play football, I will always choose that first.
I touched on it earlier. I’m very fortunate to come from the background that I have. I think if you had an opportunity to have my parents sit up here and talk to you, you’d get an understanding of where that came from and where that’s grounded in. They were great leaders to me. They showed me what it’s like to respect a person, to respect each other, to have accountability to the people around you, loyalty. Those sorts of things that I think make up a good leader I’ve been around my whole life, and so I think it’s just been natural for me because I’ve been so fortunate with the people that I’m surrounded by.
Ken O’Brien worked with our agencies and worked with our quarterbacks, so I had the opportunity to meet him once I signed with Dave (Dunn) after the Bowl game. He’s a great guy and a guy that has been successful in this league and knows what it takes to be successful in this league and has coached guys that have gone on and had good careers in the NFL. He didn’t say a whole lot, but when he said something it made a big difference. I would watch 10 throws and not say anything and then he would tell me one little detail and it would make a big difference in what we were doing within our workouts. I feel like he didn’t try to pick too many things and we picked a few things that we focused on throughout the course of our training and I was able to improve on and consistently get better at. I think that was one of the things we wanted to accomplish throughout that process.
I think one thing he worked on was my stride length. I have a tendency sometimes to over stride and he really focused on keeping my base underneath me and not trying to overthrow. I was really able to focus on that and I think if you watch the process from the Senior Bowl to the Combine to my Pro Day and individual workouts, I got better and better and more consistent with it.
It was an amount of money where my dad wrote it out on a piece of paper and diagramed how many years it would take him working his job to make that much money (laughter). It was a good amount. He would have had to work quite a bit longer to make it.
I’m proud of it (my decision). Life is not about money. Money doesn’t make you happy. It is nice to have financial stability, but it is not the most important thing in life to me. It never has been and never will. The experiences that I got to go through last year and my whole college career are because I turned down that, I’m thankful for. I’m a better person because of it and there are things I will hold on to for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t trade for any amount of money at this point.
Pretty much the Pac-10.
I have said throughout this process you know what you are going to get. I’m going to come out and play as hard as I can. Every time I step on the field, I’m going to give you everything I can and I’m going to be accountable to you. I think that kind of embodies a lot of different things. I’m going to play hurt as long as I can, as long as I’m still going to be effective and those sorts of things. I want to be here for this football team and be a part of it, just like everyone else does.
It was something at times, especially early on in my college career, I was kind of asked to do because it was beneficial to our team, so I didn’t have any problems with it. I also understand that this is a different game played at a different speed with different athletes. To last throughout the course of a season, you have to protect yourself at times and be smart. I will definitely do that.
That is what I really felt good about when I came out and he did the private workout with me, I got good feedback from them just that the things I was working on throughout this process was what I needed to continue to work on. They were encouraged with my progress and he told me that he was happy with how quick I was able to adapt and kind of implement those in my own game.
Like I talked about, the stride length and the release points and a few of those things that we worked on. Staying on top of the ball quite a bit with Ken was something that he also voiced his opinion on.
My all-time high to this point is 113, but that was the only time that I didn’t hit it on my feet. That has been my best one to this point. I am consistently right around 100.
He told me to do it once a day, but I couldn’t keep telling him that I was getting in the 80s. I had to bump it up a little bit, so I started to improve.
I think it is going to be great. I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to spend a lot of time here but from what I have heard about it, I have listened to country music all my life and it is all I listen to, so I know I will love that aspect of it. Just having the opportunity to spend a few short days here, the people’s generosity and how they welcomed me here it has made me feel at home. I have heard nothing different from anybody else that has lived here.
I like to be outside. I’ve gotten into hunting since I have been in college and spending time outside with my friends and family.
I think like we said, when you see the work ethic and the time he is putting in, I think he will earn the respect right away with that. I think when they see how hard he is working at his profession to be the best that they realize how much is part on a quarterback with the checks and the playcalling and getting us in and out of plays. I think that is something right away guys appreciate knowing the hard work that goes into it. I think we talked about sliding, he is the kind of guy that if you need six yards he is going to get the first down before he slides. They are going to realize that he is going to put that kind of effort in. They are going to see his energy in the huddle. All those things to me are what we saw on tape and in person in his personal workout when he was working with Chris (Palmer) and his attitude there. I think those are things being an ex-player for a lot of years being around players, it is something that really stood out to me in a short period of time. Those will be things that will be easy for the players to really feed off of.
I think he has experience at that. I think he has been through a season where they didn’t win a football game and they held the team together. He is one of the rare quarterbacks that come out that has experienced that much lack of success in certain areas. The success story is that he stayed in and that he comes back and they go to a Bowl game last year. You asked earlier about coming out, that was important to him to be a part of the class that he came in with and find a way to turn that program around. For us to watch stuff like that is impressive knowing that he has been through some tough times even as a college player. It is a lot different in the NFL obviously, but we have seen him do it and still succeed and we talked to some of the people around him and it is very impressive to hear how he was on the team when this was going on. Those were the things that were encouraging to us.
We have had some calls back and forth and there are some people that want to move up right now, but most people want to see kind of what happens a little bit. We are in a position there are some guys we like, I don’t see us moving up.
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