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Titans talk up open competition between Locker, Hasselbeck

Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Locker

Tennessee Titans quarterbacks Matt Hasselbeck, left, and Jake Locker (10) talk during NFL football training camp on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


The best quarterback will play in Tennessee next year, even if it’s Jake Locker.

That was the message sent loud and clear Thursday here at the Scouting Combine by Titans G.M. Ruston Webster and coach Mike Munchak. Both men called the quarterback position an “open competition” for next year.

The news is not a surprise, but the clarity of the message indicated Locker has a legitimate chance to win the job. The No. 8 overall pick played very well in a relief role last year. Munchak said it would be “obvious” if Locker is ready. The team knows what it has in Hasselbeck. Webster said Hasselbeck played very well.

Some other highlights from the Titans:

1. Webster said it would be difficult to lose both cornerback Cortland Finnegan and safety Michael Griffin. A decision about the franchise tag will come down to the last minute. That comment seemed to indicate the team would be willing to use the tag if they had to. Webster said he “expects” Finnegan to return, like all of the team’s free agent. Which isn’t really saying anything.

2. The team recognized they need defensive ends. Webster said you never want to overpay at any position, but defensive end is one position you have to pay for quality.

3. Munchak later said the team was “bracing” for the loss of Finnegan and it would be crazy if they weren’t.