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Titans coach Mike Munchak: Ryan Fitzpatrick 'will know his role'

By Tim Graham

The Tennessee Titans want Ryan Fitzpatrick to be a backup, but they realize they might have to play him if starting quarterback Jake Locker, vulnerable on the run, gets banged up.

"I think he understands his role," Titans coach Mike Munchak said today of Fitzpatrick, the former Buffalo Bills starter. "We made a decision last year after training camp that Jake's going into camp and our OTAs knowing that he's the quarterback."

Locker, the eighth pick in the 2011 draft, started 11 games for the Titans last year. He missed five with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder.

In his place, veteran backup Matt Hasselbeck went 2-3, including a last-minute victory over the Bills in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Hasselbeck declined to reduce his $5.5 million base salary for the upcoming season and got cut Monday. The Titans quickly signed Fitzpatrick, whom the Bills released for similar reasons last week.

Locker has "got to stay healthy," Munchak said. "That was probably the biggest problem last year. It was hard to judge him.

"Ryan will know his role. Ryan's been in this situation before. He knows that Jake is going to be the guy. [Fitzpatrick] is going to be the No. 2. He's going to compete with him and help him a lot throughout the week. He's been in the league. He's been through the ups and downs of the NFL. He can win if he has to play.

"That's how we felt with Matt Hasselbeck also. Unfortunately, we have a quarterback who runs around a little bit. So there's a chance that that second quarterback is going to play a lot."


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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |