Jake Locker said on Saturday that the wanted to play another position while his thumb was healing. Tim Lappano said you have to ask the head man about that.
Ty Willingham said last night there are 6-7 other positions that Jake could possibly play on the team. Obviously any of those positions would have to take into account the injured thumb. So for example running back or wide receiver would be out.
I have seen many defensive backs over the years keep playing with broken fingers and thumbs so it is not out of the realm of possibility that we could see Jake after the bye week lining up at Safety. Johri Fogerson was able to do it after two weeks of practice so Jake really shouldn't have a problem doing it too
I guess it all comes down to what the hand surgeon saw yesterday when he operated. The official word was not good. The thumb was shattered and it means that it will up to eight weeks before Jake can return to QB. When he does return he is going to be pretty rusty and Ronnie Fouch on the other hand is going to be a more polished product.
Here are a few givens. Jake is a competitor and he wants to get back on the field to help his team. He is undeniably the best athlete and football player on his team. The hand will be wrapped up in a cast and padded so chances are about nil that he will re-injure it. Jake has the potential to be a Taylor Mays type safety.
The question is should the head coach allow it?
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times thinks Willingham should be fired immediately if he lets Locker back on the field at any position other than QB. Most of the media feel that it reeks of desperation to put him back out there at another position. As if 0-4 doesn't scream desperation anyway. The main reason they give is playing another position may risk further injury.
Tyrone is correct in stating that anytime you walk out on the football field no matter what position you are at you are risking injury. Just ask kicker Ryan Perkins whose career was torn apart by one of the worst knee injuries you will ever see in a spring football practice simply attempting a field goal. Injuries are just a part of football.
Quarterback's can't survive without their arms. A shoulder injury could theoretically be even worse than a broken thumb. A torn labrum or rotator cuff could even ruin a football career for a QB not to mention a promising baseball prospect. Since defensive backs do a lot of hitting, especially on this squad, a possible shoulder injury would be the main concern if you put Jake back int he role of the enforcer.
Bob Schloredt played both ways as a standout Husky QB in the early 1960's. The game was single platoon which meant the players started both ways. Bob was probably a better safety than he was a QB. Bob and Jake have a lot in common and I am surprised that it isn't brought up more in the conventional media. Perhaps it is because those guys aren't old enough or were not raised in the area.
I do know one thing and that Jake won't be playing against Arizona. He needs a little time to recover from the surgery. The bones need to start knitting a bit, the incision has to heal, and the swelling needs to go down. The bye week comes at a good time because he could be out on the field again when Oregon State rolls into town.I think it would be great if Jake could lay some licks on the guys that knocked him out of the game last year and put him in an ambulance,
In the end the hand surgeon will make the ultimate call on when Jake can come back. If he is deemed healthy enough to play another position to help the team Ty is going to let him do it. Don't confuse it at all with desperation though. I think Jake playing another position is not an act of desperation by a struggling coach. It is more a coaches sign of respect to the spirit of Jake Locker and the joy of playing the game rather than waiting till next season to start all over.
If Jake is healthy enough to play and he is one of the best athletes on the field he should be permitted to make his own decision. Jake after all isn't just a QB, he is a complete football player just like Bob Schloredt was fifty years ago. Special players have a hard time sitting on the bench when they know they can contribute to help their team win. Leave this one up to Jake.