Titans Zach Mettenberger: 'We don't play this game to ride the bench'

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Zach Mettenberger might be a rookie but he's looking to start. (USATSI)
Zach Mettenberger might be a rookie but he's happy to ride the pine. (USATSI)

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This should come as no surprise, but Titans rookie sixth-round pick, quarterback Zach Mettenberger, wants to be the Week 1 starter, incumbent Jake Locker be damned. You can go up and down the roster and hopefully that's what every player would say. But the problem is that it's the rare occasion that late-round quarterbacks have much in the way of NFL success at any point in their usually short careers. But more on that in a minute.

“If I was drafted and [SiriusXM NFL Radio host Mark Brunell] is the vet, I'm coming for his job from Day 1,” Mettenberger said over the weekend during an appearance on SiriusXM. “That's my attitude. If I don't win the job, I'm pushing, in this scenario, pushing Mark to be the best guy for the job. I'm going to make Jake work that much harder, make Charlie [Whitehurst] work that much harder, cause I'm coming everyday. And I'm bringing my best effort and my hardest work to the facility everyday to show that I shot be the guy playing.”

As a coaching staff, it's exactly what you want in a young backup. But as we mentioned, if Mettenberger ends up on the field, more than likely it means that Locker (barring injury) was underwhelming during training camp. Presumably, it's not exactly how first-year coach Ken Whisenhunt wants to go into the season.

As we noted shortly after the draft, save Tom Brady, late-round quarterbacks seldom turn into quality NFL starters. In fact, history suggests that QBs taken on Day 3 will, on average, play two NFL seasons, never be his team's primary starter, will sport a 2-5 career record (if he's lucky), complete 54.7 percent of his passes and throw 3 touchdowns against 6 interceptions.

So there's that. But Mettenberger isn't interested in stats. His job is to push Locker to be better, and if that means more playing time for him, even better.

“I think that's the approach any guy worth his salt has,” Mettenberger said. “You're not only thinking about the short team, but you also have a long-term view of yourself as a player and a person. We don't play this game to ride the bench, you don't play this game to just get a paycheck -- at least the good ones don't. You play this game because you love it, you love competing, and you wanna play. That's what I'm doing.”

 
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