Locker ‘sloppy’ in first start

NFL NOTEBOOK: Ex-UW star Jake Locker recovers after early interception in Titans’ exhibition victory

McClatchy news servicesAugust 18, 2012 

Tennessee Titans second-year quarterback Jake Locker didn’t have an ideal outing in his first NFL start, but the former University of Washington star recovered from a first-quarter interception to help lead a 30-7 exhibition win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday in Tampa, Fla.

Locker finished 4 of 11 for 21 yards and an interception, and he rushed two times for 24 yards – including a 21-yard scramble on the Titans’ first touchdown drive.

Titans coach Mike Munchak said Locker “made a bad decision on the one throw” but bounced back well.

Locker played all but one series in the first half

“I think today was a little sloppy,” Locker said. “We need to clean up, but the encouraging part was that we were able to put points on the board.”

Chris Johnson ran for two touchdowns and Rob Bironas kicked three field goals for the Titans.

STEWART SCORES TD IN PANTHERS’ WIN

Running back Jonathan Stewart, a former star at Timberline High School in Lacey, ran for a touchdown in the Carolina Panthers’ 23-17 exhibition victory over the Miami Dolphins.

Stewart, who signed a five-year, $36.5 million contract extension last week, scored on a 2-yard run with 6 minutes, 31 seconds to go in the first quarter to put Carolina ahead 10-0.

He finished with five carries for 8 yards and one catch for 1 yard.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, last year’s AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, completed 8 of 11 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown.

Miami rookie Ryan Tannehill, making his first preseason start, played the entire first half and finished 11 of 23 for 100 yards passing.

MORE HIGHLIGHTS

John Skelton made a brief appearance in his battle with Kevin Kolb for Arizona’s starting quarterback job – just long enough to throw the first touchdown pass for either player this preseason. Skelton’s 3-yard toss to a wide open Anthony Sherman was part of a 17-point second quarter by Arizona, and the Cardinals beat the Oakland Raiders, 31-27. … Jordan Palmer hit Kevin Elliott with an 11-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 13 seconds left, lifting the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 27-24 win over the New Orleans Saints. Jaguars starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert completed 13 of 16 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns – the first a 16-yard strike to rookie Justin Blackmon. … Matthew Stafford threw two TD passes, and Calvin Johnson had five catches for 111 yards and a score as the Detroit Lions topped the Baltimore Ravens, 27-12. … Christian Ponder threw a first-quarter touchdown pass in a sharp three-possession appearance, and the Minnesota Vikings breezed past the Buffalo Bills, 36-14.

FORMER SEAHAWK RAY WILLIS RETIRES

Former Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Ray Willis has told the Kansas City Chiefs that he is retiring.

The Chiefs announced Willis’ decision on Friday.

Willis made 26 starts and played in 44 games in five seasons with Seattle, where he had the most success. He had bounced through the Dolphins, Saints and Jets over the past couple years before signing with the Chiefs before training camp.

Willis joined the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick by the Seahawks in 2005.

EXTRA POINTS

The Patriots agreed to terms with Olympic silver medalist Jeff Demps, who played running back at Florida but was not drafted by an NFL team because he said he wanted to focus on his track career. The 5-foot-7, 191-pound Demps, who earned the Olympic silver medal in the 4x100 relay, had 2,470 career yards rushing and 23 touchdowns in four seasons with the Gators. … Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe signed his franchise tender after skipping Kansas City’s entire offseason program and the beginning of training camp. He will make about $9.5 million this season after the two sides failed to reach a long-term deal by the July 16 deadline. … Eagles quarterback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was fined $21,000 by the NFL for a hit on Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich in an exhibition game last week.

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