There’s an offseason cycle in the NFL that must be fed at all times. It usually goes something like this: fans need–no, crave–something of substance to talk about, and the easiest source of controversy is a position competition. So we scrutinize every one of them, and the competitions are either denied vigorously, or more often acknowledged openly when in truth there isn’t much of a competition at all.

Hell, we don’t mind. We’re often very much in the business of trolling talking about stuff in June that may or may not deserve to be discussed. The competitions most often focused on are at the quarterback position, and the best example of a fabricated competition this offseason is anything that’s ever written about Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez.

But one writer believes there’s at least one more QB shootout that’s being way overhyped. Educate us, David Climer:

They say it’s too close to call. Hasselbeck and Locker have been splitting snaps evenly with the first-team offense in minicamp sessions. The competition will continue when training camp opens at the end of July.
Are you buying this? I’m not.

There’s a difference between listing two quarterbacks on the same line on a depth chart and ranking them dead even. They may be 1-A and 1-B, but I suspect Hasselbeck is solidly ahead of Locker entering the final minicamp sessions.

He should be. Hasselbeck has started 158 NFL games. Locker? Zero. Even Titans third-teamer Rusty Smith has more career starts than Locker — one, in 2010.

It’s a very true, and very simple fact that Hasselbeck has far more experience than Locker. It’s also true that someday the parental figures on the Titans’ sideline will have to hand Locker the keys to the offense, and hope he doesn’t run over the flower pots while backing out of the driveway. He was arguably a reach as an early first-round pick last spring, but that’s the road the Titans chose.

Hasselbeck was signed as a trusted veteran to be a bridge, and eventually Tennessee will have to bravely wonder to the other side of that bridge. But there’s little need for urgency now, especially after a strong finish last year that nearly landed the Titans a wild card spot. They won four of their last six games–a stretch that included a loss to the Saints by less than a touchdown–and they finished with a 9-7 record, but were edged out by the Bengals, who owned the tiebreaker.

There are definitely “ifs “around this team. If Chris Johnson can remotely resemble himself from two years ago, Hasselbeck (or Locker) will feel even more comfortable in the pocket. And if Kenny Britt returns fully healthy, the pressure on Kendall Wright to perform at a high level right away will be minimized.

But starting Locker could add another unnecessary question mark for a playoff-caliber team in a weak division with the exception of Houston.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • Percy Harvin has reportedly requested a trade, a request that almost surely won’t be granted. But why would he even bother when he can just jump a fence to freedom? [Classic absurdity from KSK]
  • The story of a Saints fan who’s ready to move on from Bountygate, and the dreadful offseason of 2012. [Canal Street Chronicles]
  • One day, Andre Johnson will retire. And when that day comes, is the Texans’ passing offense screwed? [Battle Red Blog]
  • Narratives are fun because they’re easy to create and feed. A classic one is the claim that Tony Romo can’t win big games, and that he pads his stats during wins over bad teams. A simple look at numbers–those odd, foreign squiggly lines with numerical value–shows there’s no truth to that whatsoever. [Blogging The Boys]
  • The Raiders are looking into Cedric Benson. [Bill Williamson]
  • Drew Brees has apologized for offending anyone with his WMD tweet, proving once again that any public statement in 2012 has to be thoroughly screened by the ministry of thought. [SI]
  • Chad Ochocinco spoke to the media for the first time yesterday since being signed by the Dolphins. He said he wants to “get back to basics” and become Chad Johnson again, and he also made a Brokeback Mountain reference. If that’s not basics for mad Chad, I’m lost. [Josh Katzowitz]