Backup quarterback will be a central figure in next week's Titans' minicamp

Jake Locker won’t be running the offense next week when the Tennessee Titans go through a three-day voluntary minicamp.

That’s good news to first-year coach Ken Whisenhunt. It means that backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who knows Whisenhunt’s offense, will be the one under center during 11-on-11 (team) periods and seven-on-seven passing drills.

“In my opinion, Charlie is a good football player,” Whisenhunt said Thursday. “He gets a chance to come out here and do some of the things that he’s more comfortable with than 99 percent of the guys in this building.

“When your quarterback is comfortable with the offense, understands the terminology, understands what you’re looking for I think that can help us.”

Whitehurst was the backup quarterback at San Diego last season when Whisenhunt was offensive coordinator there. The Titans signed him (and released Ryan Fitzpatrick) this offseason because of that experience, which did not include a pass in a regular-season game.

Locker, the presumed starter once the regular season commences, is still in recovery from foot surgery last November. His involvement next week will be limited, at best.

“He’ll get the opportunity to be in the meetings and maybe we can integrate him into some of the individual stuff,” Whisenhunt said. “He won’t do any of the team things. … It’s premature to say what he will do. If he does something, it won’t be of any real significance other than maybe just standing in place and throwing some balls to guys when we’re doing some individual routes.”

Whisenhunt expects Locker to have a larger role in afternoon walkthroughs, when the team will be split in two with the starters on one field and reserves. In those cases, both groups will go through 70 plays simultaneously.

In those cases, Whitehurst’s experience will be spread among both sides.

“What I’ve thought about is there is value to having Charlie there and splitting it between Jake and Charlie just because of the interaction between those two when they talk about it,” Whisenhunt said. “But there’s also value to having Charlie on the other field because then you feel like you can just put him over there and let it go.

“I think it will probably be a little bit of a combination of both.”