Assessing The Tennessee Titans With Ryan Tannehill At Quarterback

The Tennessee Titans looked dreadful offensively against the Denver Broncos last week, particularly quarterback Marcus Mariota. Although his performance statistically wasn’t all his fault, there were some errant throws and some missed opportunities that were his responsibility.

Seeking a spark, the Titans pulled Mariota against the Broncos and inserted veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Although Tannehill did not put any points on the board against Denver, the Titans liked what they saw from him and named him the starter against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Against the Chargers, the Titans’ newest starting quarterback was 23 of 29 for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Along the way he did some great things that helped Tennessee get the win.

One thing Tannehill did well was accurately deliver the football. His numbers reflect the accuracy but there were more than just his numbers to show how on-point he was with some of his passes.

One example was on the first touchdown pass of the game from him in the second quarter. The Titans lined up in a bunch set to the right of the formation with tight end Jonnu Smith and wide receiver Corey Davis right near each other in the formation. Jonnu ran a corner route while Davis broke inside.

There was tight coverage and there was only one spot to put the ball to give Davis a chance to catch it. Tannehill threw the football on time and it was exactly where it was supposed to be with some smoke coming off of it.

The result was a touchdown for the Titans. Tannehill showed accuracy on that play and many others throughout the game and that gave the Titans a good chance to be consistently on the field instead of leaving their defense out there for majority of the game.

Along with the accuracy, Tannehill also showed some quick decision-making. One big criticism of Mariota was he would hold on to the ball too long when there were opportunities to make plays.

With Tannehill, the ball was definitely coming out faster than with Mariota. The result was less pressure on the Titans’ offensive line to hold their blocks and more plays made in the passing game, prolonging drives.

While there were some positive things Tannehill did, there was one negative that has to be addressed. While he was decisive in the pocket and generally good with the football, his pocket awareness at times was not good. The protection breaking down is something that rings familiar for the Titans but he has to have more pocket presence.

A quarterback has to have a mental clock at all times. Along with that, Tannehill also has to feel the rush around him. A couple of times in the game versus the Chargers, he did not recognize the rush and it almost cost him a turnover.

While attempting to throw the football, he was hit on a sack by Joey Bosa. The result of the play was a fumble by Tannehill. Luckily the Titans retained possession of the football but that play could have been disastrous for the Titans.

That type of indecision in the pocket is what got Mariota benched in the first place, so Tannehill would be wise to clean up that part of his game.

The Titans got the win and that’s all that matters for Tennessee. Tannehill did a lot of good things to help the Titans get back on the winning track. The next thing to watch for with Tannehill is consistency and that starts with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday.

Mike Patton

Nashville, Tennessee

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