Ryan Tannehill Took the High Road After the Tennessee Titans Blindsided Him by Picking Malik Willis

Ryan Tannehill can’t seem to win lately as the quarterback of the Tennessee Titans. He’s experienced disappointing losses on the field and the loss of a valued teammate off the field. Tannehill’s also delt with the organization blindsiding him by picking rookie signal-caller Malik Willis in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Despite all these tough times, Tannehill showed maturity and leadership, and that might be enough for him to keep his starting job in 2022.

It’s been a rough few months for Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill 

Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill has had a rough go of it the last few months. After leading his team — sans Derrick Henry — to the best regular-season record in the AFC in 2021, things went downhill from there.

First, the Cincinnati Bengals unceremoniously dumped the Titans out of the playoffs in the Nashville-based squad’s first game. Tannehill was a major factor in that loss, throwing three interceptions against just 222 yards and one touchdown.

After that performance, Tannehill says he needed therapy to help him escape the “dark place” he went to following the high-profile loss.

The next hit Tannehill took was during the 2022 NFL Draft. Hit number one came during the first round when the team traded his top wide receiver, A.J. Brown, to the Philadelphia Eagles. The trade “shocked” the QB and Tannehill even said he even woke up the next morning, “thinking it was just a bad dream,” per NFL.com’s Nick Shook.

The hits just kept on coming, though, in Round 3. That’s when — in another move that Tannehill didn’t know was coming — the Titans selected Liberty quarterback Malik Willis with the No. 86.

Willis didn’t rise to the level of a first-round pick. However, he is widely regarded as the signal-caller with the most upside of all the passers drafted in the Class of 2022.

Despite not knowing about the Willis pick, Tannehill reportedly reached out to the rookie

Already reeling from the playoff loss and the A.J. Brown trade, the Tennessee Titans drafting Malik Willis could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for Ryan Tannehill.

However, reports are that Tannehill did the classy thing and called Willis right after the pick to congratulate him and welcome him to the team. NFL Network reporter James Palmer tweeted about how things went down.

“Ryan Tannehill said he wasn’t informed ahead of time that the #titans were drafting Malik Willis, Palmer reported. “He did call Willis right after he was drafted to congratulate him.”

That move shows what a mature leader Tannehill is. And which is one of the reasons he’s been successful in Tennessee. The former Texas A&M Aggie has an excellent 30-13 record with the franchise and has won two playoff games in three seasons.

All that said, Tannehill doesn’t seem happy about the Willis pick. He’s already told the media, “I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him,” once the 2022 season starts in earnest. 

Could the Titans’ veteran QB lose his job in 2022?

Ryan Tannehill of the Tennessee Titans who called rookie QB Malik Willis after the team drafted him.
Ryan Tannehill | Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Despite the calls for Ryan Tannehill to lose his job after the devastating loss to the Bengals, he is still likely the best option for 2022.

The Tennessee Titans will once again be at their best next season as a running-based offense that leans on All-Pro Derrick Henry. If he stays healthy, handing the ball off will be the plan all year.

If Henry isn’t available again this year, though, it could be a problem. In the two seasons Henry and Tannehill have played together with Henry healthy, the QB threw a combined 13 INTs. In the year mostly without his star RB, Tannehill threw 14.

That might mean that if the Titans need to throw more this season, the rocket-armed Malik Willis could be the answer. However, new reports say that the reason Willis dropped from a presumed first-round pick to a third-rounder is because he is “nowhere near NFL-ready,” a source told ESPN’s Brady Henderson.

If this is true, it seems like a team with Super Bowl aspirations like the Titans will have to lean on their veteran signal-caller this season, whether they want to or not.

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