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The Real Reason Matt Cassel is the Titans 2nd String QB

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It’s really Alex Tanney’s Fault

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s jump in the Wayback Machine and return to the Titans final game of the 2015 season. Zach Mettenberger was starting for the the about to be 3-13 Titans attempting to play spoiler in the final game of the season against the Indianapolis Colts. That was until he threw a pick six to start the second half, which ended his day capping his stats off at an abysmal 5/13 for 38 yards and an interception.

And in came Alex Tanney.

Tanney had actually looked decent in the preseason that year but was still an afterthought in most fans mind. He entered that Colt’s game behind the eight-ball but made the most of his opportunity. He played the bulk of the second half going 10/14 for 99 yards and a touchdown. And honestly, he looked good doing it. He looked poise, in command of the offense and even relatively mobile.

The next time we saw Tanney was during the Titans 2016 pre-season. His showing was decent and he ended up 37/49 for 357 yards, a completion percentage of 75.7%, one TD, and two picks. Meanwhile Matt Cassel had signed a one year deal with the Titans, and in September the quarterback hungry Browns came knocking on Tanney’s door while he was on the Titan’s practice squad. The Titans promptly gave the 3rd string QB a roughly $24,000/ week raise in order to stay with them.

At this point, all signs were pointing to Tanney being the #2 behind Mariota after Cassel’s one year deal ran out. But then something happened. Tanney somehow regressed.

His 2017 preseason campaign looked nothing like the year before. His completion percentage dropped to a 46.3 after going 31/67 and 2 picks during his 4 outings. The icing on the cake was when he broke his foot during the last game sending him to season ending IR.

It seems to me that the Titans had faith in Tanney as evidence by the active roster money he was paid while on the practice squad, and at the time it was the right move. Yet, by the time the preseason had played out in 2017, the Titans were forced to roll with what they had in Matt Cassel and keep their fingers crossed.

Unfortunately it looks like Cassel’s age has caught up with him rapidly as well. There’s a lot of NFL teams that don’t even think they have one quarterback, let alone two. There’s very few that have full faith in the back up to win multiple games. But it would be nice to have one that could help your balanced team win 1 out of 3, or maybe 2 out of 4 games while your starter was out. The Titans are obviously not one of those teams right now, and Jon Robinson needs to address it this off season.