There was plenty to take away from the Titans’ 27-10 victory over the Eagles in Week 1 of the 2019 preseason. Perhaps the most impressive came from backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill, formerly of the Dolphins.
On Thursday Tannehill completed 12 of 16 passes for 130 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. It was a performance that further cements his position as Marcus Mariota’s backup and some insurance for if/when Mariota goes down to injury.
With that said, let’s quickly get to Tannehill’s performance on the night and analyze some key plays.
As his stat line would suggest, Tannehill was consistently sharp. He was never a great quarterback in Miami, but I always thought he was a starting caliber passer there, playing well under pressure and could make impressive plays outside the pocket (I have high doubts he can do that again due to numerous knee injuries).
Inside the pocket at Philadelphia the Titans QB looked impressive. On this third and short the Eagles condense the pocket with pressure on Tannehill’s near side. He’s able to keep calm, cycle his reads, and locate Taywan Taylor. Unfortunately, Taylor drops what should have been a first down.
Moving on to a more positive play, Tannehill again progresses through his reads on the goal line. His first read is #15 (Darius Jennings), but the Eagles defense sniffs that out. The quarterback pump fakes and moves onto his next read, managing to locate Michael Pruitt with a nice strike for the touchdown.
This time Taylor hangs onto this pass. It’s a little behind him (initiating a personal foul penalty on the Eagles DB for lowering his head to initiate contact), but it’s a first down conversation on 3rd and 10 nonetheless.
The pass from Tannehill here isn’t 100% precise, but it’s catchable enough and this is a play Taylor has to make. The third-year starter has struggled with drops throughout his career in Tennessee, frustrating Titans fans, many of which are demanding him be cut.
On the bright side, at least the Titans offensive line kept Tannehill clean on this play, so this snap wasn’t a total loss.
On yet another third and long, Tannehill connected to move the chains. The pass here has the perfect amount of velocity and trajectory as he fires a dart to receiver Karif Raymond. I do appreciate the Titans keeping guys like Taylor Lewan out there for their backup. In theory they could give Tannehill a test with the backup guys on the line, but I don’t think they’d want to get a QB they traded for hurt.
And, of course, we can’t talk about Tannehill’s night without a look at his second touchdown (to Anthony Firkser).
I don’t have much to say about this that hasn’t already been said. This is a beautiful touch pass to Firkser.
Simply put, Ryan Tannehill had himself a hell of a preseason debut in Tennessee. I suppose there will be people clamoring for him to takeover Mariota as the starting QB, but to me I think he’s beginning to cement himself as one of the better backup options at the position. His accuracy, poise, and timing were all top notch on Thursday, and I look forward to seeing what more he can do this preseason.