We live in a world of extremes. We no longer look at a problem and talk about the various reasons that problem exists. We have to find the ONE THING THAT IS WRONG AND YELL ABOUT IT.
Well, that’s stupid, and we are going to be smarter than that here. All of that is a long lead-in to a discussion about Ryan Tannehill. The #hottaeks on Twitter yesterday ranged from Logan Woodside should start against the Patriots to none of this can be blamed on Tannehill. Neither of those things is true. The fact of the matter is that Tannehill was bad yesterday. He was a big reason the Tennessee Titans lost to the Houston Texans but wasn't the only reason.
Tannehill has regressed this year. You need to look no further than the fact that he has already thrown 12 interceptions this year while throwing only 13 in all of 2019 and 2020 combined. That’s a problem. Tannehill said in his postgame presser yesterday that every interception has a story. It is pretty clear to me that his 3rd interception yesterday was because Dez Fitzpatrick ran the wrong route:
There’s also the “Tannehill is only good because of Henry” crowd. Is there some truth to that, absolutely there is. Having better players around a quarterback is always going to make a quarterback better. As I said last night on Homerun Throwback, listen here, there are only a handful of quarterbacks on the planet that are going to be good without good play around them. Ryan Tannehill isn’t one of those guys. Does that mean he isn’t good? Of course, it doesn’t.
Then there is the Todd Downing issue. One thing we know is that Ryan Tannehill is at his best when play action is a significant part of the offense. Take a look at these numbers:
According to PFF, here are the % of PA plays called by the #Titans so far in 2021— Football & Other F Words (@FWordsPod) November 22, 2021
1: 11.6% - L*
2: 31.1% - W
3: 41.9% - W
4: 21.1% - L
5: 34.6% - W
6: 31% - W
7: 40% - W
8: 33.3% - W
9: 36.7% - W
10: 23.3% - W°
11: 9.6% - L^
* 1 of 2, 39 yds
° 7 of 7, 67 yds
^ 2 of 5, 15 yds
Why Downing doesn’t call play action more is something that I just cannot understand. The best offensive play callers in the league design their offenses to put their quarterback in the best situation to succeed. Downing doesn’t always do that. Hopefully, he will take the bye to “self-scout” and incorporate that more.
The bottom line here is that Derrick Henry isn’t walking through that door anytime soon. Two things need to happen until he gets back:
- Tannehill has to eliminate the dumb throws that lead to an interception. He seems to have one of those a week this year. The first interception yesterday is a perfect example of that.
- Downing has to figure out a way to put Tannehill in the best situation to succeed. That starts with making play action a staple of the offense every single game.
The Titans can win a Super Bowl with Tannehill. There is no doubt in my mind about that, but the right scheme has to be in place for that to happen. So go easy on the #hottaeks. It isn’t time for the Titans to be looking to move on from Tannehill.