Is He Still The Guy? Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill has been the hot topic of discussion as the quarterback of this team since the divisional round game and rightfully so as the Titans have now suffered back to back years of a first round exit in the playoffs.

To paint the whole picture I need to start at the beginning about my initial thoughts about Ryan Tannehill. During Ryan’s time in Miami as their starting quarterback it always seemed that he had potential but was always hurt and unavailable during the Dolphin’s most important games. I am not a Dolphins fan so I know very little about how Tannehill was during his time in Miami and only saw what the national media reported. I remember hearing that he had the talent but was never fully available for the season, he wasn’t quite the leader at quarterback that the Dolphins had wanted, and sometimes didn’t get along with his teammates and coaches. After seven years the Dolphins decided to split from Tannehill hence sending him here to Nashville. Now this was all I heard about Tannehill and I was not a fan of the trade at the time. Marcus Mariota was under a lot of scrutiny and Tannehill was brought in to push Mariota despite the coaching staff and GM Jon Robinson saying that there was no quarterback competition but I was not buying it.

During the preseason Tannehill play well and I remember thinking that this was a good sign from our backup it was not great for Mariota if he struggled. Fast forward to week 6 in Denver and Mariota was eventually benched in favor of Tannehill, a decision I also did not support at the time. Well, Tannehill would go on to play extremely well for this team and was a part of the reason why they made it all the way to the AFC championships that year. After bringing home the Comeback Player of the Year Award, Tannehill (as well as the offensive) would go on to have a historically great offensive season the following year. It was here that people started to turn their opinions on Tannehill, myself included.

I was never a true fan of Tannehill and never quite believed in him from his time in Miami. A lot of this was unwarranted and unfair on my part. However, his play on the field for us was undeniable and showed that perhaps he was never given a fair chance in Miami. At this point I believed that Tannehill can be a quarterback that can help us win the superbowl. I didn’t think that he could lead us by himself but if he did what he was supposed to I definitely thought we can win a ring with him. He showed this in the 2019 playoffs as the Titans spearheaded through King Henry with Tannehill doing exactly what he is supposed to do, not doing too much and not making mistakes. However, come the 2020 wild card round and the Titans fell at home to the Ravens on a game ending interception. At this point it was an unfortunate end to the season and many Titans fans still supported Tannehill, me included.

Fast forward to this season; Ryan Tannehill had a statistically bad season for us and did not look like the Tannehill from the previous year. Now many of this is attributed to a multitude of reasons such as the multiple injuries this team faced, the lack of depth in various positions, the inconsistent play calling and o-line play. Credit where credit is due, Tannehill never complained and played throughout the season with many handicaps.

I was not a Ryan Tannehill supporter from the beginning but his play on the field gave me no choice but to support him. Even when the team lost in the first round last year to the Ravens I could’ve turn on Tannehill but I didn’t. However, this last playoff game is the final straw. I never thought that Ryan Tannehill could be a Tom Brady, or Aaron Rogers, or Russell Wilson who could lead their team despite their team’s shortcomings and weaknesses. Our driving force ran through Derrick Henry and Tannehill was simply a supporter behind Derrick Henry.

Come playoff time in the divisional round and we all know what happened. Ryan Tannehill threw three interceptions and after a poor outing from our offense we lost that game. I am not saying that Tannehill is the sole reason we lost that game but he certainly is a big reason why we lost. All Tannehill had to do was not do too much and not make any mistakes but he made a lot of mistakes. There are a few things with Tannehill that makes it feel like he is holding the team back.

Firstly, Tannehill doesn’t seem to have control or leadership of the offense. Every game there seems to be a drive or series where he is unaware of the counting play clock and has to bail out by a timeout. It also seems that he doesn’t have control of the play calling and just go with the plays called. There were several moments when the play calling was atrocious and Tannehill should’ve changed the play. Small things like these make me question whether he truly has command of this offense like a quarterback should.

Furthermore, Tannehill has the tendency to lock onto his receivers and make too quick of a decision on the play. Tannehill’s quick decision making is a double edge sword in that it’s good he can make quick progression but it also means that he doesn’t give the play time to develop. If he is more patient and allows the play to develop he can have a potentially better play than the check down or quick pass to the open receiver. I think that this affects his rapport with many of the receivers as well. It seemed that Tannehill never had great rapport with Corey Davis the way he does with AJ Brown. It was also apparent with Julio Jones. We’ve all seen Tannehill’s tendency to lock onto his receivers. Many times Tannehill would already have decided where to go with the ball and would blankly stare his receiver down despite them being open or not. A perfect example of both of these issues was the interception against the Ravens in the wild card round. Tannehill locks onto Kalif Raymond and threw it to him in coverage when he had AJ Brown gaining separation down the left sideline. This play perfectly shows Tannehill’s tendency to stare down his receiver and his too quick decision making that could’ve been better if he was more patient. Not to mention, Tannehill did the same thing in the playoff game against the Bengals in that game sealing interception staring down his receiver and throwing it when he should not have.

Look, I’m not trying to bash on Ryan Tannehill but I think at this point I’m over him. Unless everything is set up perfectly for him from play calling, to player personnel I don’t think Tannehill can truly carry a team on his own. Not to mention after the playoff exit we had as a fan I don’t like that he did not show up to voluntary workouts. Not a good look after his last game we saw him play. While I do think he is an above average starter it is apparent what his ceiling is and to get to where we want to we either need to put the best supporting cast around him and hope he doesn’t mess things up or find someone else.