The Tennessee Titans became a different caliber of team when they replaced Marcus Mariota in the lineup with Ryan Tannehill, back in 2019. Tannehill has been one of the league’s most efficient passers since his ascension into the starter’s role, but he’s also been an incredibly low-volume, low-risk, low-ceiling player in an offense largely based around the talents of Derrick Henry.
The Titans won’t be able to run that style of offense forever, and with Tannehill getting into his mid-30s, Tennessee decided to drat a potential successor to its starter when it nabbed Malik Willis after he dropped into the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. In the wake of that selection, Tannehill’s assertion that it is not his job to mentor Willis blew up into a bit of a controversy, but it doesn’t seem to bother Titans head coach Mike Vrabel.
“His job is to prepare to help us win a bunch of games and and be a great teammate and help out,” Vrabel said Friday, per the Associated Press. “And I know that he’s going to do that. So that was not any sort of issue for me.”
If you take a look at the full quote from Tannehill as opposed to what blew up on social media and TV, it actually tracks pretty closely with what his coach said.
“That’s part of being in a quarterback room, in the same room,” Tannehill said of teaching Willis the ropes. “We’re competing against each other, we’re watching the same tape, we’re doing the same drills. I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him, but if he learns from me along the way, then that’s a great thing.”
That’s actually a pretty innocuous quote, all things considered. And Vrabel seems to think that inside the Titans facility, it was received that way.
“I thought Ryan handled that very well,” Vrabel said. “I thought he was genuine. I thought he is authentic. And I know Ryan is a great teammate. Everybody here knows he’s a great teammate. And that is not his job.”