Ryan Tannehill is doing “good,” according to Coach Mike Vrabel when asked Monday about his starting quarterback’s injured ankle.
Tannehill left his post-game press conference Sunday with a walking boot on his right foot after being injured on a completion to Mason Kinsey in the fourth quarter.
“He’s progressing. We’ve got a lot of guys the day after the game in there getting treatment,” Vrabel said. “We’ll continue to evaluate all those guys and see where we are on Wednesday.”
Tannehill has made a franchise-record 49 straight starts at quarterback for the Titans, and returned to finish Sunday’s 19-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
“We need everybody. The quarterback is vital to the execution, and we’ll see where Ryan is and we’ll get everybody ready that needs to get ready,” Vrabel said in terms of Tannehill’s availability.
Tannehill was replaced for one snap on Sunday by rookie Malik Willis, who handed the ball off to Dontrell Hilliard for a 4-yard gain just before a 38-yard field goal from Randy Bullock.
The Titans are 4-2 and travel to face the Houston Texans on Sunday in another AFC South Division contest.
If Tannehill cannot go, Vrabel said that Willis has shown steady improvement in practice.
“I think he’s continued to improve. He’s taken the ownership of the show team, and that’s where every backup quarterback gets their reps,” Vrabel said. “But he’s still understanding the game plan, and still being ready to go, and I kind of like that’s been the last couple of weeks.”
Tannehill not only finished the game, but made a key 19-yard completion to Austin Hooper after his return from the injury that helped to set up another Bullock field goal and help seal the game.
“It would be hard to keep some of those guys from going back in and trying to do everything they possibly can to help the football team. Ryan is just one example of that. But he certainly had all intentions of doing everything he could to get back there,” Vrabel said. “With any injury, and we’ve been through this, as it relates to us, is how we identify if guys can continue to play. Can they make it worse, and can they reasonably do their job up to the expectations that we have for them, and can they protect themselves? He was able to progress through and made a big throw. The few times we needed to progress, the line gave us that opportunity. That was also really good to see. Ryan was able to get the ball down there to Hoop late.”
Willis was split outside as a receiver for a handful of plays on Sunday in addition to his one snap at quarterback. It is the first time the rookie QB has been used at another position. The one time the Titans tried to hand the ball to him on a jet sweep, the exchange between Tannehill and Willis was fumbled, and the Colts recovered.
Vrabel said Monday that the Titans wanted to use Willis in a new package, but also did so in part because they had only four wide receivers available for the game.
“I think probably a little bit of both. We want to make sure that we’re doing things that we think can help us and Malik’s ability. So we’ll kind of see where that package goes. I thought we had a good play. I thought we really liked what things would look like, but unfortunately, we just weren’t able to execute on that particular play. But we’ll keep trying to do things that we feel like can help us, and his skillset and see where things go,” Vrabel said.
The Titans added Eric Smith, an offensive tackle, to their practice squad. Smith has spent time on rosters and practice squads with the New York Giants, Dallas and Arizona. Vrabel called the move an addition to depth at the position.