There are now 16 regular-season starts with which to evaluate Ryan Tannehill as the Tennessee Titans starting quarterback.
The results show overwhelmingly in that at least in terms of numbers that Tannehill has put together the best 16-game stretch in the Titans portion of the franchise history, and one would have to go back to Hall of Famer Warren Moon with the Houston Oilers in the early '90s to find a 16-game stretch that could equal or surpass what Tannehill has done in his 16 games as the Titans starter.
In those 16 starts, Tannehill has completed 69 percent of his passes, hitting on 327 of 473 passes and throwing for 4,188 yards. Though it has been accomplished over the course of two seasons, because Tannehill did not take the starting job from Marcus Mariota until week seven last year, no quarterback in the franchise has thrown for 4,000 yards in a season since Moon did it in 1991 for the Oilers.
Tannehill has come up big in the touchdown to interception ratio, throwing better than five touchdowns for every pick in that span. He has 37 touchdown passes to just seven interceptions.
Those numbers compiled by Tannehill are even better than the ones Steve McNair put up in his co-MVP year in 2003. Granted, the NFL has changed and become more pass-oriented than it was 17 years ago. But Tannehill's numbers stack up with the top current quarterbacks even in a pass-happy NFL of 2020.
When asked about his success with the Titans during his time as the starter, Tannehill just deflected the credit to his teammates and the Titans organization.
“It’s a special team. It's tough to put your finger on one thing or another. It's a great organization, good team, good coaching staff, guys that I love playing with,” Tannehill said. “When you put all those things together it adds up to better results on the field. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this organization, part of this team, and thankful for the teammates that I have around me that make going out there and playing each and every day a ton of fun. Obviously, winning is a lot of fun as well.”
And winning is something the Titans have done quite a bit of since Tannehill took over as the starter. He is 12-4 in those 16 starts (not counting a 2-1 playoff mark), and has changed the narrative of his career dramatically. In eight seasons in Miami, Tannehill was just 42-46 as the Dolphins starting quarterback. His Titans success has put him over .500 in his career at 54-50.
For his part, Tannehill said he simply prepared and waited for his turn when he became the Titans starting quarterback last year.
“It's been a growing year and a half from being traded here as a backup, starting the season off as the backup, getting an opportunity, jumping into that role, trying not to look back, and just growing and learning. I feel like we’ve taken some good strides on offense over the course of the offseason and what we've done so far this year, the changes we've made have paid off in big ways for us,” Tannehill said. “We're constantly trying to look to evolve and keep pressure on the defense.”
Tannehill's leadership and his attention to detail have been talked about by teammates and coaches as a big reason for the difference in the Titans offense now and before he was at the helm. Tight end Jonnu Smith said Tannehill's personal accountability has been a big key.
“He has everything that a quarterback possesses, you know, throwing accuracy, the power, his deep ball, I can go on rave all day about that you know what I mean? But just the things that doesn't take much physical ability, man. He's just a leader who demands a certain standard of this offense man<” Smith said. “As a quarterback, that's a key ability that you need and he's a man of his word. I mean, he takes accountability. I think that that's one of the biggest traits that I admire about Ryan man. When he’s wrong, he’s accountable about it. He addresses it, and we all learn form it. When we’re wrong, he addresses it and we all learn from it.”
Several Titans players did not practice on Wednesday as the club began on-field preparation for Sunday's road game at the Cincinnati Bengals.
Among those who did not practice Wednesday were outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (knee), safety Dane Cruikshank, cornerbacks Kristian Fulton (knee), Tye Smith (shoulder) and Johnathan Joseph (illness), tackle and Dennis Kelly (knee). Defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons was held out but his issue was not injury related. And offensive lineman Daniel Munyer was limited with a hand injury.