Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17), quarterback Malik Willis (7), and quarterback Will Levis (8) huddle before a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023.

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Titans to start Ryan Tannehill if QB Will Levis (ankle) is out

Ryan Tannehill welcomes the chance to return to the starting lineup even with the Tennessee Titans eliminated from playoff consideration.

Tannehill operated the first-team offense on Wednesday in place of injured rookie quarterback Will Levis. Levis did not practice due to an ankle injury.

Tannehill could get the call this week in what sets up potentially as his final home start with the franchise. The past two months have been a rollercoaster of emotion for the 35-year-old who was demoted while dealing with an ankle injury similar to the one Levis is fighting this week.

“It’s a challenge, right? You get your job taken, basically,” Tannehill said. “And your first instinct is not a positive one. It’s been a growing opportunity for me to put my own feelings aside and try to be an asset, continue to work and be a positive impact on this team.”

Head coach Mike Vrabel said “we’ll see where it goes” when asked for the pecking order at quarterback before admitting he would hand the keys back to Tannehill if Levis isn’t able to play. Malik Willis would be the No. 2 quarterback in that scenario.

With the Titans at 2-4 and Tannehill hurt, Tennessee started Levis for the first time Oct. 29. Levis threw four TD passes in a 28-23 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

In eight NFL starts, Levis has thrown for 1,792 passing yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. Tannehill has two touchdowns, six interceptions and has been sacked 19 times in 2023.

But the Titans (5-9) are no longer in playoff contention, mathematically eliminated last week, reducing the motivation for Vrabel to risk playing Levis despite being injury.

The Titans selected Levis 33rd overall in the 2023 NFL Draft with Tannehill in the final season of a four-year, $118 million contract.

Tannehill said he’s encouraging teammates to find a reason to be bring passion to the field Sunday against the visiting Seattle Seahawks and the final two games after that.

“Obviously our No. 1 goal is not on the table at this point,” Tannehill said. “You want to go out there and find a reason to bring passion, bring energy to your teammates. Right now I’m playing for my teammates, my family and myself. That’s what I lean on.”

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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