Dec 31, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) looks for an open receiver during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Titans QB Ryan Tannehill starting finale vs. Jaguars

Veteran Ryan Tannehill will start at quarterback for the Tennessee Titans in Sunday’s regular-season finale, coach Mike Vrabel said after Friday’s practice.

Tannehill draws the start against the Jacksonville Jaguars due to Will Levis dealing with an injured right foot.

It will be Tannehill’s 63rd start for Tennessee (5-11) over the last five seasons. Only seven of them have occurred this season as he lost the starting gig to Levis in late October.

“He’s handled (things) with class,” Vrabel said of Tannehill. “You can be disappointed, but also still be supportive and be about the team. A lot of emotions that go on with each individual player, their role on the football team and how that changes throughout the year. But I do appreciate Ryan’s professionalism throughout.”

Tannehill has completed 64.7 percent of his passes for 1,448 yards, with just two touchdown throws and six interceptions in nine appearances this season. Overall, he has compiled 34,713 passing yards, 214 touchdowns and 114 interceptions in 11 NFL seasons with the Miami Dolphins (2012-18) and Tennessee (2019-23).

Second-year pro Malik Willis will serve as the backup quarterback on Sunday. Levis, who is listed as questionable, will be the No. 3 quarterback and used only in an emergency.

Levis has completed 58.4 percent of his passes for 1,808 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions.

Four Titans were ruled out — cornerbacks Caleb Farley (back) and Anthony Kendall (knee), defensive end TK McLendon Jr. (shoulder) and receiver Colton Dowell (knee).

–Field Level Media

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.

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

Nov 2, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) gestures to the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Pittsburgh won 20-16. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Titans name rookie Will Levis QB1, bench Ryan Tannehill

Head coach Mike Vrabel saw enough of rookie Will Levis in a two-game audition to make the permanent change to the rookie quarterback as the Titans get ready to visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Vrabel said the Titans made the decision after Levis, 24, impressed as the starter filling in for injured Ryan Tannehill. He threw four touchdown passes in his debut to beat the Atlanta Falcons and showed poise and confidence in a loss at Pittsburgh last week.

“There’s clearly something there, and we want to be able to continue to work with him and progress and develop and win — that’s how you get better,” Vrabel said. “You only get better by going out there and playing, especially at that position. So this will be a huge test for any quarterback, going on the road, in Tampa, with what they are able to do, how well they are coached schematically, but also the players they have, the pressure packages, the disguises that they are able to have, and as many turnovers as they’ve been able to create.

Vrabel said he met with his quarterbacks on Tuesday morning before informing the team of his decision. The shift in direction comes after Vrabel insisted he wouldn’t make a call until Tannehill, out with an ankle injury, was healthy.

Vrabel declined to discuss the team’s plans moving forward at the position, saying instead he wanted to let Tannehill get healthy before making any definitive decisions at quarterback.

“Will is going to be our quarterback. We are going to go with Will. We think that is the best opportunity for our football team right now,” Vrabel said.

“I think Ryan will progress though here this week. I think, and we’re hopeful (he) can be a back-up here for us and prepare as a starter. That’s where we’re at right now.”

Tannehill, 35, is in the final year of his contract and Levis was expected to be given a chance to win the job. But Tannehill’s second major ankle injury advanced the team’s timeline.

Drafted No. 33 overall in April out of Kentucky, Levis threw for 238 yards and four touchdowns with a 130.5 rating in his first start, resulting in a 28-23 win over the Falcons on Oct. 29. He had seven completions of 20-plus yards at Pittsburgh. Tannehill had two touchdown passes and six interceptions in six starts this season.

“I have a lot of respect for Ryan, personally and professionally,” Vrabel said. “We’ve won a lot of football games here with Ryan. He was a professional (when we talked), but I’ll keep that conversation between him and I and allow him to speak for himself.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) during the first second at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

QB Will Levis set for 2nd start after Titans rule out Ryan Tannehill

The Tennessee Titans ruled out quarterback Ryan Tannehill (ankle) for Thursday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, handing the reins to rookie Will Levis to make his second pro start.

Tannehill is still recovering from a high-ankle sprain and will miss his second consecutive game.

Levis is 1-0 after firing four touchdown passes in his NFL debut last week, a 28-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Levis completed 19 of 29 passes for 238 yards and led the Titans to their highest scoring output of the season. Levis became just the third quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in his NFL debut, joining Fran Tarkenton (1961) and Marcus Mariota (2015).

However, his favorite target from last week, DeAndre Hopkins, is listed as questionable to play with a toe injury. Hopkins did not practice Wednesday after being estimated as limited on Monday and Tuesday, when the team held walkthroughs.

Levis hit Hopkins with four passes for 128 yards and three touchdowns in the win over the Falcons, including a long of 61 yards.

According to NFL Research, Levis’ three touchdown passes of 30-plus yards were the most in an NFL debut all time — excluding strike-shortened seasons. Two of the three deep balls went to Hopkins.

The Titans also ruled out offensive tackle Chris Hubbard (concussion), cornerback Roger McCreary (hamstring) and safety Mike Brown (ankle).

–Field Level Media

Tennessee Titans quarterbacks Malik Willis (7), Ryan Tannehill (17) and Will Levis (8) head to the field face the Los Angeles Chargers at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023.

Rookie QB Will Levis preparing to start for Titans

Rookie Will Levis is preparing to start in place of injured quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, per reports.

Head coach Mike Vrabel said the Titans split first-team reps in practice Tuesday between Levis and Malik Willis with Tannehill unavailable due to an ankle injury.

“We’ll see where he is at the end of the week,” Vrabel said of Tannehill. “And I would imagine if Ryan can’t play, I would anticipate both of those quarterbacks playing in the football game. But Ryan is off of the roller, or walker, or whatever he had, and we’ll see where he is at the end of the week.”

NFL Network and The Athletic reported Wednesday that Levis would see more time than Willis even if both play Sunday against the visiting Atlanta Falcons (4-3).

The Titans (2-4) used Willis as the No. 2 QB and he played after Tannehill was injured on Oct. 15 in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens. He completed 4 of 5 passes for 74 yards but was sacked four times.

Vrabel acknowledged Tannehill’s current ankle injury is similar to the one he suffered early last season, when he missed two games. Tannehill re-injured the ankle later last season and was placed on injured reserve.

There is some consideration given to resting Tannehill with a short week to follow. Tennessee travels to Pittsburgh to challenge the Steelers next Thursday in the first of three consecutive road games.

But the Titans have been held below 17 points in all four losses with Tannehill.

The Titans drafted Levis 33rd overall in the 2023 NFL Draft with Tannehill, 35, in the final year of his contract.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2023; London, United Kingdom;  Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis (7) passes the ball during the second half of an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

Titans to play two QBs if Ryan Tannehill (ankle) can’t play

Ryan Tannehill did not practice with the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday, and head coach Mike Vrabel has multiple backup plans in place for Sunday’s game with the Atlanta Falcons.

Those backup plans are the Nos. 2 and No. 3 quarterbacks behind Tannehill, who only recently ditched a knee scooter to alleviate bearing weight on his injured ankle.

Malik Willis and Will Levis were set to share first-team reps in Tuesday’s practice and would split the QB role on Sunday should the Titans be without Tannehill.

“We’ll see where he is at the end of the week,” Vrabel said of Tannehill. “And I would imagine if Ryan can’t play, I would anticipate both of those quarterbacks playing in the football game. But Ryan is off of the roller, or walker, or whatever he had, and we’ll see where he is at the end of the week.”

Tannehill injured his ankle on Oct. 15 in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The team acknowledged his current ankle injury is similar to the one he suffered early last season, when he missed two games. Tannehill re-injured the ankle later last season and was placed on injured reserve.

There is some consideration given to resting Tannehill with a short week to follow. Tennessee travels to Pittsburgh to challenge the Steelers next Thursday in the first of three consecutive road games.

But the Titans (2-4) have been held below 17 points in all four losses.

Willis is the No. 2 quarterback and presumably would start because of his experience. He played in eight games last season and was 4-of-5 passing in relief of Tannehill against the Ravens. He also was sacked four times.

The Titans drafted Will Levis 33rd overall in the 2023 NFL Draft with Tannehill, 35, in the final year of his contract.

Would it be Willis or Levis with the starters against Atlanta? Vrabel wouldn’t confirm what the QB pecking order might be if Tannehill is held out this week.

“We’ll see what the game plan looks like, and first off see where Ryan is at,” Vrabel said. “We’ll talk about what we may want to do throughout the course of the game. If Ryan can’t play, I expect both of them to play.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2023; London, United Kingdom; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) throws the ball against the Baltimore Ravens in the first half during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Same injury, different year for Titans QB Ryan Tannehill (ankle)

Ryan Tannehill has an ankle injury similar to what he initially suffered in 2022, Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Monday.

With the Titans heading into their bye week, Vrabel said Tannehill “will get treatment around the clock” in the hopes he’ll be ready to face the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 29.

“This will be a big week to see how he progresses and then we’ll make a decision on his availability next week,” Vrabel said.

If Tannehill is not ready in time, Vrabel did not say whether the Titans would start second-year pro Malik Willis or rookie Will Levis at quarterback.

Tannehill left the third quarter of Sunday’s 24-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in London with a right ankle injury. Willis, No. 2 on the depth chart ahead of Levis, subbed in and went 4-for-5 passing for 74 yards.

Tannehill missed two games last season with an ankle injury, returned, re-injured it and wound up on injured reserve.

He has completed 62.0 percent of his passes this season for 1,128 yards, two touchdowns and six interceptions.

He is the Titans’ starter as long as he is healthy, Vrabel said.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA;  Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is pressured by Miami Dolphins linebacker Bradley Chubb (2) in the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Russ cooked? Wilson new favorite to be first QB benched

Russell Wilson can’t be blamed for the Denver Broncos’ embarrassing 70-20 loss at Miami in Week 3, but that hasn’t stopped oddsmakers from making him the favorite to be the first NFL quarterback benched this season.

Plenty of candidates are emerging, but it’s Wilson who leads the way at 4/1 at

First QB Benched Odds
Russell Wilson (4/1)
Ryan Tannehill (5/1)
Justin Fields (6/1)
Sam Howell (7/1)
Desmond Ridder (9/1)
Baker Mayfield (12/1)
Jimmy Garoppolo (12/1)
Mac Jones (12/1)
Kenny Pickett (14/1)
Kirk Cousins (14/1)
Anthony Richardson (20/1)
Bryce Young (20/1)
CJ Stroud (20/1)
Dak Prescott (25/1)
Geno Smith (33/1)
Daniel Jones (50/1)
Derek Carr (50/1)
Matthew Stafford (50/1)
Brock Purdy (66/1)
Jordan Love (100/1)
Trevor Lawrence (100/1)

Wilson has completed 65.4 percent of his passes with six touchdowns against two interceptions during Denver’s 0-3 start.

Playing in his favor is Wilson’s contract, which makes parting with him difficult. He is tied to the Broncos through the 2028 season on a five-year, $242.6 million deal. Playing against Wilson remaining as the Broncos’ long-term quarterback is a head coach who inherited the 34-year-old. Sean Payton brought in backup Jarrett Stidham, a fourth-year veteran who has played in 13 career games.

Stidham may not be Denver’s franchise quarterback of the future, either. By contrast, the Tennessee Titans have added quarterbacks in each of the past two NFL drafts — Malik Willis in the third round in 2022 and Will Levis in the second round this past spring.

Ryan Tannehill has struggled during the Titans’ 1-2 start, completing just 59.0 percent of his passes with a lone touchdown against three picks. He threw for only 104 yards in Sunday’s 27-3 loss at Cleveland.

However, Tennessee is only a game behind Indianapolis in what is shaping up as a wide-open AFC South. Both Jacksonville and Houston also are 1-2.

While Tannehill is in his 11th NFL season, Levis has yet to throw a regular-season pass and Willis was extremely shaky in eight appearances last season, completing 50.8 percent of his passes while throwing no touchdown passes and three picks.

The third-lowest odds belong the Chicago’s Justin Fields. The Bears have been largely uncompetitive in starting 0-3. However, they need to figure out what they have in Fields ahead of next year’s draft, and backups Nathan Peterman and Tyson Bagent don’t provide a likely upgrade to the extent Chicago would need to be more consistent offensively.

A different dilemma is facing Ron Rivera in Washington. He wasn’t hired by the current ownership group, which has made it clear that Rivera’s future is solely dependent upon wins and losses.

The Commanders are 2-1 and have a roster largely capable of staying in the NFC playoff picture. The X-factor remains first-year starting quarterback Sam Howell, who is coming off a four-interception performance in a 37-3 home loss to Buffalo.

Veteran Jacoby Brissett is waiting in the wings if Howell continues to falter. The Commanders follow a tough road trip to Philadelphia with games against Chicago, Atlanta and the New York Giants — a stretch against teams that are a combined 3-6 that could determine the fates of Howell and Rivera.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) reacts to being tackled by the New Orleans Saints during the first half at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson new ‘favorites’ to be first QB benched

Baker Mayfield likely bought himself a decent run as Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback by helping to engineer the Buccaneers’ 20-17 upset at Minnesota in Week 1.

The preseason favorite by at +200 to be the first starting QB benched this season, Mayfield’s odds are now +900 after throwing for a pair of touchdowns while protecting the football.

Ryan Tannehill did neither of those things, throwing a trio of interceptions and no touchdown passes in Tennessee’s 16-15 loss at New Orleans on Sunday. While his odds of being the first signal-caller benched held at +600, he is now the slight favorite.

Second-year quarterback Malik Willis won the Titans’ backup job out of the preseason over rookie second-round pick Will Levis, who was the inactive third “emergency” quarterback on Sunday.

“I don’t know,” head coach Mike Vrabel said Monday when asked why Tannehill struggled so much in Week 1. “I wish that I knew. I wish that I could tell you. We have to be better. Ryan has to be better.

“We have to be better, and we can’t turn the football over. And he’ll respond like he has. He’s been a great competitor for us, and he’s been unbelievably tough and determined and I am positive those results will be different.”

Just behind Tannehill are Denver’s Russell Wilson (+700) and Houston rookie C.J. Stroud (+750). Wilson had been a +5000 longshot before the start of the season, while Stroud was +700.

Wilson threw two touchdowns and was not picked off in the Broncos’ 17-16 home loss to Las Vegas, but he also failed to generate explosive plays. His longest completion was 21 yards, with backup running back Samaje Perine leading the team with 37 receiving yards while backup tight end Adam Trautman caught a team-high five passes.

“I was pleased with the decision making. The key is to be able to run the ball and have the sustained success. We were able to do that at times,” Broncos coach Sean Payton said Monday.

Stroud lost a fumble and failed to produce a touchdown while throwing for 242 yards in a 25-9 loss at Baltimore. The former Ohio State star was also sacked five times and was under constant pressure from the Ravens.

“When it comes to the quarterback being hit, we don’t want our quarterback hit as much. We have to be better,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said Monday. “I think overall, as a group in protection, just how are we helping? I thought we had some really good snaps (in) protection at times, but it’s just being more consistent in our protection (and) in our pickups.”

Ryan Tannehill (+600)
Russell Wilson (+700)
C.J. Stroud (+750)
Baker Mayfield (+900)
Sam Howell (+900)
Anthony Richardson (+900)
Kenny Pickett (+1000)
Mac Jones (+1200)
Kirk Cousins (+1400)
Desmond Ridder (+1400)
Bryce Young (+1400)
Jimmy Garoppolo (+1800)
Geno Smith (+1800)
Brock Purdy (+2500)
Matthew Stafford (+2500)
Justin Fields (+3300)
Daniel Jones (+3300)
Derek Carr (+5000)
Jordan Love (+5000)
Joe Burrow (+6600)
Deshaun Watson (+6600)
Jared Goff (+10000)
Dak Prescott (+10000)
Justin Herbert (+20000)
Tua Tagovailoa (+20000)
Trevor Lawrence (+30000)
Aaron Rodgers (+50000)
Jalen Hurts (+50000)
Josh Allen (+50000)
Lamar Jackson (+50000)
Patrick Mahomes (+100000)

The book is still offering odds on all but one team. The Arizona Cardinals lost 20-16 at Washington on Sunday, with recently acquired veteran Joshua Dobbs throwing for 132 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions while filling in for the injured Kyler Murray.

–Field Level Media

Aug 26, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) looks on against the Baltimore Ravens during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

First NFL QB benched? Baker Mayfield early favorite

Baker Mayfield clearly hasn’t silenced all of his doubters.

After renewing his potential with the Los Angeles Rams in five games to close the 2022 season – his third team of the year – Mayfield signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay this offseason and beat out Kyle Trask for the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback job.

However, it was one of the more hotly-contested quarterback battles of the preseason, and Mayfield isn’t promised the job a day longer than the Sept. 10 season opener at Minnesota. Following that, Tampa Bay returns home for two games – first against Chicago and then against reigning NFC champion Philadelphia.

That’s why Mayfield was installed by as the +200 “favorite” to be the first NFL quarterback to lose his starting job this season. He’s ahead of Washington’s first-year starter Sam Howell (+400) and Tennessee veteran Ryan Tannehill (+600).

The book opened the prop market offering odds on 31 NFL teams. The lone exception was the Arizona Cardinals, whose quarterback situation was further muddled by Monday’s release of veteran Colt McCoy.

Josh Dobbs, who was acquired by Arizona from Cleveland last week, and is familiar with coordinator Drew Petzing’s scheme from their time together with the Browns, is now the leading candidate among a group that also includes rookie Clayton Tune along with journeymen David Blough and Jeff Driskell.

Baker Mayfield (+200)
Sam Howell (+400)
Ryan Tannehill (+600)
C.J. Stroud (+700)
Mac Jones (+700)
Desmond Ridder (+900)
Anthony Richardson (+1000)
Bryce Young (+1200)
Jimmy Garoppolo (+1400)
Jordan Love (+1400)
Matthew Stafford (+1600)
Brock Purdy (+2000)
Jared Goff (+2000)
Derek Carr (+4000)
Geno Smith (+4000)
Justin Fields (+4000)
Kenny Pickett (+4000)
Kirk Cousins (+4000)
Daniel Jones (+5000)
Deshaun Watson (+5000)
Russell Wilson (+5000)
Dak Prescott (+10000)
Joe Burrow (+10000)
Tua Tagovailoa (+20000)
Justin Herbert (+25000)
Trevor Lawrence (+25000)
Aaron Rodgers (+50000)
Jalen Hurts (+50000)
Josh Allen (+50000)
Lamar Jackson (+50000)
Patrick Mahomes (+100000)

The book clearly believes the three rookie starters entering Week 1 will be given a longer leash than veterans who may stumble out of the gate.

C.J. Stroud, who was named the Houston Texans’ starter on Monday, has +700 odds to be the first quarterback benched this season. Indianapolis rookie Anthony Richardson has +1000 odds, followed by Carolina’s Bryce Young at +1200.

Along with Mayfield and Tannehill, there are several situations that bear watching among incumbent quarterbacks.

Mac Jones returns as New England’s starter, but second-year quarterback Bailey Zappe is waiting in the wings should Jones stumble out of the gate. And coach Bill Belichick proved last year that he’s not shy about making a switch if he feels the need.

Somewhat surprising odds belong to Denver’s Russell Wilson at +5000 – making the embattled Broncos quarterback the 11th longest shot to be the first benched this season. Wilson is entering what is likely a make-or-break season under new coach Sean Payton.

Then again, his only real competition is Jarrett Stidham, who has entered the journeyman realm as he joins his third team in as many years and has thrown only 131 total passes through his first three NFL seasons.

The longest odds understandably belong to two-time Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, who enters the season with +100000 odds to be the first NFL quarterback sent to the bench by his coach this season.

–Field Level Media