Ryan Tannehill is off the injury report, but if all goes as planned, he’s going to stay off the field.
That’s because the Tennessee Titans announced on Tuesday that rookie Will Levis will be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season, while the veteran in Tannehill will be his backup.
Tannehill suffered an ankle injury in Week 6, and it was actually second-year quarterback Malik Willis who entered the game. However, following their bye week, the Titans turned to Levis.
The rookie’s NFL debut could not have gone much better, as he threw for four touchdowns, three of them to DeAndre Hopkins, while completing 19 of his 29 passes for 238 yards against the Atlanta Falcons.
Week 9 in Pittsburgh against the Steelers presented a bit more of a challenge, as Levis went just 22-for-39 and only led one touchdown drive (a Derrick Henry rush), although throwing for 262 yards.
“I think that’s the best move for our football team right now,” head coach Mike Vrabel told reporters on Tuesday.
Before Tannehill got injured, this season was a massive struggle for him. He’s thrown just two touchdowns against six interceptions.
Tannehill has long kept the Titans afloat, but the team has not had much playoff success with him under center. They made the 2019 AFC title game, but lost their first playoff game in each of the following two seasons, even with the No. 1 seed in the AFC in 2021.
Levis was once a heavy favorite to be the second overall pick in this past NFL Draft, and rumors swirled he would even go No. 1. However, he surprisingly fell all the way to 33.
Once Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson all went ahead of him, Levis had a long wait. Television cameras several times caught him awkwardly in the waiting room during the draft waiting for a call.
He did not have to wait long on day two, as the Titans moved up the first of the second round to select the Kentucky quarterback.
Vrabel indicated he envisioned both Levis and Willis getting playing time against the Falcons. Willis, a third-round selection out of Liberty, played just two snaps.
In his two full seasons as Kentucky’s quarterback (24 games), Levis threw for 5,232 yards, 33 touchdowns and 23 interceptions with a 65.7 completion percentage.