For the better part of his first six seasons in the National Football League, Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill‘s resume read something like this. He was a fairly decent quarterback on a bad football team, one that had a sub-.500 record as a starter (42-46).
Some of the blame for that was even placed at the former QB1 of the Miami Dolphins’ doorstep. After all, if he played better, they’d be winning right?
Such is the life of a quarterback in the NFL. They, at times, get too much of the blame when things don’t go right. They also get far too much credit when teams are successful. In the case of Ryan Tannehill, regardless of how you evaluate his days in Miami, he has to be credited for much of the Titans’ resurgence since his arrival in 2019.
Here’s a walk down the Tennessee Titans version of memory lane.
After the Tennessee Titans began the campaign with a 2-4 record in 2019, Marcus Mariota was replaced by number 17. Tennessee went 7-3 over the course of their next ten regular-season games and qualified for the postseason with a 9-7 mark.
In consecutive weeks, Tennessee knocked off the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots in Foxborough and the top-seeded Ravens and league MVP Lamar Jackson in Baltimore before giving the eventual Super Bowl winners, the Kansas City Chiefs, all that they could handle in the AFC Championship Game.
Last season didn’t go as planned. Tannehill, now the Titans’ full-time starter led his guys to an 11-5 mark and an AFC South championship, but they went one and done and were bounced from the postseason thanks to a Wild Card Playoff loss at home to those same Ravens.
Hopefully, 2021 is the year that the Tennessee Titans put it all together. They should again win the AFC South, but hopefully, another deep postseason run will follow. If it does, much of the reason will be because of Tannehill. Don’t expect a ton of fanfare though.
Would Tennessee Titans consider this as being disrespectful?
Ryan Tannehill has been one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL over the past two seasons. He also earned a Pro Bowl nod to go along with the best passer rating by a signal-caller and the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2019.
That didn’t earn him a top-ten spot in a recent quarterback ranking by Pro Football Reference though. 17 finished 12th, and here’s some of what Bruce Gradkowski, the writer of this one had to say on the subject.
"Tannehill has been spectacular thus far in Tennessee, so it’s hard not to acknowledge his recent play. He is viewed as a very good NFL starter now, but the departure of offensive coordinator Arthur Smith may impact his progression going forward… With his athletic ability and consistency as a Titan, Tannehill can be counted on to continue playing at a high level."
All of that makes sense, but is it fair or even accurate to state that a ranking that places him one spot ahead of Derek Carr and also puts him behind Matt Ryan, Baker Mayfield, and Matthew Stafford is accurate?
Maybe you can agree with that. Maybe you can’t. Arguments can be made for both sides, but here’s what can be said with confidence. Much of the Titans fan base will ask for a recount after this one.