Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill could be another star’s inspiration

Ryan Tannehill (17) USA TODAY Sports image pool
Ryan Tannehill (17) USA TODAY Sports image pool /

As Tennessee Titans fans, you could watch the NFL for the next three seasons, and you may not hear the term ‘the next Ryan Tannehill‘. In all honesty, however, if you’re a young pup coming up in the NFL, that may not be a bad title to wear.

Though most of us will never personally know what this feels like, there’s no doubt that playing in the National Football League is a pressure cooker and doubly so for a first-round selection. Imagine being taken eighth overall in the draft and knowing that you’re headed to one of our great nation’s biggest and more star-studded cities to be the face of resurrection in a franchise that was once proud but currently enduring years of hardship and struggle.

That’s what Ryan Tannehill was asked to do during his first six seasons in the NFL.

Could the Tennessee Titans star be an inspiration for a QB in a similar position?

What’s that? How did that six-year run in Miami go, you ask? Well, it wasn’t great, but it was okay. Tannehill never led the Dolphins to the playoffs (some team in New England probably had a lot to do with that), but in 88 starts, he tossed 123 touchdowns versus 75 interceptions. In the process, he notched a 62.8 completion percentage, 20,434 passing yards, and a 42-46 record.

His arrival in Tennessee with the Titans has produced the success story people often discuss but never see, one where a ‘change of scenery’ does the recipient some good. Tannehill is 18-8 with the Titans since taking over, racking up a 67.3-percent passing percentage along with 6,561 passing yards, and get this, 55 touchdowns versus only 13 picks.

Call it a crazy theory. It feels like he’ll add a few more with A.J. Brown and Julio Jones lining up for him.

So, back to that ‘the next Ryan Tannehill’ thing. It doesn’t sound so bad, does it. The Tennessee Titans’ QB1 has authored a tale of both persistence and perseverance, and he’s the poster child for every NFL star young and old that’s seeking a shot in the arm to turn their career around. Perhaps guys like Sam Darnold are paying attention? SI.com’s Josh Altorfer thinks it’s possible.

You probably never thought you’d hear ‘Sam Darnold is the next Ryan Tannehill’ when the former was leading USC to a win versus Penn State in the 2017 Rose Bowl, did you? That might be how things turn out though. Like Tannehill, Darnold was a top-ten draft choice. Like Tannehill, Darnold arrived in one of our great country’s most famous cities and had Adam Gase as a coach. Like Tannehill, Darnold struggled early.

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Sam Darnold will attempt to resurrect his career in a new town now, having been traded from the New York Jets to the Carolina Panthers on April 5th. In Altorfer’s piece on the two, he described Darnold as someone reports say is “is ready for the new opportunity”.

Here’s more:

"Tannehill’s career arc is a great model for Darnold to aim for. (Darnold) has shown enough flashes to earn this opportunity in Carolina. The team’s owner and fan base are anxious for a winning season. Can Sam Darnold follow Ryan Tannehill’s footsteps and lead them to one?"

The short answer is yes. Darnold has that type of ability. Guys like Tannehill prove that it can be done. Sometimes, all guys need to flourish is the right situation. Tannehill has found his. Darnold seems to be in the best spot that he could have landed in. We’ll all be watching these two very carefully as we move through the 2021 regular season.