Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill named as dark horse MVP candidate

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Tennessee Titans have a 2021 MVP candidate whose name shouldn’t surprise you. No, it’s not Derrick Henry, but that’s a good guess. FanSided’s Matt Lombardo recently released a list of what some of the biggest storylines in 2021 will be, one that was brainstormed by a group of NFL coaches, scouts, executives, and the like.

All were surveyed anonymously to answer questions like, ‘Who will the Super Bowl?’ as well as more open-ended queries like, ‘Which under-the-radar player could win MVP?’ If you haven’t already gathered from this article’s headline, one of the players mentioned was Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Tannehill received two nods and is tied for the second-highest number of votes along with Baker Mayfield, Chase Young, and Matthew Stafford.

Justin Herbert got the highest number of votes (four), which isn’t terribly surprising after his rookie breakout year. Tannehill, on the other hand, has always been a middle-of-the-pack kind of quarterback whose name is rarely tossed in any MVP conversation.

Could he really win the league MVP in 2021?

His best season (and sole Pro Bowl) was just two years ago in Tennessee, when he threw for 2,742 yards and 22 touchdowns, averaging a league-high of 9.6 yards gained per pass attempt. He also led the league with 13.6 yards gained per pass completion.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill gets surprising inclusion on MVP list

Since his early days in Miami, Tannehill has never really experienced a rut, but he hasn’t experienced a breakout season, either. He’s thrown double-digit touchdowns in each of his last eight seasons, including a career-high 33 in 2020, and to his credit, his number of interceptions has nearly halved since his first pro year in 2012.

Tannehill is consistent. We know this.

The better question might be, what makes this Titans team different from last year’s team that would in turn give Tannehill a shot for MVP?

If anything, Tennessee’s O-line has slightly declined after right tackle Dennis Kelly was released, and his successor still hasn’t been decided for the season. Pickings are slim among David Quessenberry and Kendall Lamm, and Ty Sambrailo and rookie Dillon Radunz will likely be too raw to start in 2021.

Derrick Henry got one year older, but that man could be half-cyborg for all we know and we don’t really think his age should factor into his performance. He’ll continue amassing 1,000-plus rushing yard seasons.

Looking at this Tennessee Titans offense as a whole, not much has changed. There’s no reason Tannehill will flop, nor any reason he will do extremely well.

The NFL execs who chose Tannehill for MVP may simply have picked one of the most under-the-radar guys who doesn’t get much name recognition despite playing like a top-ten quarterback for much of his career.

Next. 3 surprises from their first depth chart. dark

We’re going to be honest, the odds of Ryan Tannehill winning MVP this year are slim (+2500, according to WynnBET), and we won’t hold our breath for this to come true. It’s a rare but welcome sight to see Tannehill being included on a potential MVP list, though.