Tennessee Titans need Ryan Tannehill to step up during final stretch

Tennessee Titans (Mandatory credit: The Tennessean)
Tennessee Titans (Mandatory credit: The Tennessean) /

The Tennessee Titans offense has not been anywhere near what was expected of the coming into it, and besides injuries, one of the biggest reasons for it has been the play of Ryan Tannehill.

Even with the historic lack of talent at the skill positions right now, he has lost two of his best traits: decision making and ball security.

It all but shows with his stats, as he has gone from 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions last year, to 14 touchdowns and 13 picks this year. He has made several uncharacteristically bad reads at critical times, which can’t happen on an offense without any talent available.

Make no mistake, Tannehill has turned this team around since taking over in place of Marcus Mariota, and we certainly know he is capable of rebounding, but will he do it?

Ryan Tannehill has to dig deep in the final five games

The good news is that Tannehill played more like his usual self in the team’s 36-13 loss to the New England Patriots.

He did throw another interception on a fourth-and-goal late in the game, but he was put into a horrible situation by Todd Downing on that play and did what he could. For what the Titans were dealing with that week, he took care of the football and really managed the game well against a good defense.

The Tennessee Titans will need that from Tannehill as the season comes to a close because they cannot win without him at his highest level. And to be fair, some of this will be on Todd Downing.

With the re-emergence of the run game in New England, he can help Tannehill by calling more play-action passes, because it has been proven to work.

Not only would that force defenses to think and allow receivers more time to separate in coverage, but out it would help alleviate some of the pass rush the Titans have been seeing. If that happens, Tannehill’s job would be much easier on a week-to-week basis.

Regardless of the situation around him, he needs to settle down and read the field more carefully. He is still making at least one baffling decision per game, and it has been proven time and time again that if your quarterback turns the ball over frequently, you are not going to win. Not even when the supporting cast is highly talented.

With the bye week and time to take a breath and internalize everything for a few days, there is a good chance Tannehill can come back more composed, especially with Julio Jones likely coming back this week.

Playing smartly is his bread and butter, everyone knows he can do it, he just has to get it together and step up if the Tennessee Titans are going to live up to their lofty expectations.