Tennessee Titans can judge the growth of Malik Willis this weekend

Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports /

The rumors are swirling right now that Ryan Tannehill won’t be able to play on Saturday which means that Malik Willis would get a chance to give the Tennessee Titans a sweep over the Houston Texans.

Malik Willis has seen action (as a quarterback) in four games this season, but the only times he was supposed to be the starter were the games on Week 8 and Week 9. Going 11-of-26 (42.3%) for 135 as a passer is unimpressive even in this offense.

For fans hoping that he would provide some explosion to the offense as a runner, there hasn’t been a lot to get excited about there either with just 80 rushing yards on 20 carries this season.

Those lackluster numbers are why he has always been considered a developmental player that will get his chance in 2023 (or more likely 2024) and not someone who was supposed to see the field this season.

However, no one should assume that we know what Willis is or what he can be yet. Rookie seasons are always throw away seasons for quarterbacks and it is what happens from year one to year two that gives an indication of what a quarterback can be down the line.

Still, it would help Tennessee Titans fans get more excited about him as a prospect if he could have a few plays that deserve to go on a highlight reel.

The good news is that fans should expect him to make more plays on Saturday for a few reasons.

Why this time will be different for the Tennessee Titans’ offense

When Malik Willis started last time, the Tennessee Titans offense still hadn’t identified their best players.

Sure, Derrick Henry was on fire as a runner in those games, but on 3rd and 6 there was no clear plan.

Since then the TE tandem of Chig Okonkwo and Austin Hooper has been very good and they can be targets for him at any level of the field. After their last matchup, I think everyone assumes that the Tennessee Titans will try to run the ball 25 times with Derrick Henry, but if that doesn’t work then that doesn’t mean that the offense is D.O.A.

More importantly, Treylon Burks should be back this week after sitting out the basically mandatory two-game window for a concussion.

An offense with Treylon Burks, Derrick Henry, Robert Woods, Chig Okonkwo, and Austin Hooper should average at least 21 points per game. Even when you factor in the walking trainwrecks that are Todd Downing and Dennis Daley, that should still be close to 17 points.

If the Titans are able to duplicate some of the success that they had on defense last week while adding Zach Cunningham and Denico Autry back in the mix, then this could be the first win for the Tennessee Titans since the middle of November.

That would be a nice confidence booster in the short term and if Malik Willis has a good day then it could also give Titans fans a small shred of hope to hold on to for the future.