Mike Vrabel Doesn’t Want Ryan Tannehill to Mentor Rookie Malik Willis | The Starting QB Competition Is Wide Open 

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Following the 2022 NFL draft, Tennessee Titans starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill ruffled some feathers when he said it wasn’t his job to mentor rookie quarterback Malik Willis. 

“We’re Competing Against Each Other” | Titans QB Ryan Tannehill Says It’s Not His Job To Mentor Rookie Malik Willis

 

“We’re competing against each other. We’re watching the same tape. We’re doing the same drills. I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him, but if he learns from me along the way, then that’s a great thing.”

Tannehill is a veteran who is late in the game and running out of chances to be the No. 1 guy on a Super Bowl contender and won’t be helping his eventual replacement speed up his exit. 

Some media pundits took exception to Tannehill’s approach, including Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner. 

 

Head Coach Mike Vrabel Sides With Tannehill?

Mike Vrabel attempted to clean it up a bit while still saying Tannehill is correct.

“His job is to prepare to help us win a bunch of games and be a great teammate and help out. And I know that he’s going to do that. So that was not any sort of issue for me.”

Vrabel, the 2021 NFL Coach of the Year, wasn’t done smoothing out the situation and crediting his current starting quarterback for his competitiveness and professionalism. 

“I thought Ryan handled that very well. I thought he was genuine. I thought he was authentic. And I know Ryan is a great teammate. Everybody here knows he’s a great teammate. And that is not his job.”

Vrabel was quick to let it be known that he won’t discuss anyone’s future beyond 2022, and that goes for Tannehill as well. The night the team drafted Willis in the third round, Vrabel said, “I don’t think anyone is gonna talk about anyone’s future tonight.”

 

 

The team didn’t consult Tannehill prior to drafting Willis, and the selection itself shows what the team may be thinking going forward with Tannehill due a $19 million dead cap hit if released after the 2022 season, versus a $57 million dead cap hit if released this offseason.

Willis Is Cool, Calm, And Collected: His Time Is Coming

One thing that stands out about Willis is his zest for life. He flashed a big smile and positive outlook during the draft process. He’s handled himself with a maturity that’s added to the optimism in Tennessee. The two quarterbacks eventually discussed the elephant in the room, and came out on the other side with a mutual respect. Willis even called Ryan a good dude.

“Oh man we chopped it up. I mean, it was never anything negative,” the rookie said. “Ryan’s a good dude. Like I said, he had us over to the house. Everything’s cool.”

 

 

Another sign that the Titans will be looking to start fresh with Willis sooner than later is the trade of stalwart wide receiver A.J. Brown to the Eagles on draft night. They then took rookie wideouts Treylon Burks from Arkansas and Kyle Phillips from UCLA and also drafted the most athletic tight end in the draft in Chigoziem Okonkwo from Maryland. This all in an effort to have players grow with their young, athletic, strong-armed quarterback.

In Nashville, the Malik Willis experience is picking up steam, and as much as Vrabel and Tannehill want to keep us guessing, they know it’s only a matter of time before Willis takes over the Titans offense.