No, Jon Robinson is Not Going to Make a Change at Quarterback
Updated: Jun 20, 2022
The Titans finished 2022 with their best record since 2008 and a 6th straight winning season. This is great, but the issues that ultimately caused the Titans to lose in the Divisional round, and at many points during the regular season, is obvious and still, will not be addressed.
In GM Jon Robinson's first press conference of the offseason, QB Ryan Tannehill was the biggest topic. In response to questions about Ryan Tannehill's future he replied by saying "He's our Quarterback. I don't know how many more times I gotta say it."
Following a stellar 2019-20 season where he took over for Marcus Mariota following a Week 6 loss in Denver, Tannehill was awarded with a 4 year, $118m contract. That season, Tannehill was nothing short of spectacular after coming to Tennessee via trade in the offseason. He was the league's most efficient passer by a longshot and brought the Titans within a few plays of the Super Bowl.
After he signed the extension in March of 2020, I wrote that "For me, 4 years is too long for someone who played just 10 good games." and unfortunately, that concern has come to fruition.
While Tannehill had 6 games with 250+ passing yards and 4 games with multiple passing touchdowns, he only played a few solid games in 2021.
Compared to 2020, he threw 7 fewer touchdown passes and doubled the amount of interceptions with 14. He also did, however, suffer 23 more sacks, something that was often not his fault.
There is no perfect Quarterback stat but based off the eye test, Tannehill was far less accurate this season, even in his best games. At times, it was not clear whether Tannehill was struggling or the Titans were struggling but ultimately, the playoff game put that debate to bed.
Despite an outrageous 9 sack performance by the Titans defense, the offense struggled. Tannehill threw an interception on the first play of the game, the first play of the second half, and the Titans final offensive play of the game. Tennessee dominated in every facet of the game but still lost as Tannehill struggled to progress the ball even with playmakers surrounding him.
With all that being said, I do not think Tannehill is a terrible Quarterback, just not a Super Bowl caliber Quarterback. The hate is warranted but a bit overdone as Tannehill has proven he can win playoff games, just not be relied on to carry a team.
The playcalling in was horrid in 2021, a big contributor to Tannehill's struggle. Offensive Coordinator, Todd Downing, has never had success as a coordinator and while that can change, 2021 was not a good start. The low play action percentage and inability to get the ball to the team's best players worked against Tannehill. Tannehill definitely could have done better to get the ball to playmaker like Julio Jones but it begins with the playcalls.
Following Tannehill's breakout 2020 season, the Titans were met with a decision. Tom Brady, the league's greatest player ever, was reportedly interested in coming to Tennessee in free agency. Many factors pointed toward this interest like the team's successful 2020, opening at Quarterback, and Brady's connection with Coach Mike Vrabel.
Obviously a major mistake, the team ultimately opted to stick with Tannehill. Brady responded to the unnamed team who passed on him by saying "I'm sitting there thinking, you're sticking with that mother******? Are you serious?"
Recently, the Titans were mentioned surrounding Aaron Rodgers as he has showed great disgruntlement in Green Bay. He recently bought a property in Tennessee just like Tom Brady sold his New England property months before he left the Patriots.
Really, it makes more sense that Rodgers would stay in Green Bay despite their issues. Not to mention, Rodgers' attitude does not seem like something Mike Vrabel would want to deal with. Still, at 38 years old, Aaron Rodgers won the league's Most Valuable Player and would be worth the risk.
Another proven winner, Russel Wilson's name has also come up in discussions relating to the Titans Quarterback possibilities. Wilson, 33, has 5+ good seasons left and has been unhappy with his situation in Seattle. While this is a more realistic trade, the real problem is getting rid of Tannehill.
Tannehill's 2021 cap hit is $38.6m and he has a possible dead cap of $57.4m. Turning 34 in July, Tannehill is the oldest Quarterback in the AFC (yes really) and is obviously coming off a disappointing season.
The Titans are about to make a mistake not looking at a new Quarterback option. Ole Miss QB Matt Corral or Liberty's Malik Willis would be a really interesting option through the draft but I do not expect it. A late round QB selection would not surprise me however.
In the NFL, the best course of action is to get a Super Bowl capable Quarterback first and build the team around them but that is not what the Titans are doing. Ambitious teams, like the Rams, decide that they have a ceiling with their current Quarterback and go out to get someone like Matthew Stafford and now, are in the Super Bowl.
People often say that if you want to get rid of Tannehill, name a better option that you can replace him with.
I do not care what kind of cap manipulation or trade capital it takes but acquiring a top 10 Quarterback would be worth the resources, especially with the well-rounded team Tennessee has now.
Something like bringing in a capable backup, like Tannehill was brought in to backup Mariota in 2019, would also be an option. It would push Tannehill and either make him better, or provide a new option going forward.
There were plenty of problems with the Titans in 2021-22, especially at Quarterback, but don't expect Jon Robinson to make a change.