Malik Willis

Titans Rumors: Henry, Skoronski, QB

For the last few weeks, it has seemed like a foregone conclusion that veteran running back Derrick Henry is leaving Tennessee, with many even tracking the potential sale of his Nashville home and the purchase of a new home Dallas, where he has trained for years in the offseason. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler delivered the report many Titans fans were fearing today, claiming a low likelihood for Henry to return to Tennessee in 2024. He claims “the door is not completely closed,” but all signs continue to point towards the nearest exit.

The 30-year-old rusher heads to free agency as arguably the best running back option available in a loaded group. According to projected market values on, Henry is poised to make the most in 2024 out of a position group that includes the likes of Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, D’Andre Swift, Austin Ekeler, and Tony Pollard. The site projects Henry to be the only one of that group to make north of $10MM in 2024.

The two-time NFL rushing leader and 2020 Offensive Player of the Year was connected to the Ravens before the trade deadline and has continued to be linked to Baltimore since projections for his departure began. Plenty of other teams will vie for Henry after he finished second in the league last season with 1,167 rushing yards.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of Tennessee:

  • At the NFL scouting combine last week, new head coach Brian Callahan had an opportunity to speak in front of the media. Callahan spoke on one of his young, new players, offensive lineman Peter Skoronski, in Indianapolis, stating that he believes that offensive guard is Skoronski’s best position. Despite spending 2022 as college football’s most dominant pass blocker as an offensive tackle at Northwestern, Skoronski fell victim to concerns about his 32-inch arms, considered too short for an NFL tackle. After getting selected No. 11 overall by Tennessee, Skoronski would go on to become the Titans starting left guard, where he would grade out as the league’s 29th best guard out of 79 graded players. Whether or not Skoronski has aspirations of kicking out to tackle at the NFL level, it sounds like Callahan intends to keep him inside.
  • Lastly, Titans general manager Ran Carthon made headlines when making the statement recently that the team intends to bring in another quarterback to compete this offseason, according to Titans staff writer Jim Wyatt. With long-time veteran starter Ryan Tannehill‘s contract expiring, the team is left with only second-year starter Will Levis and former third-round pick Malik Willis at quarterback. The team apparently feels generally comfortable heading into the year with Levis as the penciled-in starter, and Carthon believes Willis has developed over his two years in the league. Still, Tennessee will want to bring in some competition. It’s unclear if they want someone like Kirk Cousins or Baker Mayfield to come in and compete for a starting job or if they would rather bring in someone like Jacoby Brissett or Tyrod Taylor, who could serve as a more reliable backup should Levis be injured or fail to play up to par. This seems like a perfect opportunity for Joe Flacco, who, since leaving Baltimore, has made a point to pursue jobs in which he has a strong chance of starting games. Regardless, there should be some new faces in red jerseys at camp this summer.

Titans Planning To Start Will Levis In Week 8; Malik Willis Expected To See Time

OCTOBER 27: As expected, the Titans ruled out Tannehill for Week 8. After not missing a start during his first three seasons with Tennessee, the former injury-prone Miami starter has seen ankle trouble sideline him again. This will be Tannehill’s sixth ankle-driven absence in the past two seasons.

OCTOBER 25: Exiting their bye at 2-4, the Titans made a notable trade Monday in sending All-Pro safety Kevin Byard to the Eagles. On the heels of that decision, Tennessee is expected to roll with an unorthodox plan at quarterback in Week 8.

Mike Vrabel said both Malik Willis and Will Levis are likely to play against the Falcons, but’s Ian Rapoport adds the rookie is expected to make the start in the event Ryan Tannehill cannot go. Dealing with an ankle injury, Tannehill is unlikely to play against Atlanta. The Titans may go as far to alternate Levis and Willis by series, Vrabel added (via’s Turron Davenport), though the sixth-year Tennessee HC did not confirm Tannehill would miss the game.

When Tannehill went down during the Titans’ loss to the Ravens in London, Willis received the first call. The 2022 third-round pick worked as Tannehill’s backup for much of last season, though he experienced initial struggles acclimating to the NFL. Willis still beat out Levis for Tennessee’s QB2 job coming into this season, but the Titans will take a longer look at the second-round rookie. The No. 33 overall pick is on track to see more time than Willis, per Rapoport.

The Titans are in the unusual position of attempting to develop two quarterbacks behind Tannehill. While Willis qualifies as a developmental option, he did not threaten Tannehill’s job security last season. Willis’ first-year woes (50.8% completion rate, 4.5 yards per attempt) led the Titans to sign Josh Dobbs off the Lions’ practice squad late last year and use the latter as their starter in Weeks 17 and 18. Willis also arrived under since-fired GM Jon Robinson, whereas new GM Ran Carthon selected Levis in April.

Closely linked to a quarterback trade-up in Round 1, the Titans engaged in talks with the Cardinals about moving up to No. 3. C.J. Stroud was believed to be the team’s target, but when the Texans chose Stroud at No. 2 overall, the Titans are believed to have backed out of trade talks and regrouped. Tennessee chose guard Peter Skoronski at No. 11 but made its QB strike early the following night, reengaging with the Cards by moving up eight spots for Levis, who was heavily rumored to be a first-round pick.

Mentioned as a Colts target at No. 4 overall, Levis indeed had fans in Indianapolis’ building. But the Colts look to have run a bit of a smokescreen aimed at drafting Anthony Richardson. A two-year starter at Kentucky, Levis tumbled out of Round 1 and hit the developmental track as the other top QBs in this class received calls to start in Week 1.

The Titans entered their bye week bracing for another Tannehill absence. The 12th-year quarterback missed two sections of last season because of ankle trouble, the first of which coming around midseason and leading Willis into the lineup. Vrabel likened Tannehill’s current injury to the one he sustained midway through last year, as opposed to the malady that required a season-ending surgery last December. Tannehill, 35, is in the final season of a four-year Titans contract. Levis seeing extended time this season makes sense, and signs of a long Levis look open the door to more seller’s trades from a Titans team that made several cost-cutting moves this offseason.

DL Denico Autry Drawing Trade Interest; Titans Open To Moving Derrick Henry?

Although Denico Autry is in his age-33 season and operates as a sidekick of sorts on a Titans front seven anchored by Jeffery Simmons and Harold Landry, trade interest has emerged. With Autry in a contract year, teams are monitoring him as a deadline buy.

The 10th-year defensive lineman has become a hot name of sorts ahead of the Oct. 31 deadline, Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post notes. Should the Titans be prepared to unload the experienced pass rusher,’s Jeremy Fowler adds this would be an interesting market.

During a period in which the Titans missed on a few pass rushers — Bud Dupree, Jadeveon Clowney, Vic Beasley, Cameron Wake — since-ousted GM Jon Robinson did well to land Autry, who has been a central component on Tennessee’s defense despite moving toward his mid-30s. Autry signed a three-year, $21.5MM deal ahead of his age-31 season, with the contract coming during the same week in which the Titans overpaid Dupree. But Autry helped compensate for that miss, totaling 17 sacks and 37 quarterback hits between the 2021 and ’22 seasons. Thus far this year, the versatile D-lineman has four sacks and nine QB hits.

Autry is tied to a $6.75MM base salary, giving other teams a price tag barely north of $3MM to pick up in the event of a post-Week 8 trade. A former Raiders UDFA who has been a late-bloomer, Autry has done his best work in the AFC South. A midcareer Colts stay drove up his market in 2021, and he has not slowed down with the Titans. Earning another midlevel contract in 2024 will likely be on the table for Autry, but the issue now will be if the Titans like an offer enough to move on early.

Tennessee traded Kevin Byard to Philadelphia on Monday, a move that will likely prompt teams to investigate if the 2-4 club will be willing to deal away more parts. Ryan Tannehill‘s expected Week 8 absence will lead to the strange setup of Will Levis and Malik Willis each playing — perhaps alternating series, per Mike Vrabel — against the Falcons. That may be by design to showcase Willis, with Fowler adding the second-year QB is more likely to be dealt than Tannehill. The latter’s injury makes it fairly certain he will stay in Tennessee for the season’s remainder, but with the 35-year-old passer on an expiring contract, the Titans will have big questions to answer at the position soon. Considering Willis’ early-career form, the Titans will not recoup anything close to the No. 86 overall pick they invested last year.

Derrick Henry joins Tannehill and Autry on an expiring deal. The Titans reupped Tannehill and Henry during the 2020 offseason, tagging and then extending Henry in July of that year. The dominant running back came up loosely in trade rumors before the draft, but a report last week indicated the team was more likely to stick with the potential Hall of Famer. But Fowler views Henry as a player the Titans would likely consider trading, adding that some league personnel believed the team was open to doing so this offseason.

The two-time rushing champion received a raise for the 2022 season, but he remains attached to the four-year, $50MM extension he signed three summers ago. Henry, 29, is playing on a $10.5MM salary. With more than $5.5MM due between Weeks 9 and 18, the Titans would stand to run into an issue in an effort to unload one of their all-time greats. Execs around the league believe this will be an impediment to the point Tennessee would likely need to pick up some salary to move on, Fowler adds, and it is far from certain the team would be willing to do that in order to cut ties with a three-time Pro Bowler.

The Titans have third-round pick Tyjae Spears in place once Henry departs, and while teams do not make a habit of re-signing workhorse backs ahead of age-30 seasons, it is not a lock the parties do not discuss a third contract before free agency. For now, however, Henry is playing out a contract year and looms as a fringe trade candidate for a team in transition.

Titans Bracing For Ryan Tannehill Absence

Two Titans quarterbacks are in development behind Ryan Tannehill. After the organization has attempted to back-burner the training of Malik Willis and Will Levis, one of the two will likely need to start when the team comes off its bye in Week 8.

The Titans are bracing to be without Tannehill due to the high ankle sprain he suffered Sunday in London,’s Jeremy Fowler notes. Tannehill injured the same right ankle on which he underwent surgery. The 12th-year quarterback suffered multiple injuries to this ankle last season, the first costing him midseason time and the second leading to the season-ending procedure.

Tannehill’s latest injury is not believed to be as serious as the one that shut down the five-year Titans starter, per Fowler, though a multi-game absence is in play. But Mike Vrabel compared it to the malady that sidelined his starter in October 2022. Even with the Titans in their bye week, it appears likely Tannehill will not be ready to go after an extra stretch of rest.

Tennessee moved Willis into its lineup against Baltimore. While the 2022 third-round pick completed four of five passes, much his 80 yards came on a Tyjae Spears catch-and-run. The Liberty alum took four sacks in two drives against the Ravens. Willis looked incredibly raw when called upon as a rookie, almost definitely costing the Titans a win in Kansas City and then seeing the team use Josh Dobbs to close out the season despite the latter being signed off the Lions’ practice squad days before. Levis has not taken any regular-season snaps, with Willis having beaten out the second-round pick for the QB2 job during the preseason.

The Titans are giving each young QB extra work during the bye week, per Jim Wyatt of the team website. Developing two QBs has introduced an interesting dynamic, one pass-game coordinator Charles London called “unusual.” Vrabel was present when the Titans stopped Willis’ slide last year, while GM Ran Carthon had no hand in the Willis pick. Carthon engineered a trade-up for Levis at No. 34 — coming after steady buzz the Titans would trade up in Round 1 for a Tannehill heir apparent. Once the Texans chose C.J. Stroud at No. 2 overall, the Titans were believed to have ended their effort to climb up the board in Round 1.

Tannehill’s four-year, $118MM contract expires at season’s end, making a midseason audition from one or both of the backups pertinent to the team’s future. The Titans were believed to have dangled their starter in trades before the draft, and it is no secret the former top-10 pick’s Titans future is cloudy as a lame duck. Tannehill, 35, will need to bounce back upon return from this injury to solidify a 2024 free agent market. Although injuries led Tannehill out of Miami, he stayed healthy from 2019-21 to lead Tennessee to three playoff berths. But ankle trouble has intervened regularly over the past year.

With Tennessee at 2-4 and likely needing to start one of its unseasoned reserves, the prospect of a late-season audition — along the lines of what the Falcons provided Desmond Ridder last year — could be in play should the team drift off the contention radar. The Titans have qualified for the playoffs or been in that mix since 2017, but they made several cost-cutting moves this offseason — a few of which coming on the offensive line. Should losses pile up, the retooling team will face decisions at the trade deadline (regarding non-QB pieces) and down the stretch (at quarterback).

QB Malik Willis Not Guaranteed To Make Titans Roster

Despite being selected in the third round of the 2022 draft, Malik Willis isn’t a lock to make the Titans roster. While Jim Wyatt of the team’s website believes the quarterback will ultimately make the squad, he cautions that the “roster spot isn’t guaranteed.”

The Titans drafted Willis as more of a long-term project instead of a definitive successor to Ryan Tannehill, but the Liberty product was thrown into the fire as a rookie. Willis ended up going 1-2 in his three starts, completing 50.8 percent of his passes for 276 and three interceptions. He also added 123 rushing yards and one touchdown on 27 attempts.

Tannehill struggled through injuries and saw a drop in production in 2022, but the Titans will bring him back for at least one more season in 2023. At one time, the organization likely envisioned Willis stepping into a full-time role for the 2024 campaign, but things quickly changed during this past year’s draft.

Will Levis fell out of the first round, and the Titans made a move to acquire the No. 33 pick and select the Kentucky quarterback. Levis is now the clear future at the position for the Titans, leaving Willis on the outside looking in. Coach Mike Vrabel previously labeled Willis as his QB2 and the rookie as QB3, but it now sounds like the second-year quarterback will be fighting for his roster spot.

Passing game coordinator Tim Kelly and quarterbacks coach Charles London reportedly are not sold on Willis, and even with the new rule that provides an extra roster spot for a third QB, Wyatt thinks the 24-year-old will have to earn his way on the team. On the flip side, Wyatt also thinks Willis looked better than Levis during minicamp, and the writer is more confident now than he was before that the team will ultimately carry all three quarterbacks.

Fortunately for the Titans, it doesn’t sound like Willis is distracted by his uncertain roster status.

“I don’t really get into all that,” Willis said (via “I just try to go to work every day. … It’s a results-based business. It doesn’t matter what I think, it doesn’t matter what you think, it just is. I am just focusing on what I can control.”

Latest On Titans’ QB Situation With Addition Of Will Levis

There were two levels of surprise when the 33rd pick of the 2023 NFL Draft was announced: 1) surprise that Kentucky quarterback Will Levis had slid back this far and 2) surprise that it was the Titans who felt they needed him badly enough to trade up to draft him. We have a bit more information today as we’ve moved on into the later rounds of the draft.

There were likely several factors that culminated in Levis falling out of the first round, but one of the sticking points was reportedly a potentially lingering toe injury that gave a few teams pause. According to Titans staff writer Jim Wyatt, Levis has let the team know that “his toe feels good” and, currently, there are no plans for follow-up procedures. Any concerns about the previous ailment should be put to rest, especially when considering that he won’t be expected to start any time soon.

That is straight from the mouth of head coach Mike Vrabel, who confirmed this morning that Levis is not expected to be the new starter in Tennessee, according to Bobby Kownack of With incumbent starter Ryan Tannehill returning for at least one more year and Malik Willis back after a turbulent rookie season, Levis has a few depth chart spots to overcome before he’s running with the first-team on a consistent basis.

“Ryan will be the starting quarterback on Monday,” Vrabel confirmed at a press conference last night. “Malik will be the backup. Will will be the third quarterback. And what I’ve told them is whatever happens after that will be up to the players. That’s what it’s always been here. That’s what we always want it to be.”

Tannehill returns after a season that saw him struggle with a lack of production and with injuries. When Tannehill missed time, Tennessee attempted to turn to Willis, a third-round rookie out of Liberty who was expected to be a long-term development project. With Willis seemingly overmatched in his early days as a pro, the team eventually signed local veteran product Joshua Dobbs for two late starts to help close the season.

The Titans shuffled their offensive staff a bit in the offseason, promoting passing game coordinator Tim Kelly to offensive coordinator and bringing in Charles London from Atlanta to serve as passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach. The new coaches reportedly are not sold on Willis and may not be committed to sticking with the project passer. With Dobbs returning to Cleveland, it makes much more sense for Tennessee to invest a number of draft picks in securing a potential quarterback of the future.

Levis, much like Willis, has many physical tools that can lead to success at the NFL-level but will have some mental development to undergo before taking the reins in Tennessee. His decision making was often called into question as he threw 25 interceptions in Lexington.

Willis and Levis presumably still have some time to work on their respective developments. Tannehill has one more year on his contract and should be the starter in 2023. What happens after that will be determined in camps and practices in Nashville.

Titans’ Derrick Henry, Ryan Tannehill Available In Trades?

Having moved on from several starters this offseason, new Titans GM Ran Carthon is now in charge of a roster carrying two contract-year cornerstones. The deals Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry signed back in 2020 expire after this coming season.

Rumblings about the Titans shopping Henry circulated just before free agency, and while the two-time rushing champion remains on Tennessee’s roster, the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora notes the team is indeed open to moving him. Tannehill should also be monitored as a trade candidate, La Canfora adds.

[RELATED: Titans Interested In Trading Up For QB]

The Titans have been connected to quarterbacks in this draft for weeks; they hosted Will Levis on Tuesday and will meet with Anthony Richardson. Though, trade-up scenarios also may involve Tannehill staying put and serving as a bridge player ahead of a 2024 separation. The team cutting the cord now would obviously intensify its need at the position and raise the stakes for Carthon’s first draft as a GM. Tannehill is due a $27MM base salary, and his $36.6MM cap number tops the Titans’ payroll by more than $15MM.

Tannehill’s run of health as a Titan came to an end last season; Tennessee’s starter finished the season on IR after ankle surgery. Tannehill’s unavailability was among the Titans’ top issues in 2022. While Tannehill’s 2019 resurgence elevated the Titans and began a stretch of three consecutive playoff berths for the AFC South franchise, the QB’s high paragraph 5 salary and age (35 in July) will not give the Titans a strong trade market. It would also cost the Titans $18.8MM in dead money to trade Tannehill before June 1.

Teams have already made moves to bring in veteran options as well. The Titans, who acquired Tannehill for just fourth- and seventh-round picks back in 2019, can bolster their draft capital by dealing their four-year starter in the next two weeks. The team could also eat some of Tannehill’s salary to prompt a better offer. Absent many logical suitors, however, it would surprise if a major trade package became available — barring an unexpected injury affecting a team’s depth chart. Waiting on an injury would put the Titans in the same place the 49ers resided with Jimmy Garoppolo last year, but as of now, the team does not have another starter-caliber option on the roster. The new Titans regime does not appear too intrigued by Malik Willis, La Canfora adds, given the 2022 third-rounder’s rookie-year struggles.

Even as Henry missed half the 2021 season with a foot fracture, his 6,042 rushing yards since 2019 lead all rushers in that span by nearly 700. The Titans also authorized a raise for their dominant back last year, but the GM who signed off on that — Jon Robinson — was fired months later. Henry is tied to a $10.5MM base salary this season. The eighth-year back rebounded from his foot injury to amass 1,538 rushing yards — two shy of the total he won the 2019 rushing title with — but he logged an NFL-high 349 carries.

Henry, 28, is undoubtedly near the end of his run, and the Titans would be unlikely to obtain too much in a trade. The team did experience issues finding a Henry backup, but D’Onta Foreman ran effectively in the Alabama alum’s absence in 2021. Henry’s unique presence in the modern game aside, the Titans would have a more difficult time replacing Tannehill. Austin Ekeler‘s struggle finding a trade partner also shows what might await the Titans if they were to insist on trading Henry.

Tennessee extracted considerable value from Tannehill’s $29.5MM-per-year deal and Henry’s $12.5MM-AAV pact. Whether the Titans trade up for a quarterback and how they navigate a running back-rich draft will be telling, but for now, their offense still centers around Robinson-era investments.

Titans To Start Joshua Dobbs Vs. Cowboys

The Titans are not exactly going into Thursday night’s Cowboys game with a clear intent to win. The injury-plagued team is planning to rest numerous starters, with a Week 18 date against the Jaguars set to determine its playoff fate.

But Tennessee will make an interesting change at quarterback. Rather than give Malik Willis more reps in his rookie season, the Titans are preparing to start recent acquisition Joshua Dobbs, Justin Melo of The Draft Network tweets. Tennessee brought in Dobbs on Dec. 21, with Ryan Tannehill out with an ankle injury. Tannehill is not expected to return this season, though the starter has not shut it down just yet.

A former Tennessee Volunteer, Dobbs has bounced around in the pros. The sixth-year backup has been with three teams just this year, moving from Cleveland to Detroit to Nashville over the past month. The former fourth-round pick has not thrown any regular-season passes this season; his most recent game work came in 2020 with the Steelers. The Browns signed Dobbs this offseason and used him as Jacoby Brissett‘s backup for much of the year, but once Deshaun Watson was eligible to play, Cleveland cut bait. Dobbs landed in Detroit, but Tennessee poached him from the Lions’ practice squad.

Dobbs has seen most of his NFL work come in the preseason, and the Titans’ Week 17 lineup will have the look of an August matchup. Tennessee placed O-line starters Nate Davis and Ben Jones on IR last week, and the team will be without right tackle starter Nicholas Petit-Frere against Dallas. With Taylor Lewan out of the picture, the Titans will deploy basically a second-string O-line tonight. While Willis’ early work points to extensive development being needed, the Titans may be leery of putting the third-round pick behind this set of blockers against a top-tier Cowboys pass rush.

In an arrangement that will surely test Al Michaels’ patience, Titans will also sit Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry, Amani Hooker, Bud Dupree and Zach Cunningham. Oh, and they are unlikely to deploy Derrick Henry, who is doubtful with a hip injury. This sets up an unusual Week 17 and an odd Week 18 plan. The Titans look like they will be trying to salvage their season in Jacksonville next week on the heels of a six-game losing streak. Even if the Titans drop to 7-9 tonight, the AFC South will be on the line next week.

Willis has shown some promise in the run game but has looked woefully overmatched through the air. The mid-major product has not eclipsed 100 passing yards in any of his three pro starts and has a 0-3 TD-INT ratio on 61 pass attempts. It will be interesting if the Titans turn back to Willis or go with Dobbs (17 career attempts) against the Jaguars, when they reconvene for relevant football, next week.

Latest On Titans QB Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill‘s season may not be over after all. The Titans quarterback underwent surgery on his ankle this week, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. While the QB is a “long shot” to play again this year, the veteran is doing everything in his power to return to the field. However, a league source told Schefter that Tannehill isn’t expected to appear again during the regular season (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Titans’ Ryan Tannehill Likely Out For Season]

Tannehill suffered a right ankle injury during last weekend’s loss to the Chargers. While the veteran QB only missed one series, he dealt with significant pain after returning to the game. Tannehill suffered an injury to the same ankle earlier this season, forcing him to miss a pair of games.

The QB has already been ruled out for this weekend, with third-round rookie Malik Willis taking over under center. Considering the severity of Tannehill’s injury, it was assumed the young QB would remain the signal-caller for the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs (assuming Tennessee makes it that far). However, today’s report hints that the veteran will try to return at some point over the next three weeks or for the first round of the postseason. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport writes that Tannehill is specifically eyeing a return for a potentially crucial Week 18 showdown against the Jaguars.

“We are never going to question his toughness or his willingness to get back and help us win,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said last weekend (via Schefter).

Rapoport provides more details on Tannehill’s recent surgery, noting that the QB underwent a tightrope surgical procedure on his injured ankle. The recovery time for the procedure can vary, but Rapoport says the best-case scenario has a player returning in about three weeks. As the reporter notes, it’s a bit telling that Tannehill has gone under the knife but hasn’t been placed on IR, an indication that the organization is hoping he’ll be back at some point within the next four weeks.

The Titans would surely prefer their veteran QB under center against the Cowboys and Jaguars, but it’s not like he was doing a whole lot to help their playoff chances. While Tennessee currently sits atop the AFC South, they’ve dropped four straight, with Tannehill throwing three touchdowns vs. two interceptions over that stretch.

Titans’ Ryan Tannehill Likely Out For Season

DECEMBER 22: It will be Willis, for this week at least, at quarterback for the Titans. Vrabel ruled out Tannehill for the Titans’ Week 16 rematch against the Texans. This will be Willis’ second start against the Texans.

DECEMBER 21: Ryan Tannehill‘s ankle injury could ultimately end his season. According to Paul Kuharsky, the Titans quarterback’s injury could require surgery and “will very likely end his season.”

[RELATED: Ryan Tannehill Unlikely To Play In Week 16]

Tannehill suffered a right ankle injury during Sunday’s loss to the Chargers. While the veteran QB only missed one series, he dealt with significant pain after returning to the game. Tannehill suffered an injury to the same ankle earlier this season, forcing him to miss a pair of games.

We heard yesterday that Tannehill was facing an uphill battle to play in Week 16, and as Kuharsky notes, offensive coordinator Todd Downing spoke as if third-round rookie Malik Willis will start against the Texans. Coach Mike Vrabel also gave the young signal-caller a vote of confidence this week.

“I’ve seen a lot of maturity and growth, seen the way that his reps are coming in our show team and trying to get him to act like the starting quarterback and lead that unit and communicate our language, the call that’s on the card, the operation, the snap count, the cadence, whether we go on the ball the next play,” Vrabel said (via Nick Suss of the Nashville Tennessean). “All those looks that we try to give him, I’ve seen a lot of maturity and growth in that regard.”

Willis didn’t look completely hopeless during his two starts, although the coaching staff limited him to only 26 pass attempts between the two games. With Derrick Henry in the backfield, the Titans should have enough to get past the Titans in Week 16.

The Titans would surely prefer their veteran QB under center against the Cowboys and Jaguars, but it’s not like he was doing a whole lot to help their playoff chances. While Tennessee currently sits atop the AFC South, they’ve dropped four straight, with Tannehill throwing three touchdowns vs. two interceptions over that stretch.