The Titans have seen a glimpse of the future during their past two games, but their present starting quarterback should be available in Week 10. Ryan Tannehill is expected to make his return on Sunday, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).
The 34-year-old played through an ankle injury during Tennessee’s second win over Indianapolis this season. He was seen in a walking boot after that contest, though, leaving his immediate availability in question. The injury interrupted Tannehill’s fourth season with the Titans, during which he has thrown just six touchdowns in six games while averaging 183 passing yards per contest.
That has been driven in large part, of course, by the team’s commitment to Derrick Henry and the run game. Still, it does not represent the return to the form of previous years which he and the team were looking for. Given his age and contract status – the one-time Pro Bowler has a cap hit of $36.6MM next season, during which he is due a non-guaranteed salary of $27MM – Tannehill’s status as the starter was a topic of conversation in the offseason.
He was reportedly safe from the challenge of rookie Malik Willis entering the year, however, as the Liberty alum was seen as being in need of significant development time. It was the latter who filled in for Tannehill over the past two games. Looking to shelter him with an even more run-heavy approach, the Titans kept the third-rounder to just 26 pass attempts across their win over the Texans and loss to the Chiefs. Overall, Willis totaled 135 yards and an interception through the air, adding 52 yards on the ground.
With Tannehill back under center tomorrow, the Titans will look to rebound from that overtime primetime defeat against the struggling Broncos. Leading the AFC South at 5-3, Tennessee’s potential uptick in passing proficiency could help them secure a home playoff berth down the stretch, as Tannehill auditions to remain the team’s No. 1 QB.