If it comes to who is starting under center for the Titans this year, there is no tumult in Tennessee: Marcus Mariota is the starter and Ryan Tannehill is not.
That is the word from Titans coach Mike Vrabel, who reiterated that this weekend which Tannehill, whom Tennessee obtained in a trade from the Miami Dolphins, will not be competing for starting snaps in training camp.
“His occupation as a backup — everybody’s occupation for a backup — would be to push the guy in front of him,” Vrabel said this weekend, per UPI. “To compete and try to make yourself better and try to make the team and see how everyone reacts.”
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This season will probably be Tannehill as a QB. He was on the bench in Miami but due to harm rather than performance reasons. Drafted by Miami eighth in the 2012 draft, Tannehill began 77 games before being felled by a torn ACL to start his career. The Dolphins, under new leadership, proceeded on from Tannehill this offseason, shipping him to Tennessee and substituting him with Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The prior Fins starter has already said this offseason that transitioning to a backup function was”definitely tough at times,” but that he is acclimating well to carrying a back seat to Mariota.
“I think there is a lot of mutual respect between us,” Tannehill said in late May. “I will attempt to assist Marcus as much as I can. I believe Marcus has done the exact same for me”
Though Mariota’s starting job is not immediately threatened by Tannehill’s presence, the Titans franchise QB is on a short leash this year. Mariota is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie deal without an assurance he will find a new contract from the club.
The former second overall pick has dealt with injuries and fought with unsteady play over the last four seasons, like Tannehill. Mariota sat out the last two games of the 2018 campaign using a stinger, ceding duties to usher Tennessee into the postseason to Blaine Gabbert. The Titans couldn’t get the task done, dropping their season finale into the rival Indianapolis Colts at home on”Sunday Night Football.”
The trade for Tannehill appeared a direct reply to the annoyance of the conclusion of past season. Tennessee wanted better Mariota insurance, for this season and possibly a Mariota-less year in the not too distant future, and Tannehill had the bona fides.
Tennessee is hoping Tannehill flips a switch in Mariota at the latter’s contract year. But whether the presence of a longtime starting signal-caller supporting a franchise quarterback like Mariota will complicate matters at Titans camp remains to be seen.
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