Titans coach Mike Vrabel said the addition of the former Dolphins first-rounder will serve as an important insurance policy but the message should not be misconstrued as it pertains to Mariota’s status.
“The message is it’s understood we’re going to put as many guys on the roster as possible that can compete and help us win,” Vrabel said, via Jim Wyatt of the team’s official website. “It only makes guys better.
“Obviously if Marcus is healthy, and he’s available, he’s our starter. We just felt like, to be able to strengthen the position, to have a chance to add a player like Ryan, who could help us if Marcus isn’t available, then we were excited to do so.”
The Titans played a game bearing playoff implications with Blaine Gabbert under center, so the need for an upgrade at backup was clear. But Mariota’s history of missing at least some time (he hasn’t played 16 games in a season yet) made it reasonable to wonder what Tannehill’s actual role would be.
“We felt like he’s a proven starter, a starter in this league for a lot of years,” Vrabel said of Tannehill. “We felt like it upgraded the position. Blaine did a great job. Blaine did everything that was asked of him. Blaine was amazing in the room, after hours, helping out, trying to find ways to do things for us offensively and give us an edge. He was great with Marcus. He got thrown into a couple of tight spots and he competed and did a nice job. We just felt like an opportunity came for us to upgrade the position and we did it.”
They’ll add another young quarterback at some point, but they’ve at least given themselves more of a chance with Tannehill, as they hope they don’t need to use him.