Ryan Tannehill: I don’t think it’s my job to mentor Malik Willis

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Tennessee Titans
Getty Images

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill admitted he was hurt personally and professionally by receiver A.J. Brown departing the organization.

But that wasn’t the only significant move Tennessee made that could significantly impact Tannehill’s job.

The Titans also drafted Malik Willis late in the third round on Friday, giving Tannehill some potential competition for QB1.

In his Tuesday press conference, Tannehill mentioned that he was not informed the club could take a quarterback before it happened. But he also understood that the front office would do what was in the best interest of the team — much like it did with Brown.

“I texted Malik right after we drafted him as well,” Tannehill said. “I have no problems with Malik. We’re looking to add talent and guys that can help us. We’ll add him to the room and go from there.”

That being said, Tannehill doesn’t appear poised to go out of his way to help Willis take his job.

“That’s part of being in a quarterback room, in the same room — we’re competing against each other, we’re watching the same tape, we’re doing the same drills,” Tannehill said. “I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him. But if he learns from me along the way, then that’s a great thing.”

Frankly, Tannehill’s stance is understandable and he has a point. He’s paid to play and win games. Pat O’Hara is paid to be the team’s quarterbacks coach.

Plus, Tannehill is still ostensibly in the prime of his career at 33.

Willis may very well take over as Tennessee’s QB1 sooner or later. But it’s Tannehill’s job to hold him off by playing well and winning games.

28 responses to “Ryan Tannehill: I don’t think it’s my job to mentor Malik Willis

  1. the center for the ravens just helped draft his replacement, pretty sure he will mentor him. doing that makes your TEAM better, it’s unfortunate some of these guys don’t see that

  2. At this point Willis is his backup. If you care about your team you should do anything you can to help your backup succeed in case you go down with an injury. You’re getting paid the same whether he eventually replaces you or not.

  3. As soon as the full locker room hears this, Ryan will get the stink-eye from certain leaders among the players and coaching staff.

  4. “Enjoy your practice squad paycheck”

    Seems nothing changes with this dude. Sorry to hear that.

  5. RT had his chance and a second chance. He is just above average. If he isn’t great by now he never will be.

  6. Its all he can say really. What did Tom Brady say when the Patriots used a 2nd round pick on Jimmy G? Much the same.
    Only a career backup would be looking to mentor a rookie.

  7. Huh, wonder if that was Mariotta’s attitude too when Tannehill arrived in Tennessee

  8. Tannehill has a $50 Million Plus cap hit next year, he can see the writing on the wall.

  9. If I were Malik, I wouldn’t worry about it either, as Tannehill won’t have to wonder too much longer. Ask Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott how life turned out for them…

  10. I get that no one wants to train their successor and that it’s not his job. I also understand that some people in the locker room are going to like Willis better than Tannehill and if the perception is that Tannehill is giving Willis the shaft it lays the foundation for dividing the locker room.

  11. Looking at this comment section, people sure get up in arms over the littlest of things lol. Why would he want to go above and beyond to help someone take his job? That’s what they have coaches for. Tannehill even said it’s great if Willis does learn from him. I wonder if the same people would have said the same thing back in the day when Montana was unhappy about Steve Young being in SF. Good for Tannehill

  12. A decent professional who can de-center himself is ALWAYS willing to train his/her/their successor. Mentorship makes the mentee AND mentor better leaders.

  13. RT gets paid $ 30M/yr to help his team win. The goal of everyone on that team is to help the team win. Since when is it acceptable to say, Hey, that’s not my job. Kickers tackle, receivers block, Defense intercepts and runs the ball. Ya do what’s needed to help win games. If RT helps out by working with the new guy, he is helping the team in case of injury or change of status. If he doesn’t, the rest of the team will see that and that certainly won’t earn their respect. Unless RT consistently wins. Winning is everything.

  14. I’m pretty sure Titians fans want Tannehill to focus on game prep and winning games…let the coaches prepare the rookie this year and if he’s as great as the pre-draft experts said, he’ll blow right by and be QB1 in 2023.

  15. Did Brady mentor Jimmy G or Stidham or Matt Cassell or Ryan Mallett? No, so I don’t expect Tanneill to mentor Willis.

  16. It is NOT his job to do that. It’s the Coaches job to do that. Sick and tired of people crying about the fact that he said that….. Favre said it about Rodgers and MANY others have said the very same thing… Quit trying to paint that this is happening for other reasons…. it’s not and he’s NOT wrong.

  17. It most definitely is his job….anything to make your team better, period. No different than being a journeyman in any trade teaching an apprentice….if you’re worried about losing your job than your aren’t any good at it any more

  18. This is like a corporation bringing in your replacement and telling you to train them, I’d tell them to GFT and make them fire me!

  19. Exactly what I expected him to say knowing he’s a self involved “leader”. Everyone knows its not your job but you don’t say that. He’s not showing leadership or being a good teammate. What if he goes down and the team needs Willis to win a few games until RT is back for the playoffs? Wouldn’t everyone hope he’d worked a little with Malik? It’s just a bad look but not surprising from him. This will be his last year in TN then he’ll bounce around as a backup for a few years.

  20. I say this all the time – players are asked tons of questions. Tannehill was probably answering a question. He did not say that he would actively obstruct Willis’ development. What he said is correct – his job is to be QB1. The QB coach and others should be mentoring Willis. Tannehill has to focus on his own preparation.

    It’s not like if Willis asks him a question he’ll say “Sorry, I’m not talking to you”.

  21. Most players can’t see beyond themselves. Add Tannehill to that list. Having a capable backup is good for any team. I guess they all are worried about being the next Bledsoe.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.