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"Escapee Kids" Provide Extra Challenge for Titans QB Ryan Tannehill During Virtual Offseason Program


NASHVILLE – Standing in the pocket on the football field, Ryan Tannehill has dealt with ferocious defensive linemen and blitzing linebackers.

When he's taken off, he's had hard-hitting safeties ready to deliver the boom.

During the days of the coronavirus pandemic, when virtual meetings have ruled the NFL workday, the Titans quarterback has had to deal with something else in his South Florida home:

Kids on the loose.

"It can be tough – thankfully our meeting time overlaps with their nap time a little bit," a smiling Tannehill said of his two young children on Wednesday. "I kind of lock myself in a guest bedroom and separate myself from them. My wife does a great job of keeping them away.

"But there's been a few times when there's been an escapee kid and they come barging in or they try to distract me from the outside. But it's all good. I think that's one thing the guys have done a really good job on is being able to focus in and try to eliminate the outside distractions, where you're not getting all kinds of outside noise and background noise and things like that. It's really been professional and we're getting a lot out of if."

Overall, however, Tannehill said the virtual offseason program has gone well.

In meetings, he said players have been engaged in quizzes during the week, and offensive coordinator Arthur Smith's work on the white board has led to productive discussions.

Players and coaches currently aren't allowed in facilities, and it's unclear when that might be permitted. On Wednesday, the NFL extended virtual workouts until May 29.

"They've been good," Tannehill said on Wednesday during the Official Titans Podcast (OTP). "Obviously, coming in, I didn't really know what to expect, how things were going to go, just had some discussions with Arthur beforehand, just trying to figure out how this thing was going to go and the best way to go about it. But I feel like guys have been really engaged and done a great job of getting the most we can out of these meetings. Honestly, it's not a whole lot different than being in these meeting rooms together. We are communicating, guys are speaking up, questions are being asked and we're just trying to grow together and grow on the same page. … I've really been proud of the guys and the way they've embraced it.

"This is the situation that we're in. We didn't really want to be in this situation but there are times in life when adversity comes your way … and it's about what you do with it."

Tannehill was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 2019 after leading the NFL with a 117.5 rating in 2019, his first season with the Titans. He guided the Titans to a pair of playoff wins – at New England and Baltimore – and into the AFC Championship Game, where the Titans lost to the Chiefs.

During the regular season, Tannehill threw for 2,742 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. He's guided the Titans to a 9-4 mark, including playoffs, since taking over as the team's starter in Week 7.

In his appearance on the OTP, Tannehill talked more about training with tight end Jonnu Smith while he's been in South Florida. As he looked ahead to the 2020 season, he believes the work while away from the facility should help the team.

"It's been great," he said "I'm thankful to have Jonnu down here in South Florida. I wish I was with all the guys getting ready for some OTAs but having Jonnu down here – we've been working for a couple of months now – we've been throwing. Seeing him and having a familiar face and getting in the same page with Jonnu has been really good. I think he is dynamic weapon."

As a team, Tannehill said he'd like to see the Titans be more efficient on offense in 2020 compared to last season.

"One of our keys this year is just being more efficient in everything we do," he said. "Whether it's a single route or where the ball goes in a concept. Being more efficient and getting the most we can out of every single play, and with that comes consistency. The more you can be consistent with every position that's on the field, the better you're going to be."

A look back at QB Ryan Tannehill's 2019 Pro Bowl season that saw him complete 201-of-286 passes (70.3%) for 2,742 yards, 22 touchdowns, and an NFL-leading 117.5 passer rating. (Photos: Donald Page).

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