NASHVILLE – When quarterback Ryan Tannehill was traded to the Titans back in March, he was looking forward to a fresh start.
As of Wednesday, his fresh start includes an increased role – Tannehill has been named the team's starter, beginning with Sunday's game against the Chargers.
"I am really excited," Tannehill said. "I didn't know what was going to happen when I signed here. But obviously I love playing the game, love being on the field, love competing with the guys in this locker room. So I am really excited to go out hopefully lead this team to wins.
"To get a starting role back at this point is really exciting for me, and I definitely want to take advantage of it. I am not trying to prove anything other than I can lead this team to wins."
Titans coach Mike Vrabel announced the team's plans to start Tannehill during a press conference on Wednesday morning at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
In making the move, Vrabel said he felt like the offense needed a "spark."
Tannehill, acquired this offseason in a trade with the Dolphins, has played in 89 games in his career, with 88 starts. He's completed 1,829-of-2,911 passes for 20,434 yards with 123 touchdowns and 75 interceptions. A first-round pick of the Dolphins in the 2012 NFL Draft, he also has 1,208 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
Tannehill replaced Mariota in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Broncos, an eventual 16-0 loss. It was Tannehill's first action since the Titans traded for the former Dolphins starter back in March.
Tannehill said he appreciates Mariota's support, and he said he feels for him.
"It is a really tough situation," Tannehill said. "I am really excited for my opportunity and being able to do what I love to do but at the same time I have a lot of feelings for Marcus and what he is going through. So I think it is my responsibility to this team that when we are out on this field and practicing and preparing is to go out with energy and enthusiasm and lead the guys around me, but at the same time when I am talking with Marcus and dealing with Marcus, I have a ton of empathy for what he is going through and I know it is not easy.
"(Marcus) has been nothing but a professional through and through throughout this process and it just speaks to the man he is, how he's dealt with this. Obviously, he is hurting but he's handled it like a true pro and that says a lot about him."
Tannehill completed 13-of-16 passes for 144 yards with a 78.1 rating against the Broncos while being sacked four times.
In his last game against the Chargers, in 2016 while with Miami, Tannehill went 17-of-24 for 240 yards and two touchdowns with a 130.6 rating. Tannehill has a 100-plus rating in five of his last seven games vs. AFC West teams.
"At this point, we are 2-4, and I am just trying to go get some wins," Tannehill said. "(I want to) play good football, lift up the guys around me, and go win some football games."
The Tennessee Titans practice on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019 at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Donald Page)