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QB Ryan Tannehill Has Proven to Be a Playmaker – and a Tone-Setter – for the Titans


NASHVILLE – Ryan Tannehill's season has been a bit of a whirlwind.

He began the season as a back-up, not knowing if he'd ever see the field. After taking over as the Titans starting quarterback in Week 7, Tannehill has helped lead the team to a 9-3 mark, including two playoff wins.

Now, Tannehill and the Titans are preparing to play in an AFC Championship Game for the first time since 2002.

So, has he become a bit of a celebrity on the streets of Nashville?

Well, not exactly.

"I don't go out a whole lot, unfortunately," a smiling Tannehill said on Wednesday. "You know, this time of year, it's pretty boring really. I mean, I go from here home, spend some time with my kids, maybe go to a park and a slide down the side with my kids the rare time on a Tuesday that I get. But yeah, it's pretty boring. But I think I feel the excitement in the city. It's been fun to feel that energy build as the season's gone on."

While leading the NFL with a 117.5 passer rating in 2019, Tannehill has emerged as a tone-setter and a playmaker in his first season with the Titans. Tannehill threw two touchdown passes in the team's win over the Ravens, and he also ran for a score. During the regular season he threw 22 touchdown passes vs just six interceptions.

On Wednesday, Titans coach Mike Vrabel complimented Tannehill for his play, and leadership.

"I think he's athletic, I think he's accurate, I think he's prepared, I think he's a really good leader, I think that he's been able to hold players accountable in his own way," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of Tannehill. "I think that's the whole process of what we've been trying to do. I certainly have a style. My job is to hold everybody accountable. Arthur (Smith), Dean (Pees) and Craig (Aukerman) have a style, but our players have to have styles to be able to hold each other accountable and not get our feelings hurt."

Tannehill acknowledged on Wednesday it has been a process. When he joined the team in March via trade, after playing his first seven seasons with the Dolphins, Tannehill was the back-up behind starting quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Tannehill said previously he deferred to Mariota early, but when the job became his he began to assert himself more.

"You don't want to come in, guns blazing and shake the boat too much," Tannehill said. "It's just a matter of being myself, leading in my own way, encouraging guys, trying to press this offense, press each and every person, build the relationships and try to get the most out of every guy. You know, every guy's a little bit different, how you talk to them, how you handle them and hold them accountable. Every guy's a little bit different. So, a matter of a building those relationships, learning each and every guy, and then just trying to push to get the best out of our guys."

As the Titans prepare for the Chiefs, Tannehill is doing his part to get ready.

In the first two postseason games of his career, his production has been more limited as the Titans have leaned on running back Derrick Henry. Tannehill hasn't thrown for over 100 yards in either game.

Against the high-scoring Chiefs, will the team need him to throw it around more?

"Well I mean, being a quarterback, obviously I love throwing the ball," Tannehill said. "But I just want to win. At the end of the day, that's what we go out there each and every week is to find a way to win and do whatever it takes. So, if that's throwing it 15 times and trying to execute those plays, that's what I'll do. If it's 35, then that's what it is."

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