NASHVILLE – Will Levis is the new starting quarterback for the Tennessee Titans.
Coach Mike Vrabel made the announcement during a press conference on Tuesday at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park.
Levis, drafted in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, started in place of injured veteran Ryan Tannehill during the team's past two games – vs Atlanta and at Pittsburgh.
"Let me just clear up some things here moving forward," Vrabel said before any taking questions. "Will is going to be our quarterback. We are going to go with Will. We think that is the best opportunity for our football team right now.
"I think Ryan will progress through this week. I think, and we're hopeful (he) can be a back-up here for us and prepare as a starter. That's where we're at right now."
Vrabel said he shared the news with the team during a meeting on Tuesday morning, and with both quarterbacks.
Since Tannehill's injury, Vrabel declined to discuss the team's plans moving forward at the position, saying instead he wanted to let Tannehill get healthy before making any definitive decisions at quarterback.
But that changed on Tuesday, which opened the door for Levis to start the rest of the season, barring an injury or a drastic drop in his performance.
The Titans play at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Levis, taken with the 33rd overall pick of last year's draft, performed well in his first two NFL starts over the last two weeks.
"There's clearly something there, and we want to be able to continue to work with him and progress and develop and win – that's how you get better," Vrabel said. "You only get better by going out there and playing, especially at that position. So this will be a huge test for any quarterback, going on the road, in Tampa, with what they are able to do, how well they are coached schematically, but also the players they have, the pressure packages, the disguises that they are able to have, and as many turnovers as they've been able to create.
"Everything we're doing, we're trying to do in the best interest of the football team, and that's today. What happens in the future I can't control. I am focused on today, and the decision at that position."
Levis threw for 238 yards and four touchdowns with a 130.5 rating in the team's 28-23 win over the Falcons on October 29. His passer rating was the best in franchise history among qualifying players (minimum 20 attempts) in the first start of a rookie season.
In his second career start at Pittsburgh last Thursday, Levis threw for 262 yards with one interception, with seven completions of 20-plus yards.
Through two starts, Levis has completed 41-of-68 passes for 500 yards, with four touchdowns, one interception, and a 96.4 rating.
Tannehill, who took over as the team's regular starter during the 2019 season, started the first six games of the 2023 season until suffering ankle injury in the team's game against the Ravens in London.
In his six starts, Tannehill completed 98-of-158 passes for 1,128 yards with two touchdown passes and six interceptions, and a passer rating of 71.9.
Tannehill was one of the team's inactives during the past two games, as Malik Willis served as the team's No.2 quarterback.
"I have a lot of respect for Ryan, personally and professionally," Vrabel said. "We've won a lot of football games here with Ryan. He was a professional (when we talked), but I'll keep that conversation between him and I and allow him to speak for himself."
Kickoff for Sunday's game in Tampa is set for Noon CST/1 p.m. EST at Raymond James Stadium.