NASHVILLE – The 2021 season ended five months ago, but as the Titans wrapped up their offseason work last week, quarterback Ryan Tannehill once again found himself answering questions about how it all ended.
"Like I said," Tannehill said, referring to his comments from earlier this offseason, "it's a scar that I'll carry with me. But I am looking forward to this year. (I'll be) using it as fuel as I move forward. It's something I'll always remember, but at the same time, I dealt with it, it's in the past, and now I'm using it as fuel to move forward."
Plenty has changed around Tannehill since the last time the Titans played a game.
Gone is dynamic receiver A.J. Brown, along with veteran guard Rodger Saffold and starting right tackle David Quessenberry, among others.
This offseason, Tannehill has been joined by veteran receiver Robert Woods, acquired in a trade with the Rams, and veteran tight end Austin Hooper, formerly with the Browns. The team drafted receivers Treylon Burks and Kyle Philips, while also selecting tight end Chig Okonkwo. And, the competition is now open for the two starting spots on the offensive line.
The Titans are very much a work in progress.
But Tannehill likes what the team has accomplished so far.
"We've done a lot of great stuff," Tannehill said. "I am proud of our guys, the way we've come out and completed every single day. We've made a lot of progress – there's a lot of new faces around here. To see those guys come out and learn the playbook, learn the way do things, and we're learning each other as players. I am learning how Chig runs, I am learning how Austin runs, learning Treylon a little bit. A bunch of new faces – Josh (Malone), guys who haven't been around here much, but learning how they move, learning how they run runs and how they fit in our system.
"Our guys have worked extremely hard and they're going out there and competing and making plays. I've seen a lot of progress from all position groups throughout this spring. So it gives me a lot of excitement moving forward and (we have to) carry that momentum into training camp."
At the end of the team's offseason program, Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing praised Tannehill for his work this offseason.
"I think (he's had) a great offseason," Downing said of Tannehill. "I think he's done a nice job stepping into that leadership role. He's always been the leader of this offense, but certainly having a little bit louder voice and making sure he's getting what he's looking for in certain route concepts and things like that.
"I think he's done a nice job helping the new guys transition into their new roles and understanding where they fit in the big picture. So, Ryan has been doing a nice job. We're lucky to have him."
Titans quarterbacks are scheduled to report for training camp on July 22, and the whole team is scheduled to report a few days later.
The first practice is tentatively scheduled for July 27.
Tannehill said the next month will be important as the team looks ahead to camp.
"It's an important time of the year," Tannehill said. "If you sit on your butt for the next five weeks, and show up to camp out of shape, that is going to set us back. So, it is going to be important for guys to take some time away, prepare yourself mentally for a long grind of a season. You have to get ready to go, and make sure you come in at your strongest, most conditioned, ready to run. … If we can come in with a full head of steam and be in shape, be in conditioned and ready to go, it is definitely going to help us."
When the season starts, Tannehill said he plans to be ready to do his job.
"Just go out and lead the team, and win games," Tannehill said. "That is ultimately what my job is, to go play quarterback, which includes a lot of different things, but leading the team and finding the way to win each and every Sunday."