NASHVILLE – Ryan Tannehill is back in Nashville, working with his Titans teammates in OTAs as the team prepares for the 2021 season.
But plenty has changed around the veteran quarterback.
Gone is Arthur Smith, his offensive coordinator the past two seasons – he's now head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith have also moved on, now with the Jets and Patriots, respectively.
Two of Tannehill's most reliable offensive teammates – running back Derrick Henry and receiver A.J. Brown – are back, even if they're not currently taking part in the on-field portion of offseason workouts. Tight end Anthony Firkser, who has been very noticeable in OTAs, is also back, and in line for an increased role this fall.
For Tannehill, the goal is also the same as he works to get on the same page with some new faces.
The Titans finished 2nd in the NFL in total offense in 2020, while averaging 31 points per game.
"We just have to come together as a team," Tannehill said. "Ultimately, what it comes down to is the team going out, playing together, believing in each other and executing. The standards that we implement now and how we hold people accountable is going to be huge, and it is going to be crucial to how our guys buy in, how our team buys in and believes in each other. And ultimately, when we go out, come together and make plays in critical moments, that's when you win games."
After throwing for 3,819 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2020, Tannehill returns to guide an offense now led by offensive coordinator Todd Downing, who was promoted from tight ends coach earlier this offseason.
Veteran receiver Josh Reynolds, formerly of the Rams, signed with the team back in March, and the team spent a pair of draft picks on big receivers as well – Dez Fitzpatrick and Racey McMath. Several other receivers, including Cam Batson, also return from a year ago, with hopes of carving out a role from themselves.
Getting in sync with Downing this offseason is key, Tannehill said.
"When a quarterback and a playcaller can be on the same page, and see things the same way, it is going to be a beneficial thing," he said. "We've definitely started off on the right foot, we're headed in the right direction. We have a long ways to go, but Todd is not a new face to me. I have seen Todd over the past couple of years and talked football with him before, so it is not like I am working with someone I have not spoken to before. We've had a lot of conversations about the game and concepts and routes. So just being able to take what we have done over the past few years and kind of transition to a new role I think we'll grow into that, grow our relationship and continue to figure out what works best for us working together."
Tannehill is in the process of also getting to know Reynolds better, in addition to the team's new receivers.
In four NFL seasons with the Rams, Reynolds played in 64 games, with 24 starts. He's worked in the slot and on the outside at receiver during his career, and he's caught 113 passes for 1,450 yards and nine touchdowns.
"Josh has had a great career so far, an A&M guy -- I have been a fan since he was back at College Station, playing at A&M," said Tannehill, who also played for the Aggies. "I followed him out to the Rams and would root for him any time he was making plays. I know what he brings to the table – he's talented, tall, rangy, great hands. So I'm excited for him to join the team. … We have a bunch of young, talented guys. They are tall and athletic, and can make plays on the football. So, I am really excited about what they bring to us physically. So, it's just a matter of those guys coming out each and every day competing, and figuring out how they fit us."
Tannehill spent the first part of the offseason working in Florida.
He returned to Nashville to learn the new guys, and work on timing.
In Thursday's OTA, Tannehill could be seen offering tips and instructions to his new teammates after plays. They're working through the details, from routes to blocking schemes.
"Just figuring out these guys," Tannehill said. "We're all learning new, right? I'm learning them as players, as people, as coaches, as teammates, and they are learning a new playbook well. We're really just trying to catch those guys up to speed, the way we do things around here, what we expect, and then as a quarterback I am trying to help them see the game the way that I see it, coaching them through routes, what I am expecting, adjustments on different routes. There's a lot of information they're taking in right now, and it's just a matter of being able to learn a little bit each day and pushing forward."