Ryan Tannehill's Rise Was "Just A Matter Of Time"

Marcus Mariota's days in Nashville are numbered, Johnny Franks says, and Tannehill is a big reason why

December 03, 2019 - 10:41 am
Ryan Tannehill Titans

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Maybe you knew that Ryan Tannehill had become the starting quarterback of the Tennessee Titans. And maybe you knew that he had a couple of nice moments here and there over the last month.

But did you know that he’s 5-1 as a starter this year?

“He’s been doing great, especially when the Titans get in the red zone,” WNSR afternoon host Johnny “Ballparks” Franks said on Ferrall on the Bench. “They don’t settle for field goals; they score touchdowns. Between Ryan Tannehill and then Derrick Henry doing Derrick Henry things that we have grown accustomed to – since the start of 2017, he is just under 3,000 rushing yards. He’s been very special. Now here we are going into the month of December, and the opportunity is there for the Titans as far as taking the AFC South. They still have two meetings with Houston, and (the Texans) have the one-game edge over the Titans. So everything is in place for the Titans. If they take care of business, they can take control of the AFC South.”

The Titans (7-5) started 2-4 with Marcus Mariota at the helm. Once the Titans switched to Tannehill, they became a different team.

“Marcus Mariota’s days are numbered in Nashville,” Franks said. “Maybe a new venue somewhere else will give him a new opportunity. But when the Titans made the move in the offseason and traded for Ryan Tannehill, I just honestly felt – and I kept saying it before the season began – it was just a matter of time for Ryan Tannehill to take over as far as running that offense. . . . You could just tell, even when he was waiting for the opportunity early on, he was paying attention, he was ready – it just felt like whenever his name was called, he was ready to take over the reins of that offense. He certainly has made the most of that opportunity since he was named the starter.”

Tannehill, the No. 8 overall pick in 2012, has 15 touchdowns (12 pass, three rush) over his last six games. Henry, meanwhile, has been a beast. He’s rushed 232 times for 1,140 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns.

And he’s has only gotten stronger as the season has progressed. Over his last three games, Henry has rushed for 496 yards and five touchdowns.

“We saw this out of Derrick Henry at Alabama,” Franks said. “The more carries he gets, especially when we get into the second half, he starts getting a better yards-per-carry average and he punishes the defensive players as well and wears them down. He’s got a chance to do something against Oakland on Sunday that’s never happened in the NFL: He can become the first player in NFL history with at least 145 yards rushing and one rushing touchdown in four consecutive games.”

Kickoff from Oakland is slated for 4:25 p.m. ET.