The Titans' Big Questions With Will Levis In Place

The Titans' Big Questions With Will Levis In Place

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

Mike Vrabel’s announcement on Tuesday that rookie quarterback Will Levis will be the Titans starter “going forward” will serve as a marker separating one era of this franchise’s history from the next. Before we discuss what the future may hold for Levis’ Titans, I want to briefly give some flowers to Ryan Tannehill, whose four-plus year run as the signal caller in Tennessee was extremely successful by virtually any measure.

Derrick Henry
Derrick Henry/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

Barring an injury to Levis over the final nine weeks, Tannehill will finish 38-23 as a starting quarterback. His 62.3 percent win percentage is the best among any quarterback in franchise history with at least 50 starts for the team, topping Steve McNair’s 58.0 percent clip during his run from the late 90s and early 2000s.

He also tops the franchise record books in yards per attempt (7.8), passer rating (98.0), and completion percentage (66.4) among passers with at least 500 attempts. Tannehill also ranks fifth in total passing yards and passing touchdowns while throwing interceptions at a lower rate (2.2 percent) than any other quarterback in Titans/Oilers history.

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Context And Appreciation For Ryan Tannehill As The Titans' Starting QB

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ideally, Ryan Tannehill has played his last game for the Titans.

Sadly, the first game most people will remember of the 69 total games he started for the franchise was a high-stakes failure, a home divisional round playoff game as the No. 1 seed against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Titans were a win away from hosting an AFC Championship Game for the first time in franchise history and Tannehill threw three interceptions.

Ryan Tannehill
  Ryan Tannehill/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

The performance scarred him, sending him to therapy to sort things out. He and the team still haven’t recovered, with poor roster choices creating holes and injuries creating further complications. His passer rating dropped nearly 15 points from his work before that game and after it. The teams’ record with him at the helm went from 30-13 to 8-10. He's injured his right ankle three times.

Things usually don’t unwind neatly and nicely.

Still, as he becomes Will Levis’ backup we should shake free of the playoff loss to the Bengals and consider just how important a player Tannehill was for the franchise.

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Will Levis Is The Titans' Starter As Mike Vrabel Does The Right Thing

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While all sorts of fans and commentators read tea leaves and found paths for Mike Vrabel to wedge Ryan Tannehill back into the starting lineup, the coach told the veteran quarterback early Tuesday that he was now Will Levis’ backup.

Later he informed the team that Levis is the starter and then shared it with the media, ending speculation heading into Week 10’s game at Tampa Bay as Tannehill becomes healthy enough to become part of the mix again after two games missed with a high right ankle sprain.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) celebrates his touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons with quarterback Will Levis (8) during the third quarter at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023.
  Will Levis celebrates with DeAndre Hopkins/ © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

Levis had an outstanding four-touchdown debut in a win over Atlanta and stood in against a tough pass rush in Pittsburgh, showing more than enough for the Titans to move forward with their quarterback of the future at 3-5.

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Titans' Nicholas Petit-Frere Most Likely Finished for the Season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The shoulder injury Nicholas Petit-Frere suffered in Pittsburgh will require surgery. He is most likely finished for the season.

The second-year tackle was suspended the first four games of the season for a gambling violation and did not retake the right tackle job as the incumbent when he returned as his replacement, Chris Hubbard, was doing pretty good work.

Nichola Petit-Frere
  Nicholas Petit-Frere / Courtesy Tennessee Titans

But NPF was inserted as a substitute for Andre Dillard at left tackle during the Titans' loss to the Ravens in London and started at left tackle against Atlanta and at Pittsburgh. [Unlocked]

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Titans' Mailbag: Mike Vrabel's Stance On Will Levis, Hold On The Locker Room

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- You've got mail. 

The Titans are quiet until Tuesday.

But you've got a lot on your mind and I'm here to give you something engaging to read in the meantime.

Anthony Michael Do you have any thoughts on why Vrabel is always so reluctant on stating the obvious? In this case Levis being the starter even when Tannehill is healthy?

Gamesmanship, in this instance, and to treat Ryan Tannehill well.

Ryan Tannehill
  Ryan Tannehill and the Titans' QBs/ Angie Flatt

It’s not important what Mike Vrabel says about the status of quarterback 10 days before their next game. It’s

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What Advanced Stats Tell The Titans About Will Levis Versus Ryan Tannehill


Jake Downard is a law student who creates NFL and NBA content focused on analytics on Twitter as @JakeAndBall. He also works with fanspo.com. A glossary of the analytics terms he uses is at the bottom of the piece.

For a glossary of the metrics and terms used in this post, please see this earlier file.

A team rarely loses such a frustrating, winnable game and the fanbase comes out of it relatively happy.

That’s what happens when you have a rookie quarterback that you drafted in the second round, who once again shows flashes of his special attributes and a seemingly unlimited ceiling.Will Levis

With Levis flexing the off-balance throws, layered targets, and overall malleability as a passer, it is clear that Titans fans have something to be excited about under center. There should be no question about who the Titans quarterback is for the remainder of the 2023-24 season at this point. As I said in my Falcons analysis, I am an optimistic guy, so let’s get into the positives. 

Ready for your weekly dose of obscure, niche statistics? You’ve come to the right place. [Unlocked] 


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PK TV: Steelers 20, Titans 16

PK TV: Steelers 20, Titans 16

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Back at the home office after a zero-sleep night in Pittsburgh, a Mike Vrabel press conference and an edit of Blake Beddingfielkd's review of the game I am now prepared for our broadcast chat reviewing the game.

We did sneak in that nice, uplifting chat after the Atlanta game and I think we will still have Will Levis-related positivity PK TVnow. But the Titans blew a big opportunity in Pittsburgh and I think it's going to wind up being one of their big regrets of the season.

The Titans had seven pass plays of 20 or more yards, the most since the 2022 opener, which is great. But at crucial moments when a touchdown was required, they settled for a field goal at the end of the first half and they went run heavy around the 4-minute mark with the game winding down, turning it over on downs with a fourth-down desperation deep ball.

It felt like Jeff Fisher-era Titans. They played not to lose. They were determined to do it a certain way, rather than to get out of a comfort zone and take some chances at the most meaningful times with a rookie quarterback. And it bit them in the ass.

Come discuss any element of the game and what's to come that you like.

We'll be on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, which is also below.

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Titans' Loss to Steelers: Truths Revealed

Titans' Loss to Steelers: Truths Revealed

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans versus the Steelers was a matchup between two average NFL teams, that are undisciplined, highly penalized (total of 17 accepted penalties) and lacking identities in 2023. Both teams once prided themselves on being tough defensive teams that rushed the passer and would do just enough on offense to win ball games by controlling the ball and limiting turnovers.  

Thursday night the Titans gave up 326 total yards and the Steelers gave up 340 yards to mediocre NFL offenses.  

Nov 2, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) sacks Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
  T.J. Watt on Will Levis/ © Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Neither team has established an identity in the 2023 season and is moving forward with their young quarterbacks with what they are capable of providing.  

The Titans should feel good about Will Levis after his first two starts, but signs of inexperience showed in the second half of the Steeler game. 

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