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Ryan Tannehill benched by Titans, Will Levis assumes starter role

The Ryan Tannehill era with the Tennessee Titans appears to have come to a close.

Baltimore Ravens v Tennessee Titans Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans are making a change at quarterback, promoting rookie Will Levis to the starting position according to head coach Mike Vrabel on Tuesday. The move benches veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill started the season as the team’s top passer, but an ankle injury in Week 6 has had him sidelined. The Titans selected Levis with the first pick of the second round of this year’s NFL Draft and, after initially starting the year in the third position on the depth chart, it now appears he will be the team’s starter for the remainder of the year.

Tannehill is expected to serve as the primary backup behind Levis.

Tannehill began his career as a first-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2012, coming out of Texas A&M as the eight-overall pick. He spent seven seasons with Miami before being traded to the Titans ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft. Tannehill won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award following the 2019 season after he led the league in passer rating and earned a Pro Bowl selection. In his six seasons of play with Miami, Tannehill threw for 20,434 yards with a 62.8 percent completion rate, 123 touchdowns, 75 interceptions, and a 87.0 passer rating. He missed all of the 2017 season with a knee injury.

For his career, Tannehill has thrown for 34,393 yards with 214 touchdowns and 114 interceptions. He has a career 64.2 completion percentage and a 91.2 passer rating.

This season was rough for Tannehill. In six games, he threw for 1,128 yards with just two touchdowns and six interceptions. He has a career-low 71.9 passer rating on the year.

In his two games played, Levis has thrown for 500 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. He has a 96.4 passer rating in the small sample size.

Jimmy Morris from SB Nation’s Titans team site Music City Miracles wrote of the change, “There was much fear and trepidation leading up to this press conference because people were afraid that Vrabel would go back to Ryan Tannehill once he was healthy. Vrabel made the right call here to elevate Will Levis.”

Tannehill has always been a consummate professional and likely will continue in that role with the Titans despite the demotion. He has been working as a mentor to Levis since the Titans drafted the rookie, despite knowing this quarterback change was coming at some point.

The Titans are on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 10.

For more on the quarterback change and all things Titans, check out Music City Miracles.