NASHVILLE – Ryan Tannehill was drafted by the Dolphins in 2012, and until a few months ago, it was his NFL life.
In Miami, Tannehill was a starting quarterback from Day One, and a pretty good one, too.
Then came the news: Tannehill had been traded to the Titans.
“A little shocked,” Tannehill said on Thursday. “I knew something was probably going to happen, but didn’t really know what. But I’m excited to be here in Nashville, in Tennessee. I visited the city a few times and thought I would like living here and it’s been great so far. And as I got to know the guys on the team, the organization … I immediately felt like this was going to be a good spot.”
A good spot, but a different role for Tannehill, something he acknowledges has been an adjustment.
In Miami, Tannehill played in 88 career games in seven seasons. He completed 1,829-of-2,911 passes for 20,434 yards, with 123 touchdowns and 75 interceptions. He prepared to play every Sunday.
In Tennessee, he was acquired to be starting quarterback Marcus Mariota’s back-up.
"It’s definitely a transition for me, definitely tough at times," Tannehill said of sliding into a back-up role. “But Marcus is great to work with, the staff here, the quarterback room is really great. So when you work with great people, and you are all aligned and in this thing together, trying to win football games, it definitely helps with that transition. I am just trying to take it day by day, get better each and every day. … I am excited to be here and help this team win.”
Tannehill said he’s focused on learning the new offense.
Sure, he loves playing football. But he said he has too much respect for Mariota to be consumed about replacing him, even if it's in the event of an injury. He was fully aware of the situation he was brought into in Tennessee when he joined the team in March.
"I have a lot of competitive juices, and I want to go compete on the football field each and every day. But I’m competing against the defense right now," Tannehill said. "Yeah, as a competitor, there are some things that are tough about it. But it doesn’t take the competition side of football out.
"I think there’s a lot of mutual respect between us," Tannehill said of Mariota. "I’m going to try to help Marcus as much as I can. I think Marcus has done the same for me. As long as we have that mutual respect and understanding that we’re aligned in trying to push each other and make each other better. Ultimately, we want to help this team win. That’s what we’re here for as quarterbacks, is to help our team win. Lead the offense down the field and put points on the board. Like I said, we’re aligned in that, and that makes all the interactions and the competition a lot of fun."
Tannehill, selected eighth overall by the Dolphins in the 2012 NFL Draft, has a career completion percentage is 62.8 percent, and his career passer rating is 87.0. A 6-foot-4, 207-pounder, Tannehill also has 1,210 rushing yards and six touchdowns in his career.
In 2018, Tannehill started 11 games for the Dolphins, and he completed 176-of-274 passes for 1,979 yards and 17 touchdowns, with nine interceptions. He missed the 2017 season with a knee injury. Tannehill started all 16 games for the Dolphins in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, and 13 of 16 games in 2016 before missing the 2017 season.
In Tennessee, he knows he’ll be on the spot in the event Mariota can’t play because of injury. In 2018, Mariota dealt with injuries, which led to then back-up Blaine Gabbert getting on the field.
Tannehill, who signed a one-year deal with the Titans, said he plans to be ready if he gets a chance. He said the quarterbacks are having fun competing in other aspects in practices. The two ran together in the sandpit after practice on Thursday as well.
“My end game right now is to be ready if my number is called,” Tannehill said. “I’m going to come out, compete every day against the defense, try and get better and better. ... If my name is called, be ready to go and help this team win.
“I'm just (going to) work to be the best quarterback I can each and every day, and if the time comes where I can get on the field, I want to take advantage of it.”
TitansOnline.com looks back at the NFL career of veteran QB Ryan Tannehill, who was acquired by the Titans in a trade with the Miami Dolphins. (AP Photos)