As one of the more prominent storylines heading into training camp, Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill spent much of the offseason reflecting on how last year ended.
The Texas A&M product threw three interceptions in the Titans’ shocking playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, continuing a turnover trend that was prevalent throughout the 2021 campaign.
Tannehill, who turned 34 last month, noted that he sought out therapy after being in a dark place mentally, and he has received his fair share of criticism from fans and media alike, while also watching the team draft his eventual successor in 2022 third-round pick, Malik Willis.
However, through it all, he’s remained a true professional and was present for the team’s offseason workouts.
In the early stages of training camp, Tannehill has yet to throw an interception in the team’s first six practices, while completing 50-of-66 passes during seven-on-seven and team periods combined.
Offensive coordinator Todd Downing has taken notice of Tannehill’s commitment to ball security.
“I think always it’s significant when you show your commitment to taking care of the football,” Downing said, via AtoZ Sports Nashville. “Certainly, ball security is something that we as an offense — starting with me — has been an emphasis this offseason. We had a blip on the radar last year in terms of the uptick in numbers.
“It’s a holistic approach; everybody has a hand in ball security. I think that our receivers have done a nice job of being where they’re supposed to be,” Downing added. “People are understanding the details and concepts of protection, finishing at the top of the pocket, giving [Tannehill] a place he can step up and deliver the ball. Certainly, Ryan has made a commitment to ball security, but I think everybody has, and we hope that continues.”
What a difference a year makes.
Through the first five practices of last year, Tannehill had thrown five interceptions, foreshadowing what was to come in the regular season. The Titans signal-caller threw 14 interceptions in 2021, second-most in his career.
“Just trying to be smart with the ball,” Tannehill said of throwing no picks in camp so far, per John Glennon of Sports Illustrated. “Sometimes in practice, you’re pushing the limits, right? That’s the point of practice, especially early on in training camp and the spring… seeing where you can put the ball, and if you can fit it in there, what catch radius guys have and things like that.
“But it’s balance. You want to be smart… We just know as quarterbacks that it’s our jobs to try to take care of the football and put it in a good spot. We want to train those good habits as we go.”
A closer look at the number reveals just how devastating the turnovers were. Of the 14, six were thrown in Titans territory, and three came in the red zone.
Essentially, Tannehill was giving the opposition a short field and failed to cash in on opportunities to score. As a team, the Titans finished with a -3 turnover differential in 2021, including 11 fumbles.
A constant rotation of injuries at the wide receiver position likely contributed to the number of interceptions. Tannehill’s top two targets, Julio Jones and A.J. Brown, each missed substantial time last season.
With both Brown and Jones no longer in the mix, Tannehill will look to develop a connection with several new faces in 2022.
Through the first week of training camp, he’s already connecting with Robert Woods and rookie wideout Treylon Burks, showing developing chemistry, and he has been putting extra work in with his tight ends after practice.
With a lack of turnovers and new faces showcasing well, it’s positive news for Tannehill and the Titans’ offense thus far in training camp.