Vrabel hopes Tannehill can spark listless offense

Vrabel hopes Tannehill can spark listless offense

The Tennessee Titans officially made the switch Wednesday, naming Ryan Tannehill as the starting quarterback beginning Sunday vs. the Chargers and effectively ending the Marcus Mariota era with that decision.
“It just felt like now was the time. Sitting at that game, sitting where I was, made the decision during the game, and then just was able to think about it, evaluate and move forward and make a decision to try to spark the offense, to try to do something to get us going, to score some points and to help us win,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of the move..
The decision thrusts Tannehill back into the role of starting quarterback, something he held during his time with the Miami Dolphins before being acquired by the Titans in the off-season.
While excited to be starting again in the NFL, Tannehill still has empathy for Mariota, whose run as a starter in Tennessee ends after four-and nearly half a season.
“I’m really excited for my opportunity and being able to go do what I love to do, which is play football and compete. At the same time, I have a lot of feelings for Marcus (Mariota) and what he’s going through. I think it’s my responsibility to this team when we’re out on this field and we’re practicing and preparing is to go out with energy, enthusiasm and lead the guys around me,” Tannehill said. “At the same time, when I’m talking with Marcus and dealing with Marcus, I have a ton of empathy for what he’s going through, and I know it’s not easy. He’s been nothing but a professional through and through throughout this process. Really, it just kind of speaks to the man he is how he’s dealt with this. Obviously, he’s hurting, but he’s handled it like a true pro, and that says a lot about him.”
Mariota, obviously disappointed after being benched on the heels of a poor performance in Denver, said he will use the situation as a learning instrument.
“I can learn and grow from this situation,” Mariota said. “This isn’t going to bring me down. This isn’t going to end my career. This is an opportunity for me to grow, and I’m going to make the most of it.”
Vrabel is hoping Tannehill can provide a spark for a moribund offense that has been the team’s downfall in each of its four losses this season.
“You have to look at the body of work. We’re really just trying to evaluate how we want to try to function, the passes that we need to complete. The operation, the entire offense, to be able to function, score points, move the field, convert third downs,” Vrabel said.
Vrabel also is hoping to keep Mariota ready in case he is needed from the backup role.
“I’m very confident after having talked to Marcus (Mariota) and watched him prepare already today that if called upon at some point in time, we expect him to be ready to go. It’s not an easy thing for any player. I would say that it’s not an easy thing for a coach that cares about his players, that spends a lot of time with them to make that decision, but we felt like this was the right thing for the team right now,” the coach said.

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