NASHVILLE (AP) — Ryan Tannehill has been ruled out for the Tennessee Titans’ home game Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons with an ankle injury.
But Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was not yet ready to announce who would start for Tennessee between rookie Will Levis and second-year pro Malik Willis.
“When you are injured, can you protect yourself, can you do your job, and are you going to make it worse? Through the course of those questions, we didn’t feel like he could reasonably protect himself at the position,” Vrabel said on deactivating Tannehill, who did not practice all week after injuring the ankle against Baltimore on Oct. 15.
Vrabel said early this week that both Levis and Willis would play against the Falcons if Tannehill was unavailable. He reiterated that Sunday, but he did not announce who would start the game.
“The same plan. I’m not ready to really talk about that, but I’m excited to watch both of those guys play,” Vrabel said.
Willis has played in 10 games over two years with three starts. He came on in relief when Tannehill was injured in London and completed four of five passes for 74 yards. But he was also sacked four times.
Levis, the Titans’ second-round pick this year, will be seeing his first regular-season action and has 23 tickets for family and friends for his debut.
“This is the game I love. I’m just ready to go out there and play ball,” Levis said. “I’m just going to try and take it all in. I know I’m going to be a little nervous, which is completely normal. I’d be crazy not to be. But I’m just going to take some deep breaths, take it all in and focusing when it’s needed.”
If Levis starts, it would be the most rookie QBs (7) to start in the first eight weeks since the merger (excluding 1987 replacement player season). Six rookie quarterbacks started in that span in both 1971 and 2021.
In addition to Tannehill, the Titans ruled out rookie tight end Josh Whyle, who did not clear concussion protocol. Nickelback Roger McCreary is questionable with a hamstring. If he cannot go, Vrabel said the Titans would likely turn to practice squad rookie Eric Garror.