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#pounditThursday, October 6, 2022

Malik Willis offers response to Ryan Tannehill mentor comments

Malik Willis at the Scouting Combine

Mar 2, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Liberty Flames quarterback Malik Willis during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Was Malik Willis as outraged by Ryan Tannehill’s mentor comments as everyone else was? Apparently not.

Willis was drafted in the third round (No. 86 overall) by Tennessee two weeks ago. The Titans did not inform Tannehill, their incumbent quarterback, about their plans to take Willis before doing so. But Tannehill still reached out to congratulate Willis about being drafted.

However, Tannehill drew attention after saying it wasn’t his job to mentor Willis. However, that did not mean he wished the rookie ill, but rather an acknowledgment that they are in competition for the starting quarterback job.

Willis spoke with ESPN’s Dianna Russini on Friday and said he understood Tannehill’s perspective.

“He wants me to know that we’re trying to compete … he was just letting me know that we on an even playing field. I can learn from him … but Coach Todd [Downing] and Coach Pat [O’Hara] … they gonna be the ones that’s helping me get right,” Willis said. “I could see if it’s something negative, but it’s not.”

Willis is making it pretty clear that the entire “controversy” was overblown.

Tannehill, 33, would seem to be the entrenched starter after leading the Titans to the No. 1 seed in the conference last season. However, he had a brutal playoff performance that shook his confidence. He seems to very much feel like his job is on the line. Willis understands that.

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