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Why Ryan Tannehill isn’t starting for Titans vs. Chiefs on ‘Sunday Night Football’ in Week 9

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The Titans have been a thorn in the Chiefs’ side in recent years, but they will be facing an uphill battle to beat Kansas City on the road in Week 9.

Why? Because the Titans will be without quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the “Sunday Night Football” clash.

Tannehill is missing his second consecutive game after making 51 consecutive starts for Tennessee. The team will have to rely on an inexperienced duo to lead it in what might need to be a high-scoring affair.

Why isn’t Tannehill available Sunday night? Here’s what to know about his absence as well as who will comprise the team’s quarterback depth chart against the Chiefs.

LIVE: Follow Titans vs. Chiefs ‘Sunday Night Football’ with SN’s game blog

Why isn’t Ryan Tannehill starting for the Titans?

Tannehill isn’t starting for the Titans because he is dealing with an ankle injury. He was able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday and Friday, but the Titans determined that he wasn’t healthy enough to start.

This will mark Tannehill’s second consecutive missed start because of the injury. It wasn’t initially expected to be a long-term issue, however, so he may return to action in Week 10 against the Broncos.

Tannehill will almost certainly remain the Titans’ primary starter when he returns to full health. The team has gone 1-0 with him on the sideline as rookie Malik Willis led Tennessee to a win over the Texans in Week 8, but Tannehill is a much more polished passer. Plus, his 4-2 record as a starter this year isn’t too shabby.

MORE: Breaking down how the Chiefs might use Kadarius Toney

What is Ryan Tannehill’s injury?

Tannehill is dealing with an ankle sprain that he suffered in the Titans’ 19-10 win over the Colts in Week 7. He missed just a few snaps in that contest, but he was seen in a walking boot after the game.

Tannehill has been on the Titans’ injury report in Weeks 8 and 9 because of the injury. He also dealt with an illness — more specifically, a stomach bug — ahead of Week 8, and that was another reason why he missed the Texans game. That is no longer impacting him.

The good news for Titans fans is that Tannehill logged two limited practices in Week 9. He totaled just one ahead of Week 8, so it appears that he is making progress in his recovery.

MORE: What’s wrong with the Packers? Offense’s collapse means no playoffs for Green Bay

Titans QB depth chart

The Titans will have two quarterbacks active for “Sunday Night Football,” and they combined for just one NFL start. Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will have a chance to make their lives difficult.

Here is the pecking order at quarterback for the Titans for their game vs. the Chiefs:


1. Malik Willis

Willis, a third-round rookie out of Liberty, will start. He is known for his mobility; he rushed for 159 yards on 14 attempts during the preseason. He is still developing as a passer; he completed 54.9 percent of his passes for 318 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in extended preseason action.

Willis made his first career start in Week 8 against the Texans. He was able to lead the Titans to a 17-10 victory despite accounting for just 67 total yards. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 55 yards and added 12 yards on the ground, but the Titans rushed for 314 yards total against the Texans’ porous run defense.

2. Logan Woodside

Woodside is more experienced than Willis, as he has been in the NFL since the Bengals selected him in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He failed to make the Bengals and was quickly picked up by the Titans before the start of the 2018 season. He has stayed with Tennessee ever since, save for a brief stint with the AAF’s San Antonio Commanders in the spring of 2019.

Woodside has never started a game for the Titans. He has appeared in 11 games and has run the ball 13 times for 4 yards. He has never attempted an NFL pass. 

That said, Woodside has seen plenty of preseason action for the Titans. In 2022, he completed 59.1 percent of his passes for 201 yards. But he failed to record a touchdown and threw three interceptions. That’s part of why Willis won the backup job and Woodside landed on the practice squad.


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